5 Types of Web Traffic You Need to Know

Achieving website traffic is the primary goal after owning a website, and conversions bring more return on interest (ROI) from website traffic. Your efforts to drive traffic to your website sum up when you get those conversions so learning more about traffic is an added advantage for your site.

If you know the types of web traffic, then it will help you understand where your website visitors come from and make it easy for you to optimize your digital marketing strategies and search engine optimization for conversions.

Understanding Traffic – Why Is It Important?

You can analyze the importance of traffic by knowing the different types of traffic:

  • Are the website visitors your target audience? If yes, what percentage belongs to the target market?
  • Where do you receive your significant traffic from? You can track the places where you get the least traffic.
  • What is the behaviour of your visitors? How do they navigate after landing on your website?
  • What is your ROI (Return On Investment) with the website traffic?

If your website receives traffic that doesn’t belong to your target audience, your conversions are likely to take a hit.  You must make your digital marketing strategy functional so that it focuses only on your target audience to drive the right set of traffic.

When you start focusing on the target audience for driving traffic, you may experience the following are the trends:

  • Where do your traffic sources come from?
  • Who are the website visitors?
  • Website visitor behaviour.
  • How often does traffic convert to leads (conversions)?

To understand the results you receive, you must know the background information of where your traffic comes from.

The basic types of traffic are:

  • Direct traffic
  • Organic traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Social traffic
  • Paid traffic

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic means when a web page user visits your website instead of finding you on search engine results pages. The users either enter the URL directly on the search console or have your website bookmarked.

In direct traffic, most users or customers already visited or made purchases on your website so they visit your website directly. Also, the search engine’s auto-fill feature automatically fills your website’s name when they start typing the first few letters.

In addition to users typing or bookmarking your URL, visiting your website via links present in any spreadsheet or PDF is also direct traffic.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic depends on your website being found by users on the Search engine results page.

In simple terms, when you type a search query or keyword in the search console, the results you see on the search engine result page without the tag “ad” is called organic traffic.

The following image helps you understand how search engines list organic traffic.

SERP for a google search showing organic traffic. 

Amongst the types of web traffic, organic traffic is the most important one to work towards. In addition to driving the majority of your website’s total traffic, organic traffic plays a vital role in ranking your website higher over time.

When you start your search engine optimization for ranking organically, the necessity of spending hours of effort building links or cross-posting on social media platforms is minimal. Organic traffic takes time, but it ensures driving consistent traffic.

Referral Traffic

As the name speaks for itself, referral traffic means when users visit your website via any external links and not via Google search results or internal linking. Finding your website via external links is an important ranking factor to Google or any search engine because it shows that other websites consider your content trustworthy. Search engines will automatically start suggesting your website to other users to see the benefits.

Here’s an example to understand referral traffic: let’s say your website has information or blogs focusing on interior designing tips as a part of your content marketing strategy. When users research interior designing tips and land on your blog, they find your content worthy and decide to give credits to your blog post with a link. Whenever a user clicks on the link a user adds, your website receives credit with referral traffic.

External links give your website online authority and notify search engines that your website is a credible source. Referral traffic helps in increased rankings for your website.

Social Traffic

The name speaks for itself: social traffic is a result when users find your website through social media platforms. Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube.

Social traffic comes in two methods when you hold an account on the platforms and users click on your website from page bio or social media ads for your products or services.

Every time a user clicks on a social media post, image, or ad, your website receives credit with social traffic. You will have insights from each social media site to analyze how your social media traffic works. These analytics tools help you figure out what works and does not drive traffic to your website.

With this information, you may create an effective social media strategy and harness tons of extra exposure and traffic to your website via social media links.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic is the traffic you receive via advertisements or paid promotions.

Paid promotions or advertisements include the following traffic sources:


Not all types of web traffic are similar, but knowing them all will help you optimize your website for better conversions. Once you start understanding your website traffic sources, it guides you through proper keyword research and efficiently optimizing websites to boost your website traffic. (Good, but add more)

Knowing web traffic and optimizing your website based on the conversions you receive will boost your website’s ranking on the search engine results page. Automatically, you receive the leads and conversions, achieving your business goal. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my Direct traffic?

There’s no shortcut to driving direct traffic to your website. However, for your target audience to return to your website, you need a website crafted with user experience. The better the user experience you provide, the more likely users are to return to your website.

How can I increase referral traffic?

The following are the methods to increase referral traffic:

  • Produce high-quality content that users find credible and want to share.
  • Increase the amount of time you spend on social media platforms and online forums.
  • Leave comments on blogs that are relevant to yours.
  • Start influencer marketing.

How can I increase social traffic?

You can try the following methods to increase social traffic to your website:

  • Add a call to action to each post that encourages users to click through.
  • Create content that goes viral on social networks.
  • Hop on to trends early to receive more traffic.
  • Experiment with your posting schedule that changes your posting days and time to see which time your users are active. 
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