The Difference Between Incidental and Intentional Website Traffic

There are a lot of tips and tricks out there for bloggers and website creators to garner or and capture traffic. This is mostly done through SEO tactics, social media and other methods you can use to just put a link in front of people.

But what if all that is misplaced effort? Certainly it’s not all a waste of time, as technical mediums are perfectly acceptable ways of getting the word out.

Yet we’re focusing so much on these mediums to generate traffic that a lot of the organic website marketing methods are lost on us. We don’t really know anymore why a user actually visits a website, while at the same time we know that it takes more than just a link being thrown in front of them.

This isn’t even an issue of content, since Google has made it quite clear in recent years that if you want to rank, you’ve got to have something substantial to say; otherwise, you’re wasting your own time and the time of anyone who happens upon your site.

So let’s just assume that your site does have great content. We’ll also assume that it’s young and that you’re trying to figure out how to “encourage” some traffic in your direction.

You’ll probably read a lot about SEO and social media (you might even pay someone for help in this area) and your results will be marginal at best. Why? Because those aren’t the true reasons that a website gets traffic.

Two Different Kinds of Traffic

Different Kinds of Traffic

To be sure, you’ll get some form of traffic to your page with increased regularity, and when you do, it’s a good idea to try and break that traffic up into two different categories:

  • 1. Incidental
  • 2. Intentional

When you employ a lot of bizarre SEO tactics and submit all kinds of stuff to your Twitter feed and StumbleUpon, you’ll end up with a lot of incidental traffic, or basically, people who just happen to come across your site. Most of the time this kind of traffic would have to be considered low quality.

The reason being is that these people might have at best, a passing curiosity about your subject matter. Most of the time, they’ve gotten to your website by accident, while looking for something else.

Now in Google analytics that still shows up as a page view and a unique visitor; yet it might as well not even be counted, because these people had no real interest in your site and no real intention of sticking around to see what you’re all about.

Now intentional traffic on the other hand refers to people who are looking intently for what your site has to offer and they seek your site out based on those merits.

They might do so accidentally, but this most often occurs when people know what your site offers ahead of time. You might say, “But isn’t the only way for them to know about it by way of social media and SEO?” Well, it’s one way, but it’s definitely not the only way.

We want to get intentional traffic because those users will stick around, engage with our content and establish a familiarity and relationship with our site.

How do we get that kind of traffic? To figure that out, we need to look at what motivates an intentional visitor.

Motivation Factors of an Intentional Website Visitor

So we’re trying to attract people who are intentionally looking for either our site, or the type of information that our site offers. Why might this type of person visit our site?

Here are a few of the primary reasons and they have nothing to do with our social media strategy.

1. They’re looking for something genuine

People can smell garbage a mile away online and it’s no secret that the internet is filled with content that has been quickly put together and is worth little or nothing to the reader.

Internet users want something different than that and they want it in the form of someone who is genuinely being themselves and producing something worthwhile.

If you can be that person, you’ve got the most powerful traffic-driving tool that there is.

2. They’ve heard about the credibility of a site via word of mouth

Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool out there. For years before the internet ever existed, people and organizations gained popularity by word of mouth, simply because of their notoriety.

If your product or content is good and genuine, you won’t need to do a lot of marketing to get the ball rolling. Just a nudge is going to be enough.

Once you’ve given that nudge, let other people do the work for you, because nothing gets someone to your site like a recommendation from a friend in the form of, “Hey, you should really check this website out. It’s great!”

3. They perceive that a website is offering better information or information with greater depth and reliability

We all know that there is a lot of material online, but a lot of it doesn’t meet a high standard of quality. For some reason, the internet seems to be a place that invites cutting corners and half-hearted contribution.

When people see that a website is offering something better and more in-depth than that, they’ll jump at the chance to engage with that website and to tell their friends about it.

It’s the only real reason anybody goes to any website; because they need something. Whether it is information, entertainment or help of some sorts, people will gravitate to a site that delivers those things in a more full and complete way, especially since there are so many websites that don’t.

How do we get this kind of traffic?

How-ToThe more of this kind of traffic you get, the less you need to worry about traffic generating tactics. But how do we get there?

It should be noted up front, that even with great content, this process does take time; a lot of time. While there’s nothing wrong with using social media and SEO to push things in the right direction, you still need to have a tremendous amount of patience before you see a lot of real and intentional traffic to your website.

For that to happen, your reputation needs to proceed you, and while you’re being patient and putting in the time, here are a few things you can do to make sure that time will work in your favor.

1. Create and present a collection of valuable information

Envisioning this as a blogger is easier than if you run a different type of website, but it should still be your goal no matter what kind of website you run. The more information you can collect into one place and make easily accessible, the more your website will be trusted to deliver answers on a given topic.

2. Gain credibility with those in your niche

The more you’re able to cultivate relationships and build alliances with others in your niche, the better off you’ll be in terms of notoriety and credibility. When your material starts to gain notice, you’ll want people who will be willing to vouch for you and your hard work. Make sure that the people in your same field of expertise are willing to do so.

3. Talk to people about the goals of your website and why you’re excited about it

The more you talk up your own site, the more those around you will be willing to spread the word and refer other people to it. You don’t want to be annoying, but when you do talk about it, be confident and excited about what you’re doing. Most good friends and family will take interest in it from the outset, and if your content delivers, news will definitely spread on its own.

The Reward of Real Traffic

This kind of traffic is far more valuable than what you’ll get from spamming your Twitter account with links or hoping that someone will click on your link from some other social media site. Real traffic will find its way through these mediums on its own and will be far more valuable than trying to get things to happen the other way around.

Make sure you’re doing everything you can to generate intentional traffic first. If you can do that, everything else will fall into place in due time.

9 thoughts on “The Difference Between Incidental and Intentional Website Traffic”

  1. I completely agree about the intentional traffic. It is easy for people to put their website on stumbleupon and others to receive hundreds of new people daily, but they will not interact with the rest of your site. Neither will they remember the name of your site once they bounce.

    This kind of traffic is pretty useless and I really can’t see why people try so hard to get as much of this traffic as possible. It is a waste of time.

    Writing great content, getting people excited about the site and connecting with other people within the niche is the only way and really always has been. Everything else are just little fads that come and go.

  2. Coming across to such a good article after a long time. We all understand that building reputation for a blog is really difficult. Intentional traffic will always be better that incidental but getting it is not really easy. Understanding topics that make interest and creating good content as well as working on to build audience is really challenging. The tips here will surely help understanding the very basic of successful blogging.

  3. Intentional traffic is the best source that determines where your website/blog stands. if your 80 percent + traffic is from the search engines , then you know that your website , blog is doing really well .


  4. Very good article but it fails to point out that there are many ways to get targeted traffic and that targeted traffic and even better is highly targeted traffic. Some tried and true methods in general are:

    Some Proven & Time Tested Methods

    · Article Marketing
    · List Building
    · Email Marketing
    · Forum Marketing
    · Answer Sites
    · Blog Commenting
    · Give Aways
    · Viral Marketing
    · PPC ( Pay Per Click )
    · SEO

  5. traffic is must be very important for your blog/ website.. its definitely decide where your blog will be stopped.. so i think that you may as much as share your blog or website it might be helping to got traffic…

  6. Paul Demmionent

    Thanks, I’ve been trying to explain why it’s important to my clients that targeted traffic is so much more important. They see high figures and they love it, but what they need is targeted!

  7. Sometimes people doesn’t care about traffic, they think that if I get my website or blog well projected then people’ll appreciate it and traffic’ll grown by itself. Sadly the truth is that the more money you spend for SEO etc. the more your site looks professional.

  8. hay,
    Intentional traffic is the best source that determines where your website/blog stands. if your 80 percent + traffic is from the search engines , then you know that your website , blog is doing really well .


  9. Dear i was in search of this type of topic that what to do with the traffic which have no concern with our website and just here to just increase theri own traffic you follow them and they follow you i think that the user we need will come only through the good content writting.

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