Marketing Strategy August 4, 2020 5 min read

The 4 Key Types Of Real Estate Website Traffic (And Why They Matter)

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It’s a term we often use here at Artifakt Digital: website traffic.

In short, your website traffic is the foundation for everything your site is designed to do. It’s getting leads in through the door so they can be marketed to, nurtured, converted, and closed.

If you don’t have traffic, you may as well not have a website — because it isn’t doing anything for you beyond simply existing.

Today, we want to dive into the point of traffic, the different kinds, and why they matter for different reasons (and which lead to the best, or highest-quality of conversions). So, let’s get into it…

Why Do You Need Real Estate Website Traffic?

Let’s begin with a quick definition: Traffic is the sum total of people who have visited your website.

Traffic grows, it wanes, and it changes with the market.

In fact, during the height of COVID-19, we saw a rapid escalation, decrease, and escalation again in traffic. Typically, it is cyclical, but circumstances can result in volatility.

If you think of your website as a door into your online business, your traffic is every single person who turns the knob and comes in.

Some may stay awhile, others may pick something up and not buy it, and ideally, some will buy something (or take a sample or two).

The potential for action is immense, but traffic is whoever simply pays you a visit.

The 4 Key Types of Traffic

All traffic is not created equal, though, and it’s important to know which ones are tied more directly to conversions and which may need a little bit more time (more of slow-burning traffic, if you will).

For today’s discussion, we’re going to discuss the types of traffic that you don’t necessarily pay for — while you can generate traffic from paid search or display ad campaigns, we’ll focus on those which are more “naturally occurring.”

1. Organic Traffic

Quite possibly the most important source of traffic to your website is organic traffic, which is traffic brought by SEO.

This constitutes traffic that comes in from search engines, like Google or Bing, and is typically a fairly good indication of exactly how well your website is doing on those search platforms.

The data tells the story, though, and that is organic traffic is the best for engagement.

Across the board, users coming in organically:

  • Stay on your site for longer
  • Bounce less
  • Visit more pages

This is true compared to every other source of traffic. Users here are doing their homework on your brand, and the numbers back that up.

The best way to gain more organic traffic is not only to have a proper digital strategy, and SEO foundation, in place, but to be consistently providing your website with content.

If you do that, search engines tend to smile more favorably on your website.

They serve it to more people, which results in even more traffic, and having a large amount of organic traffic typically bleeds into other forms of high-converting traffic (more on that next).

2. Direct Traffic

So, does organic traffic convert the best?

Not necessarily — that designation is better served for what we call direct traffic.

Direct traffic works like this, it is the action of someone physically typing in your website on your browser (this still counts even if it auto-completes your website for them).

The thing is that direct traffic typically won’t be the highest amount of traffic unless you invest far more in print marketing than digital. What it will likely do is convert at a higher rate.

This is informed by the fact that direct users are most often organic visitors returning to your site.

Let’s paint a quick picture to illustrate this more in-depth…

Let’s say a user finds your website from Google about investment properties, they read a blog, they leave. A couple of months later, they type your site back in, notice you posted about investing again, they read it, they leave. A week or so later, they come back, they notice an investment property you’ve listed, they reach out, they convert.

Direct traffic acts with more intent because they are often more familiar with your brand. The same applies if they have received your postcards to their home for months, that first time they manually type in your address, they are acting with the intent that can (and should) be capitalized on by an effective digital lead-capture strategy.

If organic traffic is people window-shopping, or just looking around, direct traffic is more as the name implies: direct.

They want something, they’re coming for it, and if you’re the right fit (and offering the right calls to action and value-add propositions), they will convert.

3. Social Traffic

We spend a lot of time auditing websites for our clients, and one of the biggest red flags we often see is when social traffic trumps both organic and direct traffic.

Why is that the case? While it’s not fair to write off platforms like Facebook and Instagram, because they are phenomenal promotional tools, the traffic numbers just don’t add up to quantifiable ROI.

When compared to organic or direct, social metrics typically pale in comparison to the real estate industry. They are a lot of qualitative benefits, especially for referrals, when it comes to social, but if you intend on using it to drive people to your site to convert, it’s far less likely to happen that way.

Social traffic is better understood as nosy neighbors, tire kickers, or people who may skim your website and simply bounce back to the social media platform of their choice.

Truth be told, it’s just hard to compete with Facebook. Most users will visit your site momentarily and go back to their familiar timelines or newsfeeds.

For agents who spend a lot of time and money on social media, that may be better funnelled into an organic traffic strategy (like blogging), while focusing less on social (but not ignoring it, of course).

4. Referral Traffic

This is the last kind of traffic that we’re going to cover today.

Referral traffic is when a website links back to your website and gets people to visit it in one way or another.

This isn’t typically just your homepage, even though it can be, but often a blog, a listing, or a team member profile.

If your work has been featured in a publication, anyone coming from that publication to your website will be counted as referral traffic. They’re the people who have heard from someone else about your site.

When you look at Google Analytics, you can even see which websites are referring you out, and the results may surprise you. That’s the thing, though, as referral traffic can be a bit of a mixed bag.

This is a traffic segment that is more likely handled on a case-by-case basis. Typically, this is where you’re likely to see a lot of leads get questioned as to how they found your website.

Referral traffic, overall, is great when it becomes direct traffic (because interest transitions into intent), but on its own, it typically presents in high numbers but doesn’t convert the same way.

Taking Advantage Of Traffic

The first thing you need to do is ensure that your website is designed not only to generate traffic, but to do a good job of informing, nurturing, and converting that traffic when the opportunity arises.

That includes things like:

  • Having a fleshed-out strategy
  • An intuitive site architecture
  • Pleasing-to-read content
  • Design to help prop it
  • Optimal functionality

These are all the things we recommend, in addition to others, and all the things that we do when we sit down to strategize each of our clients’ websites.

Once all that’s done, you’re ready to build traffic to your site.

Next comes the tricky part, which is analyzing that traffic and making decisions based on it.

Is it high quality? Low quality? Can you hop on additional search trends that may convert better, these are all the things you need to do. That’s because traffic isn’t static, it is always changing and evolving.

Hopefully, this article gave you a good idea of what kind of traffic to prioritize in your thinking, and how you can go about building your website in a way to benefit your business.


Want to generate more sales by implementing a lead and client nurturing strategy? Download our Lead Nurturing Workbook. It’s a self-guided, interactive workbook where you answer questions about how you attract, handle, and market to your incoming leads, and put together a plan to implement a solid lead nurturing strategy that gets results. And, it’s free to download.
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