How Do I Know Where My Website Traffic is Coming From?

Okay so your new site is starting to gain some notable traffic, you have access to Google analytics but how can you tell where your traffic is coming from? Finding out where the bulk of you traffic is coming from can be some very useful information that can give you insight on what aspects of your digital marketing strategy is working and what might not be working so well.

So, where can you find this information in Google analytics? Pretty simple actually, you are going to go and select ‘acquisition’ on the left-most menu and then select overview (take a look at the screen shot below) and you will be presented with a pie chart & bar graph highlighting top acquisition channels. Now that’s the easy part, but what do you make of this information? The list below will explain each of the channels in simple terms. Acquisition in Google Analytics

  • Organic: This is when visitors find your site through a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.) Basically meaning they typed a search query in an engine, and one of pages from your site showed up and the visitor clicked the link. This is only if the listing shows up in the organic results, if it shows up via Adwords ads, it will be listed under “paid search”. To find out what people are search to get to your site, be sure to have Google Webmaster Tools installed and linked to Analytics.


  • Direct: This one is pretty simple, this traffic is from people that are directly typing in your into the browser bar at the top of a webpage. This can be from repeat customers that have visited before, of from a direct result of effective conventional advertising (Print, TV, Radio) in which they remember your web address.


  • Paid Search: If you have any Pay Per Click ads set up through Adwords, traffic that is sent to your site from these mediums will fall under paid search. You can dive in even deeper if click on “paid search” and you will see a breakdown of what terms people clicked on.



  • Social media: Another pretty straight-forward  medium here; this is traffic directly coming from a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any other social media platforms. To see what site is driving the most traffic you can click on ‘social media’ and it will tell you.



  • Referrals: This is when visitors come from a link on another website. Clicking on referrals will show which site most referral traffic is coming from. Most referral traffic comes from listing sites (Yelp, Angie’s List, Houzz etc.) and any sites that may have an article that features and links to your site.




  • Email: If run email marketing campaigns, visitors who got to your site via those will be counted as email traffic. To see what specific campaign campaign traffic came from, just simply click on ’email’ and below it will show you.


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