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The goal of your website is to generate traffic and leads, so understanding how people land on your website is the main tool in optimizing it.

A website with no traffic is like a city with no people, a house with no roads to it, a body with no blood, I’m sure you get the point. This means your website is dead on arrival when it comes to lead generation and revenue.

Too many businesses spend all their time on the look and user experience of the website without a thought regarding how your ideal customer is going to find it. If you’re ready to get some hot leads rolling in then it’s time to dive into the juicy details of your website traffic sources.

Understanding your website traffic sources is an important part of your marketing strategy. Let’s break down 6 different types of website traffic sources, so you can make educated marketing decisions about where your website traffic is functioning best and fill in the gaps where needed.

Types of Website Traffic Sources:

1. Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the type of traffic that came to your site via someone who found your site using a search engine.

Organic website traffic is the primary focus inbound marketing strives to increase. The content you are adding to your website today is the traffic of tomorrow and the next day and the next month and possibly years to come. This is why content marketing is so important and a key function of a successful marketing strategy.

Organic traffic is earned, not paid for. 

According to Search Engine Journal, 70% of the links search engine users click on are organic. Organic search is certainly the most valuable marketing channel there is. If your ideal customer is searching for content that matches your product and services, you need to be there to capture those leads.

The easiest way to generate organic traffic is through SEO and content marketing. The higher you rank for keywords, the more often your links end up in search results which increases your impressions. Impressions lead to clicks and clicks lead to conversions.

Google crawls websites looking for content and then they notify their bots every time you publish new content (which is why we suggest creating epic quality content every week.) New content is a bot “head-turner” and that includes ROPS content which stands for Rework, Optimize, Publish, and Share.

Getting results from organic search takes time, but they are long-lasting, well worth the effort, and investment.

2. Direct Traffic

Direct traffic refers to traffic you receive to your website that doesn't come through any other channel. So, when you type www.lairedigital.com into your search bar and hit 'Enter,' you're accessing LaireDigital.com via direct traffic. 

Direct traffic to your website doesn’t have a referrer. This means a visitor found your website address by directly typing in your URL in the address bar and haven’t been routed by any links anywhere else on the internet. For example, if someone posted a link to your website on Facebook, and you clicked on that link, your visit would be bucketed as a social media source, not direct.

If your employees are frequenting your website, that can also count as direct traffic, so it’s important for your team to filter out their IPs from your web analytics so your data isn’t muddied.

Here are some quick instructions for excluding your IP address from Google Analytics so you can put that on yours and your team’s to-do list right away. Also, don’t forget to do the same with your marketing software like HubSpot.

How to Exclude Your IP Address From Google Analytics

  1. Login to Google Analytics
  2. Select your profile
  3. Select the Admin menu
  4. Under Account select All Filters
  5. Click Add Filter
  6. Give the filter a name (For example: Use your IP address)
  7. Leave Filter Type as predefined
  8. It should read “Exclude + traffic from the IP addresses + that are equal to”
  9. Enter your IP address

How to Exclude Your IP Address From HubSpot

  1. In your HubSpot account, click the settings icon settings in the main navigation bar.
  2. In the left sidebar menu, navigate to Tracking & analytics > Tracking code.
  3. Click the Advanced Tracking tab.
  4. In the IP Addresses to Exclude text box, enter your IP addresses

3. Referrals

Another way for visitors to find you is through another referring website. This is referred to as a “backlink” since the link the user clicks on leads back to your website. This type of traffic is much more beneficial to your SEO ranking than direct, which really has no effect.

Backlinks give your website credibility. The more websites that are linking to yours, the more valuable, credible, and accurate your content must be according to search engines. Search engines think of this kind of traffic as positive as long as it is coming from a trusted or highly ranking site. The more high-quality, relevant links you acquire, the more credit the search engine will give your content.

There are a lot of ways to generate more traffic from referrals:

  • Submit your website to online directories
  • Get your website published on review websites
  • Write guest blogs
  • Contact influencers in your niche
  • Ask for links from companies you already have relationships with
  • Turn unlinked mentions of your company to links
  • Comment on other blogs and industry forums

You can also look at your competitors' link building strategies with tools such as Monitor Backlinks.

4. Paid Search

Paid search is the exact opposite of organic traffic.

There are definitely pros and cons to paid versus organic search. Paid media comes from PPC or Pay Per Click campaigns. It is the result of paid advertising via Google AdWords, which is a common PPC ad management platform or you can use another paid search platform where you pay a network every time your ad is clicked.

Content marketing and SEO are both great ways to build traffic but we all agree it takes time. It is time well spent since ads can generate leads who may have never found your content in search anyway. Let’s be honest though, there is quite a bit of risk involved as ads can get very expensive. Especially, if you are vying for high ranking keywords everyone else wants. Demand determines the price.

There is a learning curve involved in profitable paid media and over time it will pay off with a great ad strategy like calls to action that lead to high performing landing pages. In this case, it may be better to let the pros handle the details to ensure there is a strategy behind your paid media.

5. Email Marketing

When you are sending emails or running an email marketing campaign, we hope you are including links that lead back to your website, like a clear call to action or link to a related blog post. Many of our website visitors come from emails we’ve sent, whether it be an RSS feed weekly email of our latest posts, or a monthly newsletter informing about events or special offers.

Driving blog subscriptions are an important part of the process of nurturing potential leads. When they receive a notification through email that you have a new post or article available to read, they are likely to click through to your website to read it.

Just be sure to include tracking tokens in the links of your email, so the clicks are properly categorized under the email marketing source.

6. Social Media

As you can imagine, social traffic comes from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media links.

Just like organic traffic, social traffic is highly scalable.

As your following grows so does your traffic. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry about posting if you don’t have any followers. Sharing content as well as links to content from your website will actually help you build your following. Your goal with social media is to build and engage with your community, not just have a token social presence.

Even better news, it is free unless you pay for advertising products or services. If you pay for social media, the traffic source reverts to paid media traffic.

Over time, you may notice one platform performing better than others. For instance, LinkedIn improves B2B marketing, which is our target market, so naturally, LinkedIn is our focus.

Google algorithms don’t consider social links as part of its search ranking criteria so links from your Facebook page won’t have any impact on your off-page SEO ranking but you’ll still benefit from the traffic. Considering how much time people spend on social media, it still plays a vital role in driving traffic to your site.



Although we have talked about 6 different types of traffic sources for websites and their features, the truth is that you need all types of traffic to your site.

Your focus should be building all these sources, not just one.

  • 51 percent of all website traffic comes from organic search
  • 10 percent from paid search
  • 5 percent for social
  • 34 percent from all other sources
  • Over 40 percent of revenue is captured by organic traffic so this is the main focus


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As part of a solid marketing campaign strategy, regularly analyze and measure your website’s traffic sources through Google Analytics, HubSpot, SEMrush, Moz, or other software. This will help you to determine which ones are most effective for you and which ones might need more attention and effort.

Whether you are ready to take the leap and pay for traffic now or not, you may at some point.

Organic traffic created through content and SEO remains to be the most proven and website traffic producing engine.

If your company website needs more digital leads then you should know the different strategies to bring more online traffic. Contact us here to find out how we can help you reach your revenue goals through content marketing and lead generation websites.

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Laura Laire

Laura Laire

Laura is a Creative Business Strategist who cofounded LAIRE, Inc., a digital growth agency. Laura is an entrepreneur and avid writer with a love of studying marketing and high performance. Laura has trained hundreds of thousands of people as a speaker, trainer, and coach giving keynotes at seminars and conventions for the past 20 years. Laura absolutely lives for marketing, creating, and inspiring big ideas.