Before starting a WordPress site you’ve probably set a list of goals you want to achieve. No matter what those goals are, most likely the first step is to get people to your site. Naturally, every person working in the internet marketing industry wants to grow the audience of their site or their client’s website, but you should always keep an eye on the source of the traffic, because it will tell you if your marketing activities are paying off.
Depending on your marketing strategy, you may end up with traffic from social media, search engines, RSS platforms, etc. The traffic you get from search engines is known as organic traffic and before we explore how you can measure it, let’s see what’s the difference between direct and organic traffic, as it could be confusing.
- Direct traffic – Coming from browser history, bookmarks, direct url iteration, favorites, etc.
- Organic traffic – Coming from search engines and it’s not a part of a paid advertisement campaign. It’s often used to determine all sources of unpaid traffic minus the direct traffic.
In other words, organic traffic means traffic from search engines and nothing else.
What are some of the key elements for organic traffic?
Measuring your organic traffic isn’t only important for gathering data about the demographics of your audience, it can also provide deep insight into elements crucial to the success of your SEO campaign.
- Search engine ranking positions
- Search volume
- Search results
How to better understand organic traffic?
There are literally thousands of subjects we can talk about when it comes to how to measure organic traffic. It all basically boils down to the traffic flow. Organic traffic can be presented as a funnel consists of three steps – keywords, landing pages and goals.
I know this is over simplifying but once you grasp on this concept, you can expand the conversation in many different directions.
- Keywords – How did people find my site? Knowing which keywords you’re ranking for on search engines is an important starting point if you want to successfully measure your organic traffic. Later we’ll talk about queries in Google Analytics, which are important when exploring long tail keywords and direct organic search sources, as well as Rankie, which is one of the best search engine ranking position tracking plugins for WordPress.
- Landing Page – Where do people land on your site? Your homepage is not always the go to choice for your visitors because that’s not always the top ranking page for certain keywords. This is another aspect that you can research through your Analytics account and will be explained in this article.
- Goal/Conversion – Where do you want to lead your visitors? You should seriously consider your goals before you start your site, and choose the right monetization method. Tracking the keyword -> landing page -> Goals flow process your visitors undergo can help you understand if your marketing activities are help your traffic getting converted. Just setup your goals on Google Analytics and track the data from your customers, let them tell you what parts of your online business you need to improve.
How to measure organic traffic?
There are two ways to tackle this. You can find out the keywords that you are interested in by using a keyword tracking service, or you can find out what keywords that you are already ranking for – let’s call this keyword exploration.
The thinking behind these two is quite distinctive. For example, if you are creating a new content and want to target for a specific keywords, it’s better to use a keyword tracking service so you can monitor the progress right from the beginning.
On the other hand, you might be curious about what other keywords your content is ranking for. In this case you can use tools like Google Search Console (a.k.a Google Webmaster Tools) or SEMrush.com to check.
To be honest though, you really get what you pay for when it comes to keyword tracking and keyword exploration.
Google Analytics can help us with this for free and very easily.
Simply go to Behavior -> Landing pages and it will show you which pages visitors are landing on.
Now use the Secondary dimension to add “Source/Medium” and now you can filter only organic results.
You can set up a goal in the Admin panel. There are various goals you can set up and this is especially useful if you sell products on your site. You can set up a “Thank you” page as the goal so whenever someone buys something and reach to that page at the end of purchasing process.
The same process can be applied to activities such as email signup or joining a membership site.