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The journey matters: how to drive more conversions by tracking where your site visitors come from

Understanding where your site’s traffic is coming from can help you optimise pages, attract more visitors and drive conversions.

When it comes to site traffic, your visitors’ journeys are just as important as their destinations. 

It’s great getting new visitors to your site. However, if you don’t understand how and why they got there, you’re missing half of the picture. Understanding your visitors’ journeys will help you optimise your site’s pages, attract more visitors and drive conversions. 

Here’s an example.

Imagine your website has a blog section with articles like the one you’re reading now.

One of the articles on your blog is titled How to use GA4 to tell what your audience is interested in.

In the last month, 500 people visited that page. But how did they get there? 

You need to look at the page’s channel breakdown:

  • Direct: These visitors arrived at your page by entering the URL directly into their browser.
  • Email: These visitors arrived at your page through a link in an email.
  • Referrals: These visitors arrived via another site.
  • Social: These visitors arrived via social media.
  • Organic search: These visitors arrived via a search engine. 
  • Paid search: These visitors arrived via a promoted search engine result.
  • Display ads: These visitors arrived via a display ad on another site.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say that 10% of your article’s 500 visitors arrived from social, 20% from email, and 70% from organic search. 

What does this channel breakdown tell us? 

The majority of the article’s traffic is coming from organic search. Organic search often indicates high intent

That means that these users went to a search engine to ask a specific question which your article answered. In other cases, high organic search traffic might also indicate that visitors are looking for a specific product or service promoted on your page.

How can you use this information?

You can use it to maximise the potential of each part of your site.

Now that you know your article is attracting organic search traffic, you can drive more traffic to the page by editing the article to include other similar search queries that you want to rank for.

Next, you can consider how the high intent of the article’s audience can be leveraged with an appropriate call to action. In the case of an informational article like this one, that CTA might be an email newsletter sign-up. 

By understanding where your audience is coming from, you can target them with the most appropriate next step on their journey to a conversion. 

Remember: the path to conversions is rarely linear.

Someone might search the answer to a specific question, end up on an article on your site, sign up to a newsletter at the bottom of the article, receive your newsletter for several months (and ignore it) until they see one newsletter topic that’s highly relevant to their business, and then reach out to you for your services. 

If you hadn’t explored the journey they took to reach your article in the first place, you would have missed out on an opportunity to turn them into a client down the road. 

If lots of your visitors are arriving from social media, you might investigate and find that one of your posts was shared by someone who can drive more traffic to you in the future, perhaps as part of a partnership.

If you have a video on your site that gets lots of visitors from social media whenever it’s posted but has surprisingly low organic search traffic, you could add a transcript so that the page ranks for more specific search queries answered in the video. 

When you understand the journey your visitors took to reach your site, you can begin to build a picture of what your audience wants, instead of focusing on what you want from your audience. It’s short-term vs long-term thinking, and it pays off. 

You can find a page’s channel breakdown using analytics platforms (like GA4). If you need help, reach out at [email protected]

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Got any questions? Email me at [email protected].

Abby Webb

Abby Webb

Head of Search & Content

Abby heads up our SEO and content campaigns, with a strong background in copywriting, content and paid search marketing.

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