Many websites have web traffic analytics software embedded into the site code so that site owners can learn about their web visitors. Even those sites that were not built with this software are now having this installed. Why? You cannot measure what you do not monitor.

While web traffic analysis can provide you with lots of valuable information, it can also be overwhelming at first.

Where to start? Check out the source of your web traffic. Here are the top three:

Direct Traffic
These are web visitors that typed your web address into their Internet browser. Launching a site via a bookmark is also included in this category. Direct traffic visitors can be the result of an offline promotion, word-of-mouth or simply from your business card.

Referring Sites
This is an online rather than offline approach. These are web visitors that were directed to your site via a link. The referring site could be a web directory, related website or blog. In most cases, it is new traffic and can be quite targeted.

Search Engines
Also an online approach, but they are actively searching for you. These are web searches that were directed to your site from a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). In other words, they found you using a keyword search. This again, is often new traffic but very targeted.

Why should you care?

Tracking your web traffic sources will allow you to learn what is working – and what is not working. You can determine where to focus your efforts and improve the results.

For example, if you launch an offline marketing campaign (print, TV, promotional items with your URL), you should see an increase in direct traffic. Remember to track it with your Google Analytics.

Launching an effective link building campaign should result in increases from both referring sites as well as in search engines (when you have quality inbound links you improve your credibility with the engines).

Implementing a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign, updating and improving your content (with the right keywords or phrases), optimizing your website for search engines or having a new SEF (Search Engine Friendly) website built should all (if done right) result in higher traffic from search engines.

Since your website is your online marketing tool, and it works 24/7 worldwide, getting found by search engines is always important. In addition, because this traffic comes to your site via a search query, it is often new highly targeted traffic. And likely even more important, if they don’t find you, they may be finding your competition.

Web analytics can help improve your online visibility. Use it!