Understanding your site’s top traffic sources

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Web Analytics will indicate that visitors may have found you through a search engine, like Google, may already know your site and enter directly or can come from a multitude of other possibilities.

The point is that each of these types of visitors have a certain image in mind and, almost always, the reasons for the visit are different. In this post we will explore these reasons through a psychological perspective to understand what actions expected of a person coming from each of these traffic sources.

Traffic search engines

When people come to your site through a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo, they are usually looking for answers to a specific question or information on a certain subject.

Consider this as the real nature of search engines: you type what you want and expect the answer to appear. This means that visitors from search engines tend to stay and read your content to find the answers you seek. If they do not find the answer to your content, may look at something you advertise, it is a common advertising or an eBook, for example. Therefore, in general, search engines visitors tend to generate a higher click rate on what you advertise.

More and more people associate the number one in search results for a given keyword as an authority on the subject and this affects the behavior on your site. More people rely on its brand and tend to do things like signing your newsletter or your blog.

through traffic

Direct Traffic is one where visitors directly type in the address of your site in the address bar. It is a good source of traffic. If people already know your address, it is because the previous experience was good enough that they remember it.

As this audience is composed mostly of former visitors, they are likely to come to your site to check what the latest updates are. What they probably do, if you have not done is get more involved with your blog by subscribing to the feeds and interacting on social networks. They are also the most likely to leave comments on your blog. Always respond and provide content so that they keep coming back.

Traffic from social media

The psychology behind social media seems to always come back to the user’s desire to be noticed and get your personal online space.

The main point here is that either people want to be social with your friends or want to be entertained. This ends up generating bounce rates high for this type of visitor, as once entered his blog and quickly saw what they wanted, are ready to move to the next site. On Twitter, for example, where there are several tweets with suggestions to be read, this behavior is even more pronounced.

What is really good in social media, however, is the ability to viralized content. Since there is this tendency to go from one site to the next, if someone actually find interesting content, will share it to indicate that it is more worthwhile than others. Once you get someone talking about your content, product or anything else, they will spread if it entertains you or is particularly useful.

Traffic by reference

There are some similarities between referral traffic and social media, but it is worth making the distinction because there is a difference between hearing about something in social media and a website.

When a friend indicates something in social media, you usually have a look. His intention is to see how useful or fun is the link, and not necessarily because you really trust your friend’s advice. If it’s a site you trust saying the same thing, you will confer with a different look, knowing that the advice comes from a reference. It’s kind of like listening to a health board by a friend who read about it and by a doctor: you to believe in both, but somehow goes over the doctor’s advice.

However, this analogy does not work for all types of reference. There is a distinction between different incoming links.

One possibility is to receive a link from someone blogroll style list your site as a favorite. In this case the bounce rate tends to be higher and there should be less interaction with your site. All that the site did was say that like your blog, but not specifically indicate what or why – and let the user find it usually does not help much.

However, when you get the reference through a link in the content, or through a post as a guest to another site, where you already know what you find in your blog, there is a much greater interest in knowing what you have to say. Also, you “inherit” the credibility of who referred you.

For these cases, it is likely to read a bit to see if you are interesting and then sign your blog or follow you on Twitter. The big point here is to show that in fact you offer good content on the subject in which you were referred.

paid links

This type of reference has a very close proximity to the search engines traffic. The difference is that if you are paying, you can choose exactly which page you want to take the user.

Thus it is interesting to create a conversion page that clearly show to the user the answer to the problem that he is looking for and what the incentive to convert to client or business opportunity.

What is the best for you?

We have seen that, for each type of traffic, attracts a different type of user. Hence the importance of thinking about the goals of your blog. Depending on the action you want the user to perform, you can prioritize the optimization of a specific type of traffic source.

If your intention is more spread content and make more “noise” can focus on social media. If you want to attract more subscribers, you can write more posts as a guest and so on.

So, what works best for you?

This post is an adaptation of article Problogger