5 Types Of Web Traffic Startup Founders Have To Know


Written by Luke Glassford

5 types of web traffic

If you are a startup founder, a small business owner or an entrepreneur you need a good understanding of the different types of web traffic.

You don't need to be an expert in digital marketing, but being familiar with the primary forms of traffic that your website can attract can help you make better business and marketing decisions.

We have created the below infographic to highlight the five types of traffic that every startup founder should know:

5 types of web traffic

The five types of web traffic you have to know and understand are:

  • Direct traffic
  • Organic traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Social media traffic
  • Paid traffic

Direct traffic

This typically means visitors who have come to your website after typing your full domain name into the URL bar of their browser.

The more 'direct' traffic you get, the more well-known your business is becoming - as people begin to come straight to your website.

Be careful with this though, as the 'direct' traffic you may see in tools like Google Analytics may not be true 'direct' traffic. Google Analytics lists any visit as 'direct' if it is not sure where it originally came from.

For example, if you are doing email marketing and forget to tag the links in your email then any clicks you get will come through as 'direct', as Google Analytics cannot 'see' where that visit originated from.

Organic traffic

Organic traffic refers to visitors that come to your website after searching on a search engine and clicking a result in their natural, or 'organic' results.

They are called organic results to differentiate them from the paid ads that are listed above them.

If you are working on improving your SEO, you should see an increase in organic traffic over time as your website begins to rank higher in the organic search results.

Referral traffic

This type of traffic comes from visitors clicking on links on other websites that point to your website.

These links could be a result of an SEO link building campaign you have run, or from industry news websites if your business has been covered by them in some way.

Google Analytics sometimes marks visits from social media websites as 'referral' traffic, so be careful when looking at your traffic reports.

Social media traffic

If you are active on social media platforms - whether it's Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok or any other - you should hopefully be getting traffic from them to your website.

This could be from clicking on links in your posts on the platform, or links in your profile.

If you are doing a good job of promoting your content, you may also get traffic from other social media users sharing your content on social media platforms.

Paid traffic

This traffic comes from any paid ads you are running online - e.g. Google ads or Meta ads (Facebook and Instagram).

It is essential that you track this traffic properly and you know exactly what visitors are doing on your website after they click on your ads e.g. how many are buying products or filling out your forms? What percentage are bouncing straight off your landing page?

Without a good handle on this data, you will not know the ROI of your ads (return on investment) and therefore be unable to make the best decisions in terms of stopping them, changing ads creatives or increasing the budget.

If you have any questions about the different types of traffic your website is getting, or you need help interpreting your Google Analytics data, get in touch with us now and arrange a free consultation call:

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Written by

Luke Glassford

Marketing Director at Gambit Partners