For many inbound marketers, search and search engine optimization is Holy Grail of marketing.

Google is their most significant traffic referrer, so they focus on showing up in search results pages at the exclusion of almost everything else.

Search is as important a marketing channel as ever, but data we recently collected at HubSpot show that it's not quite the Holy Grail.

In fact, if you care about converting your traffic into leads and salessocial media and blogs may be even more important than search.

The chart below compares traffic and leads by referral source for a sample of 40 HubSpot customers in four industries. In this unscientific survey, traffic that converted to leads came from a far broader range of sources than all traffic, which search dominated more.

Traffic and Leads by Referrer

The left bar for each set shows the percentage of visitors coming to a site from different referral sources. The right bar in each set shows the percentage of leads from each referrer. 

The "Other" category includes links from other websites, directories, etc. that don't fall into the listed categories. For example, some companies in the analysis generated lots of traffic and leads from links to their sites from large partner companies.

Other companies in the analysis were written up on popular media sites such as TechCrunch, generating a large amount of traffic and leads. Twitter.Grader.com and Website.Grader.com make up a large percentage of HubSpot's other category.   

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Originally published Sep 15, 2009 8:15:00 AM, updated October 01 2019

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SEO