Different types of web traffic

What are the Different Types of Web Traffic?

Different types of web traffic

Web traffic can be categorized into four different types. We’ll look at each of these types, how to analyze them, and how to boost them.

An Overview of Web Traffic Types

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic

Visitors that come directly to your website by typing in your website’s URL or from an existing bookmark in their web browser.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic

Visitors that clicked on a referral link from other websites.

Organic Traffic

Organic Traffic

Visitors that find your website using keywords through search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Social Traffic

Social Traffic

Visitors arriving from social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Paid and Free Web Traffic

Paid and Free Web Traffic.

The four types of web traffic above can be generated for free or can be paid for directly or indirectly. Only organic web traffic is the type of traffic that you don’t directly pay for. We’ll have a look at how to generate more organic web traffic for your website later in this article.

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How To Find Out What Kind of Traffic is Visiting Your Website

You can use web traffic analysis tools to find out more about your visitors and how they arrive at your site. Here are three recommended web traffic analysis tools:

1: Similarweb

Similarweb allows you to see your web traffic sources and other information about your visitors. You can see which countries your web traffic comes from, top referring sites, the top destination sites, display ads, audience interests and more.

2: Ahrefs Site Explorer

Ahrefs Site Explorer helps you review the keywords nestled in your website’s pages and compare them to other websites. You can also see which web traffic is coming from sources such as backlinks and keyword searches.

3: Semrush

Semrush gives you information about your website’s search engine rankings and statistics on the volume of web traffic, including visitors from paid advertising links, backlinks and more.

What is Direct Web Traffic?

Direct Traffic

As the term suggests, direct web traffic comprises visitors that arrive at your site directly. They may have manually typed in your web address or saved it as a bookmark in their web browser.

These visitors are a tangible result of your marketing efforts, so direct web traffic is highly valuable. These visitors are among the most likely to convert into customers and be loyal to your brand and business.

Direct web traffic is a measurable return on investment from online and offline marketing campaigns. They comprise the following:

Returning visitors/customers: Visitors that are already familiar with your website and may have done business with you before.

Word-of-mouth referrals: Visitors that have heard about you from your existing satisfied customers.

Results of offline campaigns: Visitors that have heard about your website from sources other than the Internet such as TV, radio, print media and events.

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How Do I Boost Direct Traffic?

Top Tip: Make your URL Memorable.

Online Marketing Strategies

Regularly Publish Informative Content

Regularly publish information that potential customers will find useful and lets them know you are an expert with your finger on the pulse of current trends. Visitors will bookmark your website and become returning visitors (direct web traffic) knowing they’ll see fresh content from you on a regular basis.

Create Scheduled Contests and Promotions

Encourage people to visit your website at certain times for the chance to win something or benefit from a promotion. Make competitions and promotions regular events so visitors bookmark your page so they come directly back to your site rather than searching for it.

Offline Marketing Strategies

Advertising Campaigns


To attract local visitors to your website, see what advertising deals you can get with local TV and radio stations. Prices vary depending on the time slots and frequency of the ads but you may get a sweet deal for off-peak periods.

In fact, radio stations will often produce ads for you. All you have to do is give them some bullet-point details about your business, product or service. Then, the radio station’s creative crew will create a script and have a DJ or voice artist record your ad.

Public Relations


Create a newsworthy press release and send it to local newspapers, TV and radio stations. Provide a small selection of good photos and/or video, and you could get some free advertising for your efforts.  

The secret here is to make the editor’s job easy. Provide information that their audience will find interesting and you could win a slot in a business news or social events section. If you already advertise with them, they should be happy to run an extra PR piece for you.     

What’s a newsworthy story?

With a bit of creativity, you can capitalize on almost anything to make a newsworthy story. Here are three PR ideas:

1. Trade Fairs & Events

If you take part in a trade fair, take some photos of people visiting your booth. Write an article about the event and plug your business as one of the attendees that benefited from taking part. Include a quote from an executive.

2. Charity Donation

Let people know you are doing something for the community with news of your latest charitable donation. News agencies should be happy to give you a mention for free for your philanthropy.

3. Business News

Collect and compile some facts and figures on the latest trends in your area of business and give yourself a plug by quoting one of your executives’ opinions on the current outlook.

What is Referral Traffic?

Referral Traffic

This is web traffic that arrives at your website from external links (backlinks) on other websites, online directories and ads.

The more referral links you have, the more authority your website appears to have in the eyes

How Do I Boost Referral Traffic?

Build Only Quality Backlinks

The quality of the content you associate with is more important than the quantity. If your referral links are ad campaigns, employ the same logic as a large corporation. There are more benefits from paying a high price for a few well-placed ads associated with quality content than paying small amounts for lots of ads next to low-quality content.

Tout Yourself as an Expert in Your Field

Whatever your business, you have knowledge that you can give to others. Capitalize on your expertise by putting yourself forward as an expert on Q&A forums such as Quora and Stack Exchange.

Publish Infographics

Present statistics and information in a visually pleasing format using graphics and charts instead of text. Post your infographics on platforms such as Pinterest. Make sure your website address is clearly displayed on the infographic and make it a clickable link to your website.

To make your own infographics try Piktochart, which gives you a variety of templates and icons to help you construct your own infographic for free.

Get Listed with Online Directories

Scour the web for online directories where you can post links and descriptions of your website. Most of them are free. Your local council or a local newspaper’s website might have a directory for local businesses to add their own listings.

Free business listings offered by Clear Hills County community website.

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What is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic

This is the web traffic you gain from search engine optimization (SEO). it’s the web traffic that you don’t pay for directly. Organic web traffic is a result of your efforts to clearly define your keywords and match them with your content.

How Do I Boost Organic Web Traffic?

Clearly Define Your Keywords

Using the tools mentioned earlier in this article, research which keywords are popular for your niche, as well as seeing which keywords your competitors are using. Use this information to narrow down your keywords to the ones that attract people to your website. Get rid of the keywords that aren’t bringing in web traffic.

Frequently Update Content

Regularly add new content to your website to feed search engines with fresh fodder and keep your website listing up to date.

Publish Quality Content  

Well-written content peppered with the right keywords in the right places is better than reams of text stuffed with keywords. Put keywords in your title, headings and description meta tags so that search engines know the topic of your text.

What is Social Traffic?

Social traffic

This is the web traffic you get from posts and shares on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube with links to your website.

Web traffic from social media platforms comes under the umbrella of referral web traffic when your links are shared in someone’s personal network of friends.

According to Social Media Examiner, online marketers Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the top three prefered social media platforms for promotion.

The graph below represents the percentage of marketers using social media platforms for business to customer (B2C) promotion.

Percentage of marketers using social media platforms.
Percentage of marketers using social media platforms.

How Do I Boost Social Traffic?

Social media logos

Share your news

Every time you make a new blog or news post on your website share it on your chosen social media platforms. If you use a content management system to publish web content there are plugins you can install to help you do this quickly and efficiently.

Encourage others to share and subscribe

When you make a post, simply add a gentle reminder for the reader to like and share your post. Doing so helps you reach many more people without any extra effort on your part. Successful YouTubers usually remind viewers to subscribe at the beginning and end of each of their videos.

Monitor Your Social Traffic

Using the web traffic analytics tools mentioned above, keep track of the social media platforms that are working well for you. Give them priority and consider leaving or deleting the ones that don’t give you any feedback.  

Is Paid Web Traffic a Viable Option?

paid and free web traffic

Almost all web traffic is paid for either directly or indirectly. However, the source of that web traffic is the most important factor. Web traffic from artificial sources such as bots or non-human visitors is seen as low-quality traffic.

Buying web traffic quickly brings an influx of new visitors compared to the lengthy time it takes to build the same volume of web traffic organically but equally viable if those visitors are authentic human visitors.

Focus on Your Niche


Target people with an interest in your specific niche and narrow it down as much as possible. Music, for example, is a broad category in which exists a broad spectrum of tastes. if your website is about grunge metal music, there’s little point in aiming for lovers of classical music.  

Purchase Long-Term Web Traffic Plans

Short bursts of high volumes of web traffic over only a few days raises suspicion in the eyes of Google’s web crawlers. A steady flow of increasing web traffic over several weeks or months comes across as more organic.  

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