It is important to understand the difference between all of your traffic sources and how traffic is classified for your business. Most web analytics platforms, like Google Analytics, utilize an algorithm and flow chart based on the referring website or URL parameters that determine the source of traffic.

Here is a breakdown of all sources:

  • Direct: Any traffic where the referrer or source is unknown
  • Email: Traffic from email marketing that has been properly tagged with an email parameter
  • Organic: Traffic from search engine results that is earned, not paid
  • Paid search: Traffic from search engine results that is the result of paid advertising via Google AdWords or another paid search platform
  • Referral: Traffic that occurs when a user finds you through a site other than a major search engine
  • Social: Traffic from a social network, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram
  • Other: If traffic does not fit into another source or has been tagged as “Other” via a URL parameter, it will be bucketed into “Other” traffic

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