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What are the most effective traffic sources for website conversion?

What are the most effective traffic sources for website conversion?

So many businesses focus on getting traffic to their websites that they forget why they are driving traffic there in the first place...to get leads that convert into customers.

It is easy to get caught up on website traffic statistics. Because let's be honest, it is exciting to see that your traffic numbers are going up. 

But it doesn't mean anything if the purpose of your website is to generate leads and your visitors aren't converting. In many cases, the problem is the quality of your website traffic. Because it takes both quality traffic and leads to generates revenue and returns.

There are different ways to create traffic, so the trick is to know which one works best for your business. Let's take a look at what they are:

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to the visitors that come to your website as a result of putting a search term or question into in search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. Typically, the person entering the search term or query is looking for something...information, a solution to a problem, a product or service. Because this is their goal, if they come to your website as a result of their search and you have what they are looking for, your chance of converting them into a lead and then customer is much higher. 

Here are some interesting statistics to consider:

  • Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. (Source: Internet Live Stats)
  • Google is responsible for 94% of total organic traffic. (Source: Web Presence Solutions, 2017
  • 90% of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search. (Source: Status Labs, 2018
  • Organic SEO is about 5.66 times better than paid search ads. (Source: New Media Campaigns, 2018) 
Given these impressive statistics, you can see why organic traffic is a powerhouse when it comes to website conversion. But just getting these visitors to your website won't convert them. There are things you need to do on your site to make sure they 


What are the most most effective traffic sources for website conversion? Well, in MarketingSherpa's Lead Generation Benchmark Report, we learned that organic search is the top source for generating website traffic. But, volume alone doesn't offer much value.

In many cases, it’s the quality of both leads and website traffic that generates revenue and returns.

So let's take a look at the 



The following chart compares the responses for top sources of traffic, and top sources for conversion, of visitors on study participants’ websites.

Q: Which of the following sources generates the GREATEST VOLUME of traffic coming to your site?
Q: Which of the following sources generates traffic with the greatest CONVERSION RATES on your site?

traffic sources for website conversion

In the chart above, the darker bar on the left shows response to the greatest volume survey question, while the lighter bar on the right shows response to the conversion rate question.

Survey respondents indicated that organic search is the top source for volume and quality of website traffic. When buyers research products online, the search engine is often where they begin, and the majority of search engine users appear to trust organically placed ads over paid advertisements.

This experience creates a powerful combination of volume and quality to websites that are well optimized for organic search results.

What are your other thoughts on this data? Share your own analysis in the MarketingSherpa LinkedIn Group for a chance to be published in a future blog post. Include your feedback as either a comment or a link to a blog post where you offer advice based on this data.

Here are a few items to consider as you evaluate this data:

Why is there such a discrepancy between organic search and email marketing campaigns?

Email marketing offers marketers the opportunity to generate a high volume of targeted traffic to specific landing pages. This creates an engaging experience that is ideal for qualified lead generation.

Yet, despite the fact that email campaigns generated about half of the overall traffic of organic search, they were responsible for very similar conversion rates. Has your company seen similar success in generating traffic with email marketing campaigns? Have your optimization efforts made organic search your most effective way to generate leads that convert?

Are social media ads effective enough to include in future planning?

Despite social media no longer being a fledgling channel, our respondents indicated that social media ad placements generated just 2% of overall traffic, with just 1% that converted. Has your company invested significant time and resources into strategic social media ad placements? What were the results? Has low performance made you reconsider social media ads when budgeting for future lead generation efforts?

Web design also plays a crucial role when determining a conversion. You can drive all day long, but if the messaging is wrong, then no one will convert!

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