Some of the most important website statistics that you can find in your Google Analytics reports can be found under “traffic sources”. When you look at your traffic sources overview, you see that Google reports statistics by “Direct Traffic, Referring Sites and “Search Engines”.
Which Source of Website Traffic is Best for You?
I did a quick Google search to see if I could find a general consensus amongst the “experts” as to what they thought was the best traffic source for a blog. There are varying opinions and the general consensus is that it depends on what sort of a blog you have and what you want your website visitors to do once they come to your site.
If you’re monetizing your blog to earn income though affiliate programs or advertising (such as Google AdSense ads), you need to have your blog optimized for the keywords that your potential customers will be searching on (SEO). Therefore, for you, it’s good if the bulk of your traffic comes from search engines. This logic also applies if your entire site is built around a specific product line. You want to show up in the search engines, preferably in the free organic searches.
If you’re building your brand and want your potential clients/customers to look at you as an authority in your area of expertise, you probably blog on a variety of topics. For example, I may be talking about PPC (pay-per-click) advertising one week and copyright infringement the next. It’s more important to me to build trust and confidence with a specific audience than it is for casual website surfers to find me online. Therefore, for you and me, it’s good to have a significant percentage of our traffic coming directly to our site or from referral sites. We need to have solid back-links and votes of confidence from other authority sites.
Is all Twitter Traffic Reported Under “Referring Sites”?
Although I try to optimize this blog for the search engines, my marketing efforts are spent on the social networking aspect. 70% of the traffic to this blog is either direct or from referring sites. I focus a good part of my time and energy on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and my analytics reflect that.
My Google Analytics for last month shows that 42% of my traffic is referral traffic with 51% of that coming from Twitter. (Considering I probably spend less than an hour a day on Twitter, I think that’s a good ROI.)
Then yesterday while I was Googling, I came across this article “Stop Giving Away Your Twitter Traffic in Google Analytics!” by Will Reynolds of SEER Interactive. According to Will, “A Majority of twitter referrals will show up as Direct Traffic in Google Analytics!” Will attributes this to the use of 3rd party apps like Tweetdeck which does not pass on referral information.
Will does go on to provide a fix that can be used but I think I’ll just sit back and hope that Google figures out a way to handle this. After all, for my purposes, I’m fine with either direct or referral traffic. Since I’m already happy with the amount of traffic that I believe I’m generating from Twitter. I’m going to continue following the strategy that I already have for Twitter.
This article did pique my interest though. Am I getting even more traffic from Twitter than I thought? Are you? What are you thoughts? Do you have any more insight into this? Which of your traffic sources do you keep the closest eye on?