Where is my website traffic coming from?

Ever wondered where your website traffic comes from? How do people find you and end up on your site?

Thankfully, it’s easy (and free!) to find out with Google Analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics yet, here’s how to set it up.

How to check your website traffic

Once your website is set up on Google Analytics, head to Acquisition > Overview in the left hand side menu. From here you will see an overview of all the different sources that are sending traffic to your website.

website traffic sources google analytics acquisition

Website traffic sources in Google Analytics Acquisition (click to enlarge in new tab)

Ideally you are looking for a good balance of traffic from difference places, so that if one traffic source were to disappear – say your website stopped appearing in Google or you didn’t have a paid search budget any more – then you would still have a steady flow of traffic from other sources.

Underneath the overview you will find a breakdown of the different traffic sources, which will be made up of one or more of the following…

Organic search

Visitors that found your website through a search engine such as Google are listed under “Organic Search”. This means they typed in a search query, one of your pages came up in the non-paid search results, and they clicked on it. Visitors from paid links in search engines are shown separately, under Paid Search.

Previously Google Analytics also displayed the exact phrases that people entered into the search engine to find your website, but sadly that’s not the case anymore. Instead, if you link your Google Analytics to Google Search Console, then you’ll be able to see the most popular search terms people are clicking on, plus the search terms which your website is appearing for, under “Search Engine Optimisation”.

Direct

These are visitors who typed in your website URL into the address bar in their web browser. Normally they are people who are already aware of your company or have visited your website before. It’s also possible they have amazing memory, saw your web address on an advert and remembered it to type it in!

Paid Search

If you are running Pay Per Click ads, then traffic sent from them will be grouped under “Paid Search”.

Clicking on “Paid Search” will show you a breakdown of the terms that people clicked on.

Social media

Traffic coming directly from social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest, will be shown under the grouping “Social Media”.

To see which social media site is sending the most traffic, click on “Social Media”.

Referrals

Referrals show those who have visited your website via a link on another website. Clicking on”Referrals” will show you exactly which websites people are visiting you from.

Watch out for referral spam when reviewing your referral traffic. Here’s how to filter it out.

Display

For sites that run display advertising, the “Display” segment shows people who came to your site via one of your display ads.

Email

If you run email marketing campaigns, then visitors who clicked on links in your email newsletters will appear under “Email”.

Clicking on “Email” will show you which pages people visited via your email campaign.

Acquisitions, Behaviour and Conversions

A breakdown of acquisitions, behaviour and conversions (where applicable) are shown for each source of website traffic. Here’s a guide to what these numbers mean:

  • Sessions is the total number of visits during the reporting period, which is set in the top right of the Analytics screen (the default is the last 30 days).
  • % New Sessions is the percentage of new visits from visitors who have not previously visited during the reporting period.
  • New Users is the number of new visitors during the reporting period.
  • Bounce Rate is the percentage of visits to a single page only before leaving.
  • Pages/Session is the number of pages, on average, viewed during each visit.
  • Avg Session Duration is the average time each visit lasted.
  • Ecommerce Conversion Rate is the number of transactions as a percentage of visits.
  • Transactions is the number of individual sales made during the reporting period.
  • Revenue is the sales made during the reporting period.

What to learn more about where your website traffic comes from?

You might also be interested in:

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Our industry expert

James Patten

Technical Director

Responsible for overseeing every website build, Jim is our resident expert in data and API integration, email and DNS configurations, and all things technical. He takes every client’s vision for their new website and brings it to life, integrating automated systems to save them time.

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