Everyone is interested in traffic growth: the more visitors, the more sales, right? It’s important to know that you can attract customers from a variety of sources.

In this article, we’re going to explain what types of web traffic sources are out there, and how to analyze them. We’ll also look at why you’d want to analyze them, while explaining what criteria to look for when choosing a particular traffic source for your business.

What are traffic sources?

Every time someone visits or transitions to your site, they go through a traffic channel to get to your resource. Essentially, each transition has its own source.

Choose the right traffic source for your particular type of business

Internet traffic is divided into paid and free, or conditionally free, due to the fact that investment of resources in attracting ‘free’ traffic is necessary.

That’s not always expressed in monetary terms, of course. For example, placing ads on a free site requires a certain level of time, knowledge, skills, etc.

Paid traffic includes:

  • contextual advertising (Google Ads);
  • targeted advertising (Fb, Instagram);
  • e-mail newsletter (although it can be done for free, but within the framework of large-scale advertising campaigns, you should still use paid services)

Free traffic includes the following types of traffic:

  • posting articles on free resources;
  • placing ads on free message boards;
  • blogging, social media groups, YouTube channel.

When choosing a traffic source, start with your target audience, the goals of the advertising campaign, and the budget of the advertising campaign.

Traffic sources are also divided into warm and cold. The first includes users who are familiar with the product. The second are new users who see the site for the first time.

Let’s talk about significant website traffic sources.

Search traffic source

This is when visitors arrive at the resource from the natural search engine results for any given keyword. How much traffic this channel generates will depend on the quality of search engine promotion.

The more the page matches user interests, its chances of being in the top search results increase.

Link traffic source

Visitors go to the resource following links from other resources – sites, databases, forums. Such a source can be paid – if you agree to place the link, or free – if users themselves recommend the site.

Advertising traffic source

Visitors go to the resource from contextual ads in the search results.

Affiliate programs

Affiliate programs are also referred to as an advertising source of traffic – you can agree on paid advertising on sites, forums, and blogs or pay for a specific user action on your resource (CPA). These actions can be registration, subscription, application, call, purchase, and others.

Free sources of targeted traffic

Some sites allow independently placed ads, things like blogs, forums, and Q&A sites are common spots for this. If you do this, it should be unobtrusive. It’s always better to wrap your links in useful content.

For example, if you sell phones, you can find questions about phones on forums and leave useful comments by organically inserting a link to your resource in them.

Target traffic source

Users navigate to the resource from browser bookmarks or by typing the address manually. This is a channel for regular readers and clients. It is for the sake of obtaining a source of free traffic that the site is assigned easy-to-play domains.

Display advertising as a traffic source

Visitors go to the resource from ads, banners, videos posted on sites that have become partners of Google. This is contextual media advertising and is also paid for in Google Ads.

Social media as a traffic source

Visitors go to the resource from profiles, pages and groups in social networks.

Not all social media traffic is free, though. From your own publications on any branded social media pages, you might get that kind of traffic, but for an additional fee, you can use targeted advertising from bloggers and influencers.

Email List as a traffic source

Visitors go to the resource from mailing lists. With the help of this channel, there is a small chance to attract new visitors, but it’s mostly for reigniting interest from a curated user base.

Use it to remind old ones of your business and product. The emails try to interest subscribers and encourage them to go to the site and place an order.

Mailing options include:

  • Triggered – tied to a specific event or user action;
  • Selling – informing about promotions, sales, discounts;
  • Informational – containing content useful to the audience;
  • Reactivation – aimed at “reanimating” inactive buyers.

There are a lot of options that fall under the mail category, too. SMS, push mail, messaging apps, and contact through chatbots on Facebook and other platforms can provide additional ways to contact your connected users.

What is contextual advertising and why is this traffic source considered one of the most effective?

Contextual advertising refer to any online ad that’s shown to a user at the moment they express interest in a product or service.

Let’s say you’re looking for information on learning Spanish. As soon as you search “learn Spanish”, the search engine will show paid ads in addition to the usual search results.

The action of contextual advertising can expand beyond that simple interaction, of course. Contextual ads may also be tied to search history and web usage. If you’ve ever shopped for a specific product and seen ads for that product show up as you browse the web, that’s also a form of contextual advertising.

In contextual advertising, advertisements are displayed in search engines according to certain rules. Primarily, it uses keywords in response to a user’s request.

This allows you to customize how an advertisement is displayed, focusing on the most interested audience. In terms of developing and generating traffic from a specific source, this style of advertising focuses on bringing in customers that are already shopping for your product or service.

Other traffic sources

Users switch to the resource from reviews, marketplaces, price comparison systems, catalogues, media, online magazines, or blogs. Pretty much any of miscellaneous traffic source that isn’t one of the more targeted options listed above.

Key performance indicators of traffic sources

A number of indicators determine the effectiveness of online advertising, both contextual and targeted. Of course, the main indicator is ROMI, or return on marketing investment.

This indicator reflects the ratio of income from advertising, minus investments in advertising, to the number of investments. Basically, if you invest $100 in advertising, and earn $1000, then your ROMI would be 900%.

ROMI = (1000-100) / 100 * 100% = 900%

Before setting up an advertising campaign, evaluate the volume and quality of traffic based on the market capacity for your specific niche and region. It’s good to know if your money is better spent on other forms of marketing before you spend a ton investing in advertising.

How and why: analyzing your traffic sources

Analytics systems show traffic sources and channels, the number of visitors, viewed pages, conversions. Analysis of traffic sources helps to find out which ones work better, understand the target audience, and adjust the project development strategy.

Ideally, you want to create a strategy that retains your current audience, while generating more interest from both new and repeat visitors. SEO Experts from Sydney can help you with that.

Analysis of traffic sources makes it possible to:

  • find out which source works well and which one doesn’t;
  • better understand the target audience;
  • create or adjust a website development strategy.

To identify and check traffic sources, connect the analytics system Google Analytics. It shows not only traffic channels, but also the number of visitors and pages viewed by them. Let’s take a closer look at how to analyse traffic sources in this system.

Google Analytics

Google provides a huge number of tools and metric tracking options you can take advantage of. Start by looking at the Traffic Sources Overview section.

To get the data, you need to specify the date and parameters of interest in the drop-down lists “Main parameter” and “Conversion”.

In the drop-down list “Main parameter” select “Best sources” and “Best channels” – the last item.

By choosing Top Sources, you will see:

  • how many users came from each source during the selected period;
  • how the number of users and the conversion rate for the goal or transaction changed, if they were set;

Choosing the “Best Channels”, you will see the summarized data on the channels, and there you’ll be able to compare them and understand which traffic channel is the main one for your website.

Understanding the Channels

You can examine each channel in detail and draw some fairly useful conclusions. There’s a table with data in the channel report that can help you examine things like where most of your traffic comes from. Maybe most of your current traffic is from banner ads, but traffic from social networks shows the best conversion rates.

At the same time, the contribution of social networks to the total traffic may be insignificant – so it would make sense to invest more funds in this channel.

You can see the sources of traffic by key phrases: the table shows which phrases brought more traffic, what is the cost of conversion for a keyword.

You can also study the report on social networks separately – from which social networks the traffic comes, what is the conversion for each social network.


No matter what site you’re promoting, the main factors you want to consider are subject matter, conversion rates, and monetization of the incoming traffic.

The golden rule that guarantees interest is going to be providing a solid benefit for the end consumer. Basically, you need to create and offer high-quality products, whether that’s a commercial or informational resource, that people want. When you have a great product, you’ll find it that much easier to capitalize on traffic and SEO efforts!

Optimizing your with your web traffic sources in mind is a great way to build more targeted audiences, as well. So keep track of where your incoming traffic is coming from, and be sure to keep a watchful eye on all the various channels we’ve covered here.

The views included in this article are entirely the work and thoughts of the author, and may not always reflect the views and opinions of Regex SEO.

Write a Comment