Daily-deal website Groupon recently de-indexed itself from Google for six hours in order to determine how many of its website visitors were direct traffic and how many were coming from organic search results. The company already had such data, but suspected that the data was inaccurate. This experiment provided Groupon with a clear answer.

Cutting to the chase, it turned out that 60 percent of the traffic they thought was direct was actually sent to Groupon via organic search. You can read all the details in this post written by Groupon’s organic search guru, Gene McKenna.

The upshot is that in response to Groupon’s experiment, digital marketing and web solutions company Conductor updated a study it had undertaken, one that analyzed 310 million individual website visits in order to help its clients understand their website traffic sources.

Where does website traffic come from?

Conductor Website Traffic Study: Post-Groupon Results

As can be seen in the graphic, and based on data from Groupon’s experience, Conductor modified its web visitation pie chart, increasing Organic Search as a source of inbound traffic from 47 percent to 64 percent, and shrinking Direct Visits from 29 percent to 12 percent.

If that’s not shocking enough, take a look at how much inbound traffic is sourced from Social platforms: a whopping 2 percent. That’s essentially nothing, and it aligns with what we hear from clients who spend lots of time and lots of money trying to crack the social media code, only to see few fans and followers converting into buying customers. Right now, today, for many companies, social platforms are more about expanding brand awareness and showcasing expertise, and less about actually selling things.

In any case, Search Engine Watch contributor Ashley Zeckman had this to say about Conductor’s revised research, the importance of organic search traffic, and how to acquire it:

  1. Create Quality Content
  2. Optimize Your Content
  3. Play Nice with Search Engines

That is all for now. Have a terrific weekend everyone! — Christian Wardlaw