6 Types of Website Traffic: Sources and Explanations

6 Types of Website Traffic: Sources and Explanations
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The fluctuation in website traffic has become the key to measure revenue for all online ventures. The ultimate conversion in major organizations is due to such footfall.

Therefore, in the present times driving more, fresh, and organic traffic is the goal for online marketing agencies.

But for admins and managers belonging to other industries, this becomes a complicated subject. Hence, everything related to this is covered in this blog.

Understanding the term ‘Traffic’

The number of people that have visited a website through different channels can be considered as website traffic. The different channels of engagement are discussed in detail in this read.

Factors like conversion, lead generation, engagement ratio, and ultimately profit depend upon these modes of engagement. Hence, in indirect terms, the entire revenue generation cycle is dependent on it.

In this short and on-point blog, we will discuss the various types of website traffic. In the process of knowing this, it is essential that you know the different channels that are involved in the entire process.

At the end of this read in the simplest manner, you will be able to conclude the best channel to focus on for your purpose.

Depending upon the source through which the users come, the traffic is categorized into five different types.

These six types are: direct, organic, paid, referral, and social media. Let’s understand all these channels in detail.

Direct Traffic

This channel refers to the number of people visiting the website directly by typing the name. In simple terms, it can be said that all these visitors have reached the site without any other reference, source, or channel.

Usually, the brands that are famous or familiar to the masses get the highest number of direct engagements.

In the online space being able to drive this engagement out of all the types of website traffic is the ultimate goal.

For such a level of interaction and popularity, it takes tremendous effort and marketing tactics. This is because the core aim will be to get into the minds of the potential audience.

Some organizations that are an example of this direct channel are Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc. Visitors usually directly type the URL for these sites when visiting.

Some peculiar and noteworthy features in this segment are:

  • Significant time and efforts for achieving direct visitors
  • Once popularity and presence is established, it is free
  • It is highly scalable
  • Signifies trust, loyalty, and customer retention thus more revenue

Organic Traffic


When a website gets visitors from various search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. then it is organic traffic. This is also one of the best sources of attracting potential customers without paying anything for it.

For driving maximum engagement here one needs to have impeccable search engine optimization. This helps in ranking keywords for your industry-related demands.

The best practices and strategies that ensure the best health of the site can be considered as SEO.

SEO helps in satisfying the predefined algorithms that are operated by the search engines which are measured by SERPs.

The overall optimization and the quality of the content on your site at all levels decide the engagement that you will host.

Compared to other types of website traffic, organic is considered to be the best. This is because all the visitors on this channel are attracted to your site.

Some peculiar and noteworthy features in this segment are:

  • It is absolutely free
  • Search Engine Optimization is mandatory and a key factor here
  • Generating the desired results may take some time but they are long-lasting
  • More visits through this medium mean, that your website is well-maintained and liked

Paid Traffic

When a certain amount of money is paid to prompt the audience to visit your site then it is termed as Paid Traffic. Different platforms like social media, search engines, etc. drive such kind of flow to your website.

For reference, you can consider Google AdWords as one of the best examples of this segment. Here individuals or companies pay for displaying their product/business on the search engine result page of Google.

The reason that people opt for such paid ads is that it offers geo-targeted ads on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis. In simple words, you will have complete control over the location and audience type that will see the ads.

Popular firms offering such ads service includes Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn among others.

Some peculiar and noteworthy features in this segment are:

  • You will have to pay or rather invest for the promotion of your website
  • You can manage and control the audience reach over which the ads will be displayed
  • Controlling the ads preferences is also possible as it is paid and works on the CPC principle.

Referral Traffic

When your website hosts the people that are redirected from various other websites or channels then it is termed as Referral Traffic. Usually, it happens when known or unknown people link your website in their blogs.

This means that indirectly some kind of value is created for the audience of that blog from your website. Hence, they are recommending it which in turn drives more engagement for you.

It is also popularly known as a backlink. Tracking the referring domain can be easily managed from Google Analytics in the following way.

Google Analytics > Acquisition > Channels

Some peculiar and noteworthy features in this segment are:

  • In most of the case, it is free
  • Your website is linked only when it adds some value to the linking site. This means that out of all the other types of website traffic, this is channel is only possible on the basis of value creation.
  • Referral signifies trust and credibility by third-party for your brand
  • It can also be in terms of backlinks (also known as giving links)

Social Media Traffic

Social Media Presence
Depending upon the target audience, out of all types of website traffic, social media is widely popular. Just as the name says, when you generate engagement from social media then it is termed as Social Media Traffic.

Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are examples. Unless you are promoting products or services it is completely free which happens to be an added advantage here.

Now, if you decide to pay on these platforms then it falls in the category of paid traffic.

The search engine algorithm of most of the search engines doesn’t consider social signals. Hence, any kind of links that have been built on social media will not have a significant impact on the off-page SEO.

The only impact that is considerable will be the engagement as social handles are popular for driving maximum growth. This is because a wide majority of the world spends a significant amount of time on such platforms.

Some peculiar and noteworthy features in this segment are:

  • For all other purposes except promoting services/products, it is free
  • Traffic attraction depends upon various factors like the number of followers, value offering, content quality, etc.
  • The audience that is redirected from such handles is considered no-follow links by most of the search engines.

Bot Traffic

We know you are surprised by finding this segment here. Most audiences redirected by the bot are not considered when discussing engagement channels. The purpose of this inclusion is to enlighten you.

When software applications are developed to automatically carry out specific tasks then they are termed bots. Such engagement is non-human that visits the website.

Usually, it is defined from a negative perspective in general scenarios. But we assure you that is not the case everywhere. The purpose for which the bots are used matters the most.

One of the best examples that you can consider here is Google Bots. It is a web crawler software that collects documents from the web to build a searchable index for Google Search Engine.

This is only for information purposes and we will not discuss it much as this read is about types of website traffic

Is it necessary to opt for paid engagement?
You might land into a situation sometimes where it will be necessary to run paid ads as well.

The benefits of attracting engagement from all the above channels are distinct and important. Hence, at times it becomes inevitable to get involved with paid engagement.

If you intend to work dedicatedly on the quality of the content of your site, then paid ads can be avoided. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a major role in this entire phenomenon.

Therefore, in this emerging competitive digital marketing world, SEO has become one of the most essential subjects to learn.

A proper SEO will enable you to stay ahead of the cutthroat competition and attract more visitors without spending on ads.

Despite this detailed discussion on different types of website traffic, all of these are essential for your website. Accumulating all types of traffic is important for the optimum growth in the number of visitors.

It is essential to design and executive significant strategies to attract online users to your page/site.

We hope you now have a detailed idea of the sources of traffic on your site. Depending upon your website type, industry, moto, and niche you can gradually execute and plan strategies.

You can also explore other informative blogs relating to different aspects of website engagement on our website.

All the best!