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DIRECT, REFERRAL OR ORGANIC TRAFFIC: WHICH CONVERTS BETTER?

Bloggers love traffic – be it direct, referral or organic. It is traffic that ensures that blogs and online concerns are productive and make money for their owners. However, it’s not all manner of traffic that is cherished: what is important is traffic that converts. By conversion here, I mean traffic that does what you want it to do – be it clicking on your ads, buying your products or following your affiliate links to close a sale.

So, which is best Terungwa? Which manner of traffic amongst the three does the business of conversion better?

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is the traffic that lands on your blog without any reference from any source (at least not expressly). This means that this manner of traffic already is aware of what you blog about and what you are offering since such visitors are either your direct returning readers or a well informed person who is properly briefed about your online concerns.

The advantages of direct traffic are many and varied. A returning visitor is more likely to pick one of your products or follow an affiliate link since the element of trust so crucial to sales, both direct and affiliate has already been established.

However, if you are relying on PPC programmes to monetize your website or blog, then relying on direct traffic may generally be a bad idea. Repeat visitors (or visitors who are directed to your blog by word of mouth) may generally ignore your Adsense or Media.net banners. This is so since they may actually be already familiar with your ad spots and would not bother even looking there. If you thus run a site that relies heavily on repeat (or direct traffic), avoiding PPC programs would be a great idea!

Conclusively, since direct traffic has a relatively lower bounce rate, great chances are that your visitors would actually stay long enough on your site to be attracted to other offers you may have. Additionally, the low bounce rate direct visitors ensure will not only be healthy for your SEO, it would be great for the overall benefit of your site.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic refers to traffic that trickles down to your blog from another site. Usually, that site may be a social media site, another site where you were mentioned or a site where you left a comment (especially sites that have commentluv enabled).

The challenge with referral sites is that the traffic that you get from referrals, if not highly targeted, simply bounces off! Anytime I check my Google Analytic report, I am surprised that the sites that return a very high bounce rate are all referral sites!

The trick in making referral sites convert in a great fashion is to ensure that you only promote your links on sites that are in your niche and hence ensure that the traffic you are driving down to your site is ‘targeted’. If you have already ensured this, you may smile at some conversion.

But then again, you really have no idea who exactly is mentioning you (unless you are very keen on studying your analytics report). With just a vague idea (and absolutely no control to who is linking back), how exactly do you make sure it’s ‘targeted’ traffic that is being sent over and not just random hits?

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the traffic that you get via search engines. It is usually the results of keywords that either your site or blog entries have already been optimized for. This can be via best SEO practicesor it can be as a result of properly optimizing images for SEO.

The grand advantage of organic traffic is that visitors who land on your blog via search engines are already looking for something and greater chances are that they would convert and pick up whatsoever it is you are offering. In classical words, 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 which updates are also dished makes understanding the process akin to Nuclear Physics!

Summary And A Last Word

All three manner of traffic sources have their uses and none should be neglected. While organic traffic converts better than the other two, it is highly volatile and there is usually no guarantee that a site that ranked well (and pulled thousands of visitors to it) today will do so the next day. When that nasty update hits you, it’s a great idea to have something to fall back on.

Referral traffic, it is worthy of note, is easier to harness than the other two type of traffic sources. It is thus very possible to drive traffic in this way to a new blog. This may not be at all be possible (or work) for the other type of traffic sources.

If you are selling your products, it’s great to have direct traffic. Your regular visitors already know you and would be more comfortable working with you. Believe me, all the clients I write for are my regular visitors: and it’s like that for 98% of bloggers.

 

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This is Akaahan Terungwa, a passionate full time blogger, husband and father. He also happens to be in charge here (don't call him boss anyway!) When he's not online, you're sure to see him with his little boy heading to a relaxation park or if he's asleep, researching alternative energy. Love what you just read? Consider following him on Twitter, becoming a fan on Facebook or adding him to your circles on Google + so that you never miss an update!
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