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What Your Website Sources Really Mean

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What Your Website Sources Really Mean
  1. Organic Search
    Organic search traffic used to just mean the amount of traffic that came to your site via someone who found your site using a search engine. Then, you could drill down into more detail to see which keyword they searched to get to your website. For example, we might learn that someone came to HubSpot.com by searching the keyword phrase “inbound marketing.” This is important to know because it helps businesses understand which keywords are driving the most traffic, leads, and customers so they can develop better-informed content and keyword strategies.
  2. Referrals
    Referrals is one of those source names that could mean a lot of things, because the definition of it is simply … any website sending traffic your way via an inbound link. Pretty vague, eh? Depending on the software or tool you’re using to track the sources of traffic to your site, what’s included under this might vary.
  3. Social Media
    As we mentioned before, when someone finds your site via a link on a social network, they’ll be bucketed under social media as a traffic source. This could include someone tweeting out a link, or it could include you posting a link to your Facebook page. If it’s you doing the posting, you can also add a tracking token before posting to track those links as part of a larger campaign for you to analyze later!
  4. Email Marketing
    When you run an email marketing campaign, we hope you’re including links in that email that lead recipients back to your website — to read more content, convert, whatever. When you take a look at email marketing as a source of traffic, you’ll be able to see how much traffic is sent to your website due to email marketing campaigns you’ve sent out. That’s how we found out, for instance, that driving blog email subscriptions was extremely important to the growth of a business blog — because many of the visits we receive each month come from subscribers who get pinged in their inboxes that a new blog post is published, prompting a click through to the post! Just be sure to include tracking tokens in the links of your email, otherwise the clicks won’t be properly bucketed under the email marketing source.
  5. Paid Search
    When you run a PPC campaign — whether through Google or some other PPC provider — you can track how much site traffic it drives in this part of your sources report. Obviously for proper PPC campaign management, you’ll also need to be reviewing whether that traffic actually converts, too. Like email marketing as a source, be sure to include tracking tokens with all of your paid search campaigns so this is properly bucketed as, you know, paid search.
  6. Direct Traffic
    Direct traffic refers to traffic you receive to your website that doesn’t come through any other channel. So, when you type www.targetdomain.com into your search bar and hit ‘Enter,’ you’re accessing TargetDomain.com via direct traffic. If someone posted a link to www.targetdomain.com on Facebook, however, and you clicked on that link, your visit would be bucketed in TargetDomain.com’s social media sources.
  7. Other Campaigns
    Finally, if you’re running some other kind of marketing campaign for which you’ve generated a tracking URL, but does not fit into any of the other buckets, you might find it ends up in a nebulous “Other Campaigns” source.

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