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Advanced SEO Textbook

What is Organic Traffic?

In this section, you will learn about organic traffic and how it differs from other types of traffic sources such as direct, paid and referral traffic.

Topic Details
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Organic traffic refers to visits to your website from search engine results that you earned as opposed to paid for. Traffic is considered as being organic if a visitor has found your website via a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing or any other place where you’ve not paid to be advertised on.

Types of Traffic

Apart from organic traffic, your website will also likely receive visitors from the following sources.

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic comes from users who access your website by directly entering your URL or domain name into the web browser. This usually requires the visitor to be familiar with your brand, company and/or website.

Paid Search

Paid traffic (sometimes referred to as inorganic or PPC – Pay-Per-Click) is a form of SEM (search engine marketing) where web traffic comes from any medium (banner, link, ad, feed, etc) where you are billed for each insight, click/visit or conversion/sign-up, etc.

One of the most popular paid traffic systems is Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) where Google will display your website in a similar fashion to what’s shown in the screenshot below:

Example of paid search

Google Ads generally appear at the top and the right hand side of the SERPs, which increases the chances of users clicking through to your website. However, you may also find them on other websites in a form of banners, list boxes, etc. – please see examples below:

Example of Google advertisementExample of advertisement in Google

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic is visits from users who have found your website from another website. This type of web traffic can be both intentional and unintentional.

Intentional referral traffic could come from your own link building efforts where websites place a hyperlink from their website to yours.

Unintentional referral traffic is where websites naturally mention and link to your website.

Social Traffic

Traffic that comes from social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.

This may be intentional if you have run social media marketing campaigns. It may also be unintentional if users have linked to your website and shared it with their audience.

Whilst these other channels of traffic are great and can influence search presence, organic traffic is the crème de la crème of what you, as a business or website owner, should be after.

Why is organic traffic that important?

Because organic search is the primary source of traffic for the majority of websites.