The only traffic with business value is traffic that converts. Conversion means traffic that does what you want it to do – making people click on your ads, buy your products or follow your affiliate links to close a sale. Traffic can be categorized as direct, referral or organic. Here’s an overview of each category, and how best it serves conversion.
This is traffic that lands on your site without express reference from another online source. Such visitors are already aware of what you blog about or what your website offers.
The main advantage of direct traffic is that a returning visitor is likely to pick one of your products or follow an affiliate link since the element of trust has already been established.
However, if you are relying on Pay Per Click (PPC) programs to monetize your site, relying solely on direct traffic can be a bad idea. Repeat visitors or visitors who are directed to your site by word of mouth will usually ignore ad banners. They already know what they are coming for from your site and will go directly to it- think of your site like a convenience store.
If your site relies heavily on repeat or direct traffic, avoiding PPC (Pay Per Click) programs would be a great idea!
Since direct traffic has a relatively lower bounce rate, great chances are that visitors will actually stay long enough to be attracted to other offers you may have. The low bounce rate of direct visitors is healthy for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) too.
Referral traffic trickles to your site from other sites. It could be a social media platform, another site where you were mentioned or a site where you left a useful comment.
The challenge with referral sites is that the traffic that you get, if not highly targeted, simply bounces off.
To ensure traffic from referral sites converts highly, promote your offers to a specific audience to increase the chance of genuinely interested visitors dropping by.
Organic traffic gets to your site via search engines. It is generated by results of keywords that your site entries have been optimized for. This can be achieved through good SEO practices.
The advantage of organic traffic is that visitors who land on your site via search engines are already looking for something specific. Chances are they will convert by picking up something from what you are offering. Such visitors are already ‘a ready market waiting to be exploited.’
The challenge of organic traffic is that it is not easy to harness and keep, even with an in-depth knowledge of SEO. This is because the exact algorithm of search engines is a closely guarded secret. The manner in which updates are also dished out makes understanding the process akin to Nuclear Physics!
Each of these categories of traffic has its strengths and drawbacks. Organic traffic converts best, but its volatility is a major shortcoming. Referral traffic is easy to harness, making it the best option to adopt when growing a new online venture. Direct traffic works best when selling your own products since visitors already ‘know’ you. Embracing each category correctly is key to your online success.