Career Development

What Is Organic Traffic? (Plus Tips for Increasing It)

April 1, 2021

Website traffic refers to the people who visit a certain website. While there are many types of traffic, websites use all of it to measure how successful their marketing strategies are at bringing in users, like customers or readers. Organic traffic is one important type that helps websites determine whether they are getting new visitors to their site and how they can increase those visitors. In this article, we define organic traffic, why marketing specialists should care about it and some tips on how to increase organic visitors.

What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic is when someone visits a website that they found on a search engine. This kind of traffic means that visitors are not being referred by another website or clicking on a paid ad, but are searching for something specific and finding a website naturally. Professionals who manage websites measure their organic traffic to use it as a metric for how well their website matches popular and relevant internet searches.

Why is organic traffic important?

Organic traffic is important to marketing strategies because it represents potential client conversions. When someone searches for a specific item or topic, they are more likely to make a purchase or read an article on a page that relates closely to their search. This is different for ads, which target people based on internet activity and hope that they will be interested in the advertised website. Paid visitors may not be interested in the item or topic since they are not actively seeking it out like organic visitors are.

In addition, visitors who find websites themselves may trust the website more than if they found it from an ad on another website. Typically, people also only click on the first page of search engine results, so finding a website in that way already builds a higher level of trust between organic visitors and unfamiliar websites. That trust helps create repeat customers and keeps the website on the first page of search results, which gathers even more organic traffic.

Related: 29 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Website

Direct vs. organic traffic

Direct traffic differs from organic traffic in the way it's generated. Here's more information about how direct traffic and organic traffic compare to each other:

Search engine vs. URL

Websites measure their traffic based on how visitors get to their page. For organic traffic, visitors search a word or phrase in a search engine and find a website in the results. When they click on the website's link, they generate organic traffic. However, direct traffic comes from visitors who type a website's URL directly into the address bar on their web browser. Essentially, direct traffic visitors know exactly what website they want to visit.


A referrer is the person, website or search engine that sends visitors to a specific website. For organic traffic, the referrer is a search engine because the search engine provides the link to the website. Direct traffic is different because the referrer can be a person who tells the visitor to visit the website, or the visitor has the URL saved and there is no referrer. Because websites can't measure these events, direct traffic referrers are typically unknown.

New vs. returning users

Based on referrers, marketing professionals can usually assume that organic visitors are new customers and direct visitors are returning users or customers. Since organic traffic comes from search engines, it's likely that the visitors search for something they want or need and find the website naturally in the results. Websites can even analyze which keywords a visitor searched to get to their page. Direct traffic visitors, however, already know the URL or have it saved in their web browser, so they're most often people who have visited the page before.

Tips for increasing organic traffic

There are a few ways you can increase your organic traffic for a website. Here are some tips to get you started:

Publish frequent and relevant content

One way to bring organic traffic to your website is to publish blogs or articles that are meaningful to your target audience. Putting out new content frequently allows more chances for visitors to find you and helps you stay relevant in search engine results. The more content you publish, the more room you have to use keywords that draw visitors to your website when they search for those keywords.

Related: 15 Website Improvement Tips

Use SEO for text and images

SEO means search engine optimization, and it's one way websites increase organic traffic. To use SEO to your advantage, target certain keywords in your website content that can help your website appear before your target audience in search results. The keywords can be popular search terms for your website's topic or product. You can also use SEO if you add images to your content by giving the image a descriptive file name, proper sizing and a relevant caption. This can help the image associated with your content to show up in visual search engine results for keywords.

Related: Definitive Guide To SEO Marketing

Check your traffic analytics

There are a few tools online that help websites measure and analyze their traffic. These tools are important for reviewing your organic traffic and determining which marketing methods are working best for you. When checking your traffic analytics, think about when you made changes or added content to your site to see how they affected your traffic. Sometimes, these tools also let you see which keywords visitors searched before finding your site. Use those keywords in your content to optimize SEO and bring in more organic traffic.

Related: What Is Google Analytics?

Stay active on social media

For companies that only provide online services, social media activity is important for increasing organic traffic and awareness. Having social media accounts with the same name and content as your website allows you to take up more space in search engine results, which raises your chances of increasing organic visits. Just like on your website, it's a good idea to post frequent, relevant content to your social media.


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