When someone accesses your website, it surely came from somewhere on the web. Your Web Analytics tools can indicate the traffic sources in which the visitors could have found you, such as a search engine like Google, they enter directly into the address or from infinite possibilities.

Each of these types of visitors has a certain image in mind and that, almost always, the reasons for the visit are different. In this post, we will expose those reasons through a psychological perspective to better understand what actions to expect from a person from each of those traffic sources.

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Search engine traffic

When people come to your websites from a search engine, like Google, Bing or Yahoo, they are generally looking for answers to a specific question or information on a certain topic.

Consider this the true nature of search engines: type what you want and expect the answer to appear. This means that visitors from the engines tend to go in and read your content to find the answers they are looking for.

If they can’t find the answer in the content, they can look it up in something you advertise, be it a regular advertisement or an eBook, for example. So generally speaking, search engine visitors tend to generate a higher click-through rate than you advertise.

More and more people relate the first search result for a certain keyword as an authority on the topic and that affects the behavior on your site. People trust your brand more and tend to do things like sign up for your newsletter or blog.

Direct traffic

Direct traffic is traffic in which visitors directly enter the website address in the search bar. This is a good source of traffic, as people know your address, probably from previous experience good enough to be remembered.

Since this audience is almost always made up of past visitors, they are likely to access the site to check for the latest updates. What they probably do, if they haven’t already, is to get more involved with your blog content, registering and interacting on social media. They are also the most likely to leave comments on your blog.

We always recommend responding and providing content, so that they keep coming back.

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Traffic from social networks

The psychology behind social networks seems to be realized by the user’s desire to be noticed and have their personal space online.

The main point here is that people want to be social with their circle or they want to be entertaining. This ends up generating high bounce rates for this visitor since after entering your site and quickly seeing what they wanted, they are ready to continue with the next site. On Twitter, where there is a high volume of tweets with suggestions for content to be read, this behavior is even more marked.

What is really cool about social media, however, is the ability to go viral with content. As there is this tendency to go from one site to the next, if someone finds the content interesting, they will share it indicating that it is really worth it over others.

In this way, you get someone to talk about your content or product, dispersing the information to a new audience that may also be interested if they see the content entertaining or useful.

Referral Traffic

There are some similarities between referral traffic and social media, but it is worth making a distinction because there is a difference between knowing about something on social media and on a website.

When an acquaintance recommends something on social media, you usually take a look. It’s intended to see how fun or useful the link is, and not necessarily because you really trust the person’s advice. If this is a site you trust and talk about the same subject, you will probably see that with different eyes, knowing that the advice comes from a reference.

It is more or less like listening to the health advice of a friend who read the subject and by a doctor: you can believe in both, but in a way, you will follow the doctor’s advice more.

However, this type of analogy does not work for all types of reference. There is a difference between the different links received.

One possibility is to receive a link from a blogroll in which someone does include you in their list of favorite sites. In that case, the bounce rate tends to be higher and the interaction with your site is probably less. All the site did was mention you without specifying a reason, which makes the user have to discover it on their own, things that do not help as much.

On the other hand, when you receive a reference through a content link or through a guest post from another site, in which the user already knows what he will find, there is a greater interest in knowing what you have to say. Additionally, you will inherit the credibility of who recommended you.

For these cases, they will probably read a bit to see if you are interested and then follow or subscribe. The point here is to show that you actually offer good content on the issue you were referenced on.

Paid links

This type of referral traffic has very close proximity to search engine traffic. The difference is that, if you are paying, you can choose exactly which page you want to take the user to.

In this sense, it is interesting to create a conversion page that clearly shows the user the answer to the problem they are looking for and that inventive them to become a customer or business opportunity.

What is best for your case?

We have already seen that each type of traffic attracts a different type of user. Hence the importance of thinking about the objectives of your blog or website. Depending on the action you want the user to take, you can prioritize the optimization of a specific type of traffic source.

If your intention is to spread your content more and make more “noise”, you can focus on social networks. If, on the other hand, you want to attract more subscribers, you can write more articles as a guest.

These are just a few ideas to drive the growth of your different traffic sources. Remember that depending on the objective of the site and the company’s strategy you can even mix several actions to obtain results with different sources.