Direct, Referral Or Organic Traffic: Which Converts Better?

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Bloggers love traffic – be it direct, referral or organic. It is traffic that ensures that blogs and online concerns are productive and make money for their owners. However, it’s not all manner of traffic that is cherished: what is important is traffic that converts. By conversion here, I mean traffic that does what you want it to do – be it clicking on your ads, buying your products or following your affiliate links to close a sale.

So, which is best Terungwa? Which manner of traffic amongst the three does the business of conversion better?

Direct, Referral Or Organic Traffic: Which Converts Better?

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is the traffic that lands on your blog without any reference from any source (at least not expressly). This means that this manner of traffic already is aware of what you blog about and what you are offering since such visitors are either your direct returning readers or a well informed person who is properly briefed about your online concerns.

The advantages of direct traffic are many and varied. A returning visitor is more likely to pick one of your products or follow an affiliate link since the element of trust so crucial to sales, both direct and affiliate has already been established.

However, if you are relying on PPC programmes to monetize your website or blog, then relying on direct traffic may generally be a bad idea. Repeat visitors (or visitors who are directed to your blog by word of mouth) may generally ignore your Adsense or banners. This is so since they may actually be already familiar with your ad spots and would not bother even looking there. If you thus run a site that relies heavily on repeat (or direct traffic), avoiding PPC programs would be a great idea!

Conclusively, since direct traffic has a relatively lower bounce rate, great chances are that your visitors would actually stay long enough on your site to be attracted to other offers you may have. Additionally, the low bounce rate direct visitors ensure will not only be healthy for your SEO, it would be great for the overall benefit of your site.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic refers to traffic that trickles down to your blog from another site. Usually, that site may be a social media site, another site where you were mentioned or a site where you left a comment (especially sites that have commentluv enabled).

The challenge with referral sites is that the traffic that you get from referrals, if not highly targeted, simply bounces off! Anytime I check my Google Analytic report, I am surprised that the sites that return a very high bounce rate are all referral sites!

The trick in making referral sites convert in a great fashion is to ensure that you only promote your links on sites that are in your niche and hence ensure that the traffic you are driving down to your site is ‘targeted’. If you have already ensured this, you may smile at some conversion.

But then again, you really have no idea who exactly is mentioning you (unless you are very keen on studying your analytics report). With just a vague idea (and absolutely no control to who is linking back), how exactly do you make sure it’s ‘targeted’ traffic that is being sent over and not just random hits?

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the traffic that you get via search engines. It is usually the results of keywords that either your site or blog entries have already been optimized for. This can be via best SEO practicesor it can be as a result of properly optimizing images for SEO.

The grand advantage of organic traffic is that visitors who land on your blog via search engines are already looking for something and greater chances are that they would convert and pick up whatsoever it is you are offering. In classical words, such visitors are already ‘a ready market waiting to be exploited’.

The challenge of organic traffic is that it is not easy to harness and keep, even with an in-depth knowledge of SEO. This is because, the exact algorithm of search engines is a closely guarded secret. The manner which updates are also dished makes understanding the process akin to Nuclear Physics!

Summary And A Last Word

All three manner of traffic sources have their uses and none should be neglected. While organic traffic converts better than the other two, it is highly volatile and there is usually no guarantee that a site that ranked well (and pulled thousands of visitors to it) today will do so the next day. When that nasty update hits you, it’s a great idea to have something to fall back on.

Referral traffic, it is worthy of note, is easier to harness than the other two type of traffic sources. It is thus very possible to drive traffic in this way to a new blog. This may not be at all be possible (or work) for the other type of traffic sources.

If you are selling your products, it’s great to have direct traffic. Your regular visitors already know you and would be more comfortable working with you. Believe me, all the clients I write for are my regular visitors: and it’s like that for 98% of bloggers.


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  1. says

    Any form of traffic can convert if properly applied. There are strong points of conversion for each of direct, organic and refferral traffic. The blogger should study analytics properly to learn of what triggers conversion for each.

    Your point that affiliate marketing converts better with direct traffic cannot be disputed. However, I would prefer a situation where a blogger never gets to rely solely on one type of traffic for conversion .

    I have shared this comment in – the content syndication, aggregation, and social bookmarking website for Internet marketers and bloggers, where this post was found and “kingged”.

    Sunday – contributor

    • says

      Hello Sunday,

      It’s good to see you here again. While every manner of traffic does convert, you really have to know what you are doing to ensure that you leverage each…and that is the focal point of this entry.

      I really appreciate your time and comment. Do have a very great day!


  2. says

    Organic traffic convert better in my opinion, however lots of factors can effect this conversion and what conversion do you need. AdSense earnings perform better too according to my experience, but nobody can guarantee a first place in Google for certain keywords and that’s because Google is smarter than we think!

    Kind regards Akaahan, see you next time buddy!

    Quick question: can you share the reason why you don’t let your readers choose from last 10 posts as commentLUV linkback with anchor text? Thanks in advance for your reply!

      • says

        I ask every blogger when I want, why don’t let loyal readers choose from last 10 posts because I’m really interested, I study blogging niche for 2 years by now, as you can see I don’t have a blog yet, if you want to reply a honest answer do it, if you want to lie better don’t. It doesn’t matter your name is Akaahan or Babanature or John Chow, oh wait this guy doesn’t have CommentLUV plugin 😀 . Much much importance don’t have these backlinks with anchor text as you made them nofollow and don’t pass link juice blah blah blah. See you next time buddy! Remember to never judge my comments!

  3. Emmanuel says

    Anytime I tell fellow bloggers that I care less and don’t know the number of people my blog receives in a day, they don’t believe. Anyways, the last time I checked, almost 65% of my daily 1058 visitors were direct but what one need to understand is that valuing just one reader is what is important other than looking for 1000 visitors who won’t understand what you have to offer.

    I value people like you and several others a lot as you guys are the ones that make up what is today.

    Keep on channeling out those great pieces!

    • says

      Hello Emmanuel,

      I completely agree with you! Conversion is what bloggers should strive for and not raw traffic numbers…This is because, why traffic is a great idea, if that traffic refuses to convert, it’s as good as useless, believe me!

      I appreciate your time here, Emmanuel…do have a very great weekend!


  4. says

    hey Emmanuel,

    Organic traffic from Twitter is the bomb. Made almost $500 last month without pushing anybody or anything. It just happened just because I anticipate in conversation that I’m really into on Twitter.

    thanks for the share!


    • says

      Hello Akos,

      Thanks for your time and comment. I am however confused…could you kindly explain how you came about organic traffic from Twitter?

      Tha name again is Terungwa, not Emmanuel.


  5. Nosa Ero Nosa says

    Hello Terungwa,

    It’s nice to be on your blog and I can see really fantastic articles. On topic, direct, referral or organic traffic? For me, the one with the most conversion is organic traffic because they constitute 90% of persons who have never visited your blog and this is where the power to retain them has to come in play.

    If your blog design isn’t offensive and loads pretty fast, there is a greater chance that you can convert your organic visitors to direct visitors. Direct visitors don’t really convert, because they are already used to your blog and may likely not click on ads, but if you are a affiliate marketer, then you surely need direct visitors. Your influence on on your readers will greatly affect how well you will do with your products.

    For referral traffic, they are great, they just bring instant traffic and then it vanishes. For me, I would sincerely love a better organic traffic because I don’t really do affiliate marketing, but I still strive to have direct visitors. The count of direct visitors on my blog is still low, although, can see alight improvement..

  6. says

    Hello Emmanuell,

    I love to look and see how much referral traffic I get. It lets me know from what sites my traffic is coming from. Especially, when I am promoting certain programs. Truth be told I love all of my traffic that I get because it lets me know my site is doing better than before. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  7. says

    Hello Akaahan,

    First off, let me say that this post is a lovely post .
    To me, i feel referral traffic is the best because you can convert your referral traffic to direct visit. I do believe that referral last longer when you compare it with organic :) . But still, it is good to get them all…

    Thanks and do have a lovely week

    • says

      Hello Babanature,

      I sincerely admire your reasoning! Attracting all the various traffic sources is the greatest way to go…not only is such a blog supremely ‘balanced’, it is also immune as not all its eggs are put in a single basket.

      It’s sad that organic traffic is far overrated! Please, do have a very great day!