Website Traffic Explained

Traffic is to a website, what water is to human beings, you may be able to survive for a little while without it but eventually without it you will die. Now that I’ve got your attention and you realize how important traffic is, you can cheer up because there are literally about a million different ways to get traffic to a website. What’s important is to understand how web traffic works and how to get it to your site.

First of all there are really three types of traffic – search engine traffic, direct traffic and referral traffic (everything else). Search Engine Traffic is when someone goes to Google (no offence to the other search engines but Google is #1) types in what they are searching for (a keyword) and Google spits out a list of sites that it feels match what they are looking for.

Direct traffic is where someone goes to their browser, types in your website address and ends up at your site. In this case the person has obviously already heard of your site or has been there before.

Referral traffic is basically where someone ends up on your site based on a recommendation/link from another site.

Next we can break down these types of traffic into either free or paid traffic. I am going to get this out of the way by saying that Paid Traffic is something you should stay away from until you have constructed a sound online business and are aware of the visitor value of each person that comes to your site. Otherwise I guarantee that you will waste a lot of money with little or no results.

That brings us to free traffic which though it won’t cost you money, it will require some time and effort to get it. Why? Because the key to free traffic is great content, you have to provide information that people want and provide it in an engaging way. The internet after all is the information-superhighway and you need to focus on providing quality information as you are in competition with millions of other sites.

Let’s see how this applies to the different types of traffic.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method of getting free traffic from Google and the other search engines. This means that when someone types in those keywords Google will show the sites whose content best matches (is optimized for) those keywords. Remember Google is a business and they want to ensure that their customers are satisfied with the results they provide, which means that Google will reward your site if you provide the quality content that their customers are looking for. Sure there is more to SEO than just content but it is certainly the most important part.

Next we look at direct traffic, now for your site to benefit from free direct traffic it means that other people are talking about it or the person that’s coming back to your site was satisfied with the great content on your site from a previous visit. It goes without saying that people will recommend sites they like.

So, that brings us to referral traffic from other sites. Once again people will want to link to your site as long as you provide value to your visitors. Remember that these sites are probably running a business and are putting their reputation on the line when they link to your site, because they are sending you their valued customers.

So how do you create good content, well you must always think of the visitor first instead of how much money you can make when they come to your site, just do some research and imagine that if you went to someone else’s site and saw this content would you be satisfied or at least interested or would you be looking for the fastest way to leave the site. Think about it!


4 thoughts on “Website Traffic Explained”

  1. I’m new to this all on the web stuff and whilst I managed to set up my domain and weblog ot can be a battle to obtain traffic going on my website. I apreciate your ideas and articles, this a single is actually great and it willhelp me get websites visitors simpler.


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