The Traffic Sources report estimates how much traffic is going to a website from 5 main digital channels:
- Direct - traffic to a domain via URLs entered in a browser’s search bar, saved bookmarks or links from outside a browser (such as PDFs or Microsoft Word documents).
- Referral - traffic to a domain from a hyperlink on another domain (as long as it is not a Social Media domain).
- Search - traffic to a domain directly from a search engine such as Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.
- Social - traffic to a domain from links on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
- Paid ads - traffic to a domain from paid advertisements on Google Ads. These sources include PPC ads in search results as well as product listing ads (Google Shopping) on SERPs.
With this information, you can identify this website’s strengths and weaknesses in their digital strategy. Do they rely more on direct traffic or search? Referral or social?
This can give you insight into their marketing strategy. Not only that, but it can also help you determine if you should avoid marketing in a certain channel.
Benchmark your website against competitors
The Traffic Analytics Sources reports allow you to compare your own traffic sources with 4 of your competitors. This way you are able to see where there are gaps in your sources of traffic. Simply enter your competitor's domains, hit the green compare button and SEMrush will generate a bar graph comparison of traffic sources.
To remove a domain’s bar graph, click on the checkbox next to the corresponding domain.
Utilizing this feature can give you further insight into areas of your website where you can try to improve. If you are noticing your website traffic is lackluster in the social source, it may be a good idea for you to try new social media campaigns to help drive traffic.
Traffic Sources Details
If you scroll down to the Traffic Source Details list, you can break this information down even further.
In the table list, you will see the traffic sources broken down into source domain, source type, group traffic split, and traffic share. Group Traffic Split visually breaks down each traffic source into percentages and traffic share shows the overall percentage of traffic driven from a single domain.
For the example, below you can see that naturally, organic traffic from Google is bringing on the highest traffic share.
Here are some things you can ask yourself while looking at the Traffic Sources Detail report:
- What are the top external websites that send them traffic?
- Does the website get more traffic from YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter?
- How does each social network’s estimated traffic compare to the website’s paid traffic?
- Would any of the top referring sites have a reason to link to your site if you made a pitch?
- Does Bing, Yahoo, or an alternative to Google search engine provide significant traffic?
- Your competitor’s most beneficial partnerships (referring sites) on the web
Above the list of domains, you will see 4 different tabs: all sources, referring sites, search engines, and social networks. Click on any of these tabs and your list of domains will be filtered. This can make it easier for you to see what action you can take to help gain traffic in certain areas. This lets you know if you should create an advertising campaign for paid traffic, run a link building campaign for referral traffic, build your brand on social media, or improve your SEO for more search traffic.
Looking at all of the traffic sources will give you an overview of the source domain, source type, traffic share, traffic visits and traffic changes that have occurred on a domain.
The source type will let you know if the traffic is a referring site, a search engine or a social network. Traffic share represents the percentage of traffic driven to the domain from that source.
The websites that send the most traffic to the queried domain through hyperlinks are the referring sites. Use this list to identify your competitor’s most beneficial partnerships on the web.
In the Search Engines tab, you can identify if a website is not only found on Google but also search engines like Yandex, Bing, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and more. If you see that your competitor is getting a lot of traffic from a secondary search engine in addition to Google, it might be good to make note of that in your competitive analysis and consider exploring a PPC advertising or SEO campaign on another search engine.
The Social Networks list estimates how much of your traffic comes from various social media networks. Because social media marketing can be done from so many platforms other than just Facebook and Twitter, this is a great way to gather ideas from your competition’s top social networks.
Social networks that can show up in this report include Tumblr, meo, dribbble, GitHub, Flickr, last.fm, and Reddit.
Please note that each of these tables can be exported to a CSV file with the “Export to CSV” button above the table to the right.