Monday, August 29, 2011

Understanding Stats Part 1: Direct, Referral, and Organic.

Before I delve into this week's articles on Facebook fan pages and Twitter I need to explain a few concepts. These concepts are repeated over and over again from Etsy Stats to Google Analytics. These are Direct traffic, Referring Sites and Organic Searches. We'll use Google's definitions as a base.

Direct traffic is defined as having no referring site, meaning there is no way to track where that traffic came from. Someone might be going to your page through a bookmark or favorite set within their browser. They may also have typed the address into their address bar in their browser. They could have also clicked on a link from their email that did not have a reference tag set in it. Or it could be a link from a PDF or Word Document. Basically it means that for one reason or another there is not a way to track where that person came from.

A referring site is when someone clicks on a link from a website. If you were to put a link to your Etsy shop on your Facebook page and someone clicked on it that would show up as Facebook being a referral. The same thing applies when someone clicks on a Twitter link or a link in a blog. If it can be traced to a site it will fall under a referring site. These are generally static links and are sometimes called backlinks. They really help with your SEO and Google Ranking.

Organic is when someone finds you without an ad or a link to your site from another site. Most of the time it is when someone finds you by typing words into a search engine and your site comes up as one of the results. This is the best kind of traffic to have. It means that someone was looking for something you have and they found you. The more relevant your site or shop or page is the better chance you will be found through organic means.

Having your Facebook fan page and Twitter handle found through organic means is one of the best things you can have. It is quite difficult to be found this way because so few people utilize the search features in Facebook and Twitter. Most all of your fans and followers will be ones who were referred to you. For the next few articles I will go into more detail about how to get more fans to your Facebook page and what kinds of fans are the best to have. If you have questions you'd like answered please leave them in the comments so I can address them. (If you are reading this in your email rather than on the blog please feel free to email me your questions at )


  1. I started my FB page as a way to stay in touch with friends and family. I do not want my friends and family to have to deal with any Etsy posts so I started a separate page for Etsy ( Is this what you are calling Fan Page?

  2. Great info, thank you!

    Please help me know what the 'Other' traffic source is... it looks like approx 17% of my monthly traffic falls in that 'Other' category.

    Thanks so much in advance.

  3. Hi Eric! Is my ordinary Facebook page enough, or do I have to have a separate Fan Page? If so, how do I do it, and link it to both my Etsy shop and my blogger blog?

    Unless, of course, this is covered in your next post?

    Looking forward to the next post.

  4. Love reading your blog. You are doing a great job!

  5. Anonymous, If that is your real name, Yes, that is a fan page. You are on the right track.

    Lori, I believe "other" is from anywhere other than Etsy or Google. That can include places like BingYahoo, Other search engines and directories.

    Isobel, Linking is just that. Add links to all your web presence to all your other web presence. I will be getting more into that probably next week here.

  6. I really love your blog, and I'm posting all your marketing info on my blog as well (of course it links back here.)
    I really appreciate all the work you've done as a writer here.

    I understand the stat's, no problem. And the difference between hit/pageviews etc. What I need help with is setting up the notifications of actions being taken on the website. For instance, the difference between "Placing in Cart" and "check out" I'd like to know how many sales we are loosing due to 1. inactivity, non-enganging, etc.
    Can you Help with that?

  7. elaine o, Are you copy-pasting all the info from my blog? That creates duplicate content and it isn't very helpful. Now if you are just posting a link back over here that is great. Duplicate info causes Google to kill your page rankings. Plus there are some copyright issues to continue.

    I am not sure what you are asking about carts and checkout. Are you asking if there is a way to see if people place an item in their cart but never check out? I do not think any analytics will do that for you. Most shopping carts are a script and it would be difficult to pull that type of info.