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Organic Search Still the Main Driver of Website Traffic

By Christine Hazel 19 Sep 2019
Organic Search Still the Main Driver of Website Traffic

Although zero-click results are on the rise, the latest research from BrightEdge asserts that both paid and organic traffic are valuable to websites than other means (i.e. display ads, social media marketing). According to the study, paid and organic search contributes around 68 per cent of quantifiable website traffic.  

The Growth of Organic Traffic  

In the last 5 years since BrightEdge commenced this study, web traffic generated from organic search has considerably grown. 2014 data shows how organic search contributed 51 per cent to overall web traffic. This number grew to 53 per cent in 2019 while paid search accounted for 15 per cent of total traffic.

Figures were released in May 2019 covering “thousands of domains and tens of billions of sessions.” Direct traffic statistics were excluded from this study.

The research uses key verticals to arrange traffic data. Website in the B2B niche generated larger figures compared to data extracted from the general traffic. BrightEdge noted that 75 per cent of B2B traffic is derived from organic and paid search.

Share of Visits

The retail industry has a more or less even traffic distribution between organic search, paid and other types of traffic. The breakdown is as follows:

(1) Paid and other traffic – 23 per cent of website visits

(2) Organic traffic – 41 per cent of website visits.

The hospitality industry has similar statistics though 31 per cent of traffic comes from neither paid nor organic search.

>> Read about how Google algorithms affect website traffic. <<

Traffic from Social Media

The report is not so keen on traffic generated by social media marketing or networking. Data fell flat at 5 per cent of total web traffic since BrightEdge started their research.

A more effective source of traffic was the use of media and entertainment channels, which influenced 8 per cent of traffic.

BrightEdge also revealed the revenue share of each channel for both general traffic and specific industries. Overall the company says that paid and organic search are responsible for 72 per cent of revenues for B2B and the other verticals. According to BrightEdge, social media’s average contribution is not even 1 per cent of revenue.

Why Is This Study Important?

There are marketers who might dispute some of the social media findings. But assuming the report’s methodology is sound, it strongly affirms the continuing value of organic and paid search. Indeed, the sturdy persistence of organic search, in particular, seems to belie the many structural changes in the SERPs that have occurred over the past several years.


Photo credits: Austin Distel, Unsplash

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