Difference Between Organic, Direct, and Social Traffic

By | March 21, 2016


When it comes to getting traffic online, there are four major sources of where this traffic can come from. If you look at your Google Analytics dashboard you’ll find that are four means of getting traffic. In this post, I’d like to cover the difference between each four of these sources so that you can know which ones you should leverage with your blog or website.

Four major sources of Google Analytics traffic includes:

#1. Organic Traffic

#2. Direct Traffic

#3. Social Traffic

#4. Referral Traffic


#1. What Is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic would include all the visits you’re website is obtaining through sWhat Are Organic Traffic Sourcesearch engines. This doesn’t apply only to Google, but to Yahoo, Bing, along with other smaller search engines as well. PPC and paid traffic would not be included
as organic traffic either.

This is the kind of traffic your website is rewarded with for writing and providing valuable and unique content to your daily visitors.

The more posts and content your website has, typically the more organic traffic you’ll see overtime. Organic traffic is thus, highly dependent upon your SEO efforts and ability to rank for competitive keywords within your niche.


Benefits of Organic Traffic:

  • Cost-efficient – Unlike pay per click ads, you don’t need to spend anything to get organic traffic to your site, unless you’re hiring content writers to write your articles for you. Otherwise, getting organic traffic to your website is free for the most part and very powerful in terms of getting more leads and sales for your online business.
  • Builds Up Authority – Being able to rank for highly competitive keywords and attract new targeted visitors to your website daily can allow you to build up authority for your website. The more articles and content your website has, the more recognized you’ll be within the SERPs and the more exposure your website will gain.
  • Targeted Traffic – Unlike some of the other sources in GA, one major benefit of obtaining organic traffic is the fact that your traffic is much more targeted due to your targeted keywords. Essentially, when you get traffic, your main goal is to attract the right audience to visit your content.


#2. What Is Direct Traffic?

You know when you fire up your laptop, open up your internet browser, and immediately type in the website you know you want to visit without having to search for it..What Is Direct Traffic?

Well that is what is considered as direct traffic and is the reason as to
why you’ll see “none” as the medium in GA. Direct traffic is more of a result of your combined traffic efforts more than anything else.

The reason why direct traffic is highly beneficial to your site is because you have now attracted or targeted a group of individuals who have most-likely come to recognize your brand name and have some kind of motive to come back and visit your site.


Benefits Of Direct Traffic:

  • Highly Targeted Traffic – Besides organic traffic, here your visits are also very targeted. One could infer that there is in-fact a good reason for these individuals who are continually coming back to your website and exploring your content. Obtaining direct traffic should therefore, always be a goal to keep in mind when getting more traffic to your website.
  • Increased Recognition – As a result of your traffic efforts, you’re now being more recognized for the brand you are building and the content that is being produced on your site, which also goes hand-in-hand with building up authority for your website.


#3. What Is Social Traffic?

As you can guess by the term, social traffic relates to the traffic you’re receiving on your website as a result of your social media efforts. When used correctly, social media can do wonders for your traffic and even result in more leads for your business.

Popular social traffic sources would include:best social media platforms

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Youtube


Benefits of Social Traffic:

  • Increased Loyalty & Following – When joining any social media platform, you are able to speak your brand through your messages in front of thousands of people. As a result, you have an opportunity to not only increase the loyalty of your followers, but the number of your daily followers. This allows for greater loyalty because of your ability to resonate with your followers through your tweets, messages, and status updates.
  • Gives More Exposure To Your Brand- Due to the large number of individuals within social media, you have an opportunity to really get more visibility to your brand as a result of social sharing, which can even result in some of your own posts or status going viral.


What Is Referral Traffic?

Referral traffic are visitors that land on your website through a different website. For example, when somebody clicks on a hyperlink from a different website within the content or commentWhat Is Referral Traffic?s section, that could be considered referral traffic.

These could even include visits coming from social media. Every time a post is re-tweeted or shared by someone else and results in a click by one of their followers constitutes as referral traffic. Other examples of referral traffic include guest blogging, commenting on other websites, and posting in forums.


Benefits Of Referral Traffic:

  • SEO & Organic Traffic Benefits – Referral traffic can result in SEO benefits for your website as it adds the benefit of getting more inbound links to your website. Therefore, by increasing referral traffic, you can also increase your organic traffic as well.
  • Can Result In Improved Metrics – Referral traffic is also at times regarded for having some of the best metrics out of any other traffic sources. Some of these benefits could include lower bounce rates and more time spent on your website versus other traffic sources.


Organic, Direct, Social, & Referral Traffic

If there is one thing in common between these four types of traffic it would be the fact that each and every one of them can result in more leads for your business. Whether that be local or primarily based online, traffic is the key and foundation to your success for any business. The more targeted your traffic and the more your website and content can resonate with your visitors, the more likeliness for your success.

Ideally, you would want to focus on increasing traffic for all four of these traffic metrics, but any one of these can constitute for a strong and reliable means for getting traffic to your website. My suggestion is to pick your strong suite and focus on that one.

If you’re great at social media, building up followers, and resonating with your readers, then choose that. If you enjoy building content on a daily basis and optimizing your website for SEO, then you’ll most-definitely want to look into getting more organic traffic to your business.

If you feel you would do best by getting your traffic to sign-up for a newsletter and build up repeat traffic coming to your website that way, then maybe building up sources for direct traffic might suit you best. Either way all of these four traffic sources go hand-in-hand and focusing on increasing all of them can result in amazing traffic results for your online business!

What did you think of this post and which traffic sources are you most interested in? Please leave your comments in the section below.

Category: Traffic Generation

About Peter G.

Hi I'm Peter. I'm 27 years old and I'm a Uconn graduate who finally found his way through life by becoming a full-time affiliate marketer. I enjoy trying out new things and believe there's no greater satisfaction than being able to make money on your own time!

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