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Website Traffic Explained

'Website Traffic’ refers to users who visit a website. In Google Analytics you can access all kinds of useful data about your visitors, including where they came from. Understanding how users are discovering your site is crucial in measuring how well your marketing is performing and learning which channels are driving the most people to you.

If the terminology is alien to you, let me break it down…


Organic traffic comes from users who click on a standard listing on a search engine page. If they’ve typed in ‘best cake shop in Leeds’ and your bakery website has been displayed in the search engine results, when they click on the listing to go to your website, that’s organic traffic.

Of course, the key here is to appear on the search engines when the right terms are searched for – if you find that your organic traffic is low, talk to me about helping you with some ‘search engine optimisation’ (SEO).


Paid Search is traffic that arrives at a site from any paid search engine networks – most commonly, this is from Google Ads as a result of running ‘pay-per-click’ adverts (PPC). Going back to the results that a search engine lists in response to a user’s search request, you’ll find paid listings at the top and bottom of the page (with ‘ad’ next to them) and then the standard (organic) listings.

Businesses bid to appear when specific keywords are typed into search engines and it can be a great way to reach the right audience.

If you have traffic from Paid Search you should pay close attention to the volume and deeper analytics, as you’ve spent good money on generating this traffic.

If you’re interested in setting up PPC adverts or improving the performance of your current ones, get in touch.


Direct traffic is users who have reached your website by typing out your web address. If these numbers are high, it’s a brilliant indication that you have a strong brand awareness and customer loyalty, as they have either seen your website address somewhere and were propelled to visit, or they are already familiar with your business and your website address.

It is worth noting that you may actually have some of these types of visitors who come through as ‘organic search’ as often people will type your business name into a search engine, knowing you’re likely to be the top result.


Referral traffic comes from other websites. If you are mentioned elsewhere on the internet with a link back to your site, anyone who clicks this link to move onto your website will be recorded as referral traffic. This could be from having listings on directories, blogs, review sites, supplier websites, or online news articles, for example.

This type of traffic is great for expanding your brand exposure as well as helping to improve your SEO (and therefore your organic traffic) as links from other sites are important to search engines when they’re deciding which pages to list first.


As you’d expect, Social Media traffic is a record of who arrived at your website after following a link on social media. Google Analytics will break this down further by showing you which social media sites sent them there too.

Social media can be a loud place, so if you’re getting traffic from here you’re doing a great job of reaching the right people and posting engaging content with a strong ‘call-to-action’. If you’re struggling to hit the high numbers with social media traffic, ask me how I could help.


There are some other traffic sources that may appear in your analytics. 'Display' may be seen if you’re running online advertising campaigns such as banner ads on other websites. If you use email marketing with links back to your website, you may find 'Email' traffic on here too. Or you might see ‘Other’ as a traffic source – this can be a number of different things, including incorrectly tagged or unrecognised sources.

Want to know more? Get in touch for a chat.

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