Do you know what the number one search term in Google is? Its “Google.” Yes, according to TheMarkUp.org, the number one thing people search for on Google is Google.

Why is this important? Because Google thinks that when they type in the name of your website into the search field, that this counts as a search. What this really means is that the person typing into the search field already knows exactly where they want to go. This isn’t a real “search,” it’s just that their browser is calling it a search instead of a direct visit.

In this case, I simply intend to go to WebStoresltd.com, even though I entered the website into the search box instead of the address bar. Most mobile browsers and many desktop browsers even use the address bar as a search bar. This is skewing your analytics to make it look like most of your traffic is coming from search, when in fact, it is likely that much of your traffic is actually “direct.”

There are basically 6 different types of traffic to your website that you should be concerned with:

  • Direct (People entering your domain name into the address bar and going to your site directly)
  • Organic / Search traffic (Traffic coming from search engines based upon people typing in specific keywords they are looking for)
  • Referral (Traffic coming from link in other websites pointing to your website)
  • Paid (Traffic coming from paid ads)
  • Social (Traffic coming from social media sites. This is also a blurry line with referral traffic.)
  • Email (Traffic coming from email links. This is also a blurry line with direct traffic.)

When people enter “Google” into the address bar of their browser, they aren’t really searching for Google – they simply want to go to Google. Even though your analytics program is counting this as a search, it should really be counted as direct traffic. Direct traffic happens because of everything else you do marketing-wise. People start to know your name because you post on social media, advertise on the radio, send out emails, etc. Direct traffic is HUGE, even if the search engines want to take credit for it.

Now it doesn’t really matter if Google wants to count this as search traffic, as long as you are aware of what is really happening. Your analytic results are not cut in stone – the lines between each of these traffic sources is very blurry. As a result, when you see graphs like this, realize that this is not really accurate.

So where does your BEST traffic come from?

In almost every case, the traffic that is most likely to convert into a sale comes either from email or a referral link. When people are searching for something, it is usually because they are first doing research and aren’t necessarily ready to buy. That is why it is so important to capture someone’s email address when they visit your website. For example, if someone is searching for “How to make a potato gun” and you have an article on your website that they end up on because of this search, you will want to make sure they don’t leave your website without giving you their email because they have expressed an interest in what you have to offer. Likewise, if someone else has written an article about how to make a potato gun and they link to your website in that article stating that this is a good place to buy the parts, then that is a great source of traffic.

The takeaway: Create an irresistible bribe so that you can capture someone’s email address and market to them. Don’t think that search traffic by itself is going to make your website successful. SEO alone is not the answer, even if the search engines want you to believe that. The impact of direct visits, referral visits, and email visits is not only greater than what Google might be reporting, but those visitors are worth more.

If you are interested in learning more about driving traffic to your website, be sure to register for the Monetize Your Expertise online course starting September 9th.