What is the best traffic source for your website? Where should you be spending your time and money to ensure your website gets plenty of visitors? Let's look at a few different reports from some leading digital marketing sites to see if we can pick a winner. But before we do that, let's refresh our memory on what the different website sources are.
Where do your Website Visitors come from?
Website visitors come from many different sources, but the main traffic sources are:
- Organic Search (SEO)
- Paid Search
- Miscellaneous (eg. Email Marketing, Display Advertising etc)
What is the Best Traffic Source?
To come to a conclusion, we looked at 3 recent studies from different leading online marketing companies. These were:
So what did we find?
- The 2 best website traffic sources were Direct and Organic Search:
- Direct accounting for between 36% and 45%
- Organic getting between 33% and 37%
- Next best traffic source was Referral with between 9% to 19% of the traffic
- The worst sources of website traffic were Paid Search and Social:
- Paid Search attracting between 2% and 5%
- Social Media getting between 4% and 6%
So does that mean that Direct and Organic Search is the best?
To answer that we need to firstly look at a few key assumptions about the data and web marketing in general:
- These 3 online marketing companies are aimed at larger businesses than your small business. As such, their data includes some well known brands.
- Well known brand names will help drive more traffic via Direct, as people already know their website address so don't need to search.
- Large businesses generally spend a lot more money on overall marketing (including Offline eg. Radio, TV, Signage etc), so as such more people know their name and website address. This will drive Direct Traffic.
- Direct Traffic isn't really traffic from online marketing strategies but more so from offline strategies.
So this means that from a small business perspective, we can disregard the Direct Traffic as a great source for digital marketing. So the winner is Organic Search! In fact, at Probity Web Marketing we find that most of our small business websites get between 55% and 75% of their traffic from Organic Search.
The last word on the Best Website Traffic Source
So whilst we believe the above studies show that Organic Search (or SEO) is the best source of traffic for your website; and as such should be where you invest the bulk of your time and money, we don't think that is all you should do.
Paid Search (Adwords) is a great source of traffic as you can get immediate results and have the ability to turn it on or off as your work load dictates. It should be considered as the cream of a good web marketing strategy; with your organic search getting the bulk of your traffic, your Adwords campaign gets you those extra few clients when you need them.
Whilst Social Media may not be a great source of website traffic, it doesn't mean that it can't still get you business. However, most of the conversions for Social Media happen on the platform itself (eg. Facebook, LinkedIn etc). So if you're going to target a Social Media Marketing strategy, make sure you are tracking conversions within the platform to ensure you're getting a return on your investment.