Where My Traffic Comes From

Oddly enough, when I was going back through my posts to find out the last time I talked about where traffic was coming from, I realized it was only a small blurb in a post about dofollow vs nofollow and not really about traffic at all. But that was one of my most popular posts, so I hope those of you who didn’t see it give it another go.

Anyway, I’ve constantly said that most of my traffic came from sources other than search engines, and thus it seemed to prove that it worked better for me to bring publicity to this blog by commenting on other blogs and not worry about anything else. Indeed, in that article above, I found that, at the time, I was getting only 9.6% of my traffic from the search engines, with Google being at the top in sending me 4.6% of all my traffic. That’s not good at all, so I wasn’t really paying them any attention.

Well, this blog is growing in many ways, and one of those ways, it seems, happens to be in search engine traffic. But let’s do this right, going in some kind of order, so I’ll have something legitimate to compare to at another time. For this article, I’m using Google Analytics.

So, where is my traffic coming from? As of today, reading the last 30 days worth of statistics, 47.11% comes from referring sites, 31.39% comes from search engines, and 21.50% comes from direct traffic. Let’s start with direct traffic, since it’s the shortest one to talk about. My assumption of this traffic is that it’s a combination of people who subscribe to the feed by email and decide to click on the link to read the article, and those who know about the blog and decide to check in from time to time. That it’s over 20% is pretty comforting to me, as I see those folks as loyal readers, and, based on the average time of 3 minutes and 25 seconds per visit, which is 41 seconds higher than the site average, I feel pretty good.

Next, let’s look at the referring sites traffic, which is the highest traffic feeder. These visitors are averaging 3 minutes and 51 seconds on the site, even better than the direct traffic. A good bit of the traffic comes from blogs I visit and comment on, but strangely enough, the number one driver of traffic here is a site I don’t even have an account on, so I’m clueless as to how it’s bringing me visitors; I figure I have to thank someone. Anyway, let’s give out some love; here are the top ten, in order:

Stumble Upon, T. T. Mitchell Consulting, Nunes Magician, Direct Sales Web Marketing, Wassup Blog, Build A Better Blog, Peter Lee HC, Trade Show Guru, Google, Twitter.

And Sire, because you asked, your Cool Blog Links is only averaging 3 visitors a month.

Finally, let’s look at the search engine traffic. Yes, I’m getting 31% or so from search engines, but those folks aren’t staying around long. The average for all the search engine traffic is only 35 seconds; I doubt everyone else is a speed reader like I am. Of the search engine traffic, Google is at the top, sending 63% of that traffic, but they’re only staying 37 seconds; targeted seems to be a misnomer with that traffic, and it’s no wonder Chitika, which pops up most of the time only through search engine traffic, makes me little money. Yahoo is second, sending 25% of search engine traffic, and those folks are hanging around for 43 seconds. Oddly enough, all those folks are coming based on search terms related to music, more specifically music, so they have to be stopping by my article on the top 100 singers. No wonder they’re not sticking around; that wouldn’t be consistent traffic for me in any fashion.

And, since I’m in Analytics anyway, I might as well add location into the mix. Most of my traffic comes from the good ol’ U.S., at 69%, which is to be expected. I’m a hit in the big states, New York, California, and Texas; I at least lived in two of these states. The United Kingdom, Canada, and then Australia follow. It’s not surprising that English speaking countries would top the list of visitors, since this blog is in English.

As for keywords, it seems the only significant keyword that people find this blog for is “book writing series”, which of course fits since I have a book writing series on this blog. Hey, we all have to have something to be known for, right?

Anyway, there you go. Now that I’ve officially written an article on this, I hope to remember to check it again in four to six months to see if things have changed again.

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28 comments on “Where My Traffic Comes From

  • It’s amazing what you find when you do, Dennis. Here I was, quoting old stats, so this surprised me a lot.

  • Your post prompted me to check my stats and find that for the last month my traffic is almost exactly split at 33% and change between Direct Traffic, search engines, and referring sites.

    I have a question for you. Every time I see that TopSpots plugin I wonder if Google won’t slap you for selling links, drop your PR and maybe even dump you out of the search engine altogether.

    Anyone have any information about Google’s policy on it or had negative experiences using it?

    P.S. Check out that post I used in CommentLuv. In the past (rolling) month I am now up 76.63% and received Tweets from another blogger who says his traffic was double what it was for the same day last week since he started using it.

    Internet Strategist´s last blog post..Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days: Our Proven Traffic Improvement Strategy

    • Hi IS,

      No, it’s safe because the links are nofollow, so Google doesn’t care. Here’s the thing about Google and paid links, as I’ve written about it often enough on this blog, as has many other people.

      Google doesn’t like paid links, but they really go after the people who have tons of them, and of course those people who flaunt it. The worst that will happen is that you’ll lose PR; they won’t remove you from search engine findings, unless you’ve done something overly egregious, as they did with John Chow many, many years ago. Since most people who know better don’t care all that much about PR, especially if they’ve had it and suddenly it’s taken away, it’s not such a big deal.

      So, there you go; I hope that helps. I’ve already read your post, and commented on it, I believe. I’m glad it’s all working out for you.

    • Our traffic seems to be split 25% direct 25% referral and 50% search. It’s interesting how different blogs get trafficked.

      James D´s last blog post..How Will You Ring in 2010?

      • You’re right, James, but I think it probably depends on how people decide to work on getting their blogs or websites noticed.

  • Hi Mitch. A tip to make search traffic sticky and hang around your site a little longer. At the end of each post list 3 or 4 other posts that they might also be interested in, and that relate to whatever topic they came in on. Also invite comments at the end of your posts to create a sense of community.

    Mike CJ´s last blog post..Blogging Lessons from Geocaching

    • Hi Mike. I’ve seen that on other blogs, and there’s also a plugin for it. I have to admit that I’ve never been all that partial to that sort of thing, and something I do instead is link to posts within my articles that have something to do with what I’m talking about. That seems to work well also, plus works for the SEO of each post. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Thanks for the reply. I did find out it was nofollow after I asked the question. You mention you’re “into analytics”. Have you done many posts on it? There is a huge need for more step-by-step how-to use analytics to determine “x” type posts.

    If you have any or write any I’d love to know about them, link them in, and get the word out about them.

    Great tips from Mike CJ – I’ll have to go check out his blog too.

    Internet Strategist´s last blog post..REVIEW: Mastering Google Analytics – Easy to Understand FREE eCourse

    • Thanks IS. Actually, I have lots of posts where I talk about different stats of mine and research I’ve done, but I haven’t logged them all into one specific place. Like I mentioned on this post, I only talked about traffic the one time specifically, and that post wasn’t even on that topic. I do a lot of that here, test things, including different affiliate marketing items, then write about them. Maybe one day I’ll create a new topic and go back and put them all together in some fashion.

  • That was interesting Mitch, and maybe I will do the same exercise, sometime this century. 😉 Only 3% huh? I suppose that would increase once I get more members. I suppose the fact I haven’t seriously market the site yet is part of the problem. I really need more time to play with.

    The fact that you get visitors from Stumble.com is good as that means people thought highly enough of your posts to stumble it.

    Sire´s last blog post..An Aspect Of Affiliate Marketing That May Lead To Higher Conversions

    • I’d always thought you had to have a Stumble Upon account for people to stumble you; that’s interesting to me, but I appreciate any love I can get.

      As for the other, no, you really don’t promote either Cool Links or your forum all that much, or at all in the longest time, but you do have so many things going that you probably spread yourself thin. Last time I’d tried, your games site was down, but I’m betting most people don’t even know you have a games site, so you might need to write about that again.

  • Hi Mitch
    Is it your intention to try and get more search engine traffic or to simply increase the traffic from other avenues?

    • Khaled, it’s my intention to get more traffic period. I don’t really care all that much where it comes from, but I of course don’t take many chances with it, so I try to make sure I optimize as much as comment on other blogs.

  • Hi Mitch,

    Before I start writing a post I decide what category it belongs in and what tags I’m going to use.

    While that is partly so I stay more tightly focused in a post it is primarily to make it easier for anyone to locate all the posts covering a specific subject they may be interested in.

    You may wish to add categories for Analytics and your blog stats and add posts that fit or at least have any new ones appear under those topics.

    Testing is something everyone needs to do. I suspect categories for Affiliate Testing and/or Affiliate Case Studies would be very popular.

    Internet Strategist´s last blog post..Social Media: Valuable Investment or a Waste of Your Valuable Time? Your Thoughts?

    • Truthfully IS, I write when I write and what I want to write. I don’t decide categories until after I’m done. Though I view this blog at times as a project, in truth I view it more as a vehicle for expression, and if I have an ulterior motive in place beforehand then I feel I won’t write as fluidly as I hope I’m writing most of the time.

      As for the rest, I don’t actually see me doing that because, well, doing all the analytics takes a lot of time, so those posts are going to be far and few in between. That, plus I have to say that I’m really not sure most people are looking at categories of posts to begin with. I know I never do, although, as you see at the top of this blog where I have special topics, I will sometimes look at those on blogs if people have them, and one of mine up there, the “book writing series”, comes up highly on Google.

  • It’s a good thing to analyze where your traffic is coming from, site by site if you have the time. This story is a bit different from yours, but one site I was getting a lot of traffic from actually ripped off one of my articles, but not too well in the sense that they left all my internal links intact. So even though they didn’t give me credit, they are still feeding me traffic.

    ~ Kristi

    Kikolani´s last blog post..Discover More About Yourself Through Blogging

    • That’s kind of funny, Kristi. Did you decide then that it was doing you well, or did it still irk you? Maybe you need to post a comment on that post thanking them for giving you traffic by stealing your stuff; I do that from time to time.

  • That is the beauty of blogging: everyone can do “their thing” whatever way works best for them.

    My “ulterior motive” is to make my blog a valuable reference so I usually keep my posts focused on one topic (or they’d be books!) that fit in one category so they can be found again.

    The first Web site I ever built was to keep track of my online research and that is still pretty much what sites I build become. Yahoo called that first site a Directory and made a new section for it.

    That is what I do: collate the best information on any subject and create a blog about that specific niche subject.

    I like to research, find the best answers, and then organize them so the next time I want to do something (or explain it to someone else) I can just grab the links.

    So when you visit me you might want to check out the categories so when you’re looking for specific information you may already know where to find it.

    IS´s last blog post..Blog Traffic Up 54.87% in the Last 30 Days: Our Proven Traffic Improvement Strategy

    • For most people, IS, if you’re looking for specific types of information, you should check the categories. I’ve found, however, that sometimes the categories don’t really match the content, and you feel sort of cheated. Categories can be dicey sometimes because what you call it might not be what someone else calls it. For your purposes and my blog, I’m not sure if you checked my categories, but I do have one called “research”, and those are posts where I’ve done research and talked about it, whether it’s the blog or multiple other blogs. This is different than reviews, where someone might think if I’m talking about an affiliate program I’m testing that it should be considered “research”, and I consider that as “affiliates.”

  • Caleb (Market Secrets Blogger) says:

    getting only 9.6% of my traffic from the search engines

    …perhaps the reason for this one may be because of the sitemap plugin problem?

    As for direct traffic, it also means ppl who simply typed in your URL from memory 😉

    • You know, Caleb, that was an interesting point I hadn’t thought of. So, I just took a quick look at it, and for the month of January my search engine traffic was only 13.8%, but there was a one day aberration in there so I did a second check, from January 18th to February 18th, and it was up to 20.79%. It’s only been a couple of weeks since I fixed the Google sitemap plugin, but it’s possible that’s where the increase is coming from. Should be interesting to check it next month to see where I am.

  • Mitch,
    The search traffic figures look very small probably because of a lot of stumble visits? Check if it’s at least 30-40% after taking out stumble or digg visits. If not, you really need to do some SEO and check your webmaster tools (for any geo targeting setting by mistake)

    Ajith Edassery´s last blog post..Update on 2009 Objectives and more

    • Ajith, I’m not sure that analysis would necessarily be correct. This growing search engine traffic is somewhat a new phenomenon for me, as most of my traffic was direct, which didn’t displease me one bit. If a lot is coming from Stumble Upon, and has nothing to do with me since I never set up an account, I find that a good thing also, because that means I have more targeted traffic, so to speak, than what a search engine might bring. Works for me; heck, for me, any traffic is good traffic!

  • I think my impatience was what contributed to that facebook result when i saw that my per click bid wasn’t high enough to get impression I increased it If i was more patient I imagine over time i could have gotten more hits off the budget.Not sure i’d try it again though Maybe don’t know …ha

    • That’s the problem with paying for campaigns. It might bring traffic, but at what cost? If you’re in a popular field, you’re going to have to spend lots of money to get seen to begin with, and those clicks you get will cost you more, so you have to hope you can score at least a 10% return, and only if your product costs enough to overcome the initial deficit.

  • Hey, I get almost all of my traffic from search engines.In fact this month,Google sent me 40 times more traffic than the highest non-search engine referrer did!!!!

    • That’s pretty neat, IWHS. Do you do a lot of link building elsewise, including lots of comments on other blogs?

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