Last week we had a bizzare unexplained traffic spike at a site. Referrals were not up from search engines and most of the unexplained new traffic did not have a referrer. So I assume people were just typing in the url to their browser. There was no new content or promotion activity.
Anyone have an idea on how to track down where that traffic came from? It was a substantial four fold increase over a three day period on a site that has been doing predictable traffic for a year.
No one has mentioned anything in email to the webmaster, but I assume the site must have gotten a reference in a news or magazine story. Very curious.
No referrer usually means (from what I understand) that it was like you say typed in or from a bookmark. Where the person got the URL , if it's word of mouth, no way to know. If it was bookmarked, and the user uses IE5, you could look through your logs for a GET on favico.ico. For the future you could use a tracking URL i.e. [mydomain.com?ref=SEW...] and logs should show them as separate URL calls.
Isn't that weird? A friend of mine had the same thing happen...a sudden and dramatic traffic jump from a magazine article that he didn't even know about. One of his e-mails clued him in because they mentioned "I read about your site in (big national magazine)...". You'd think they'd contact you first or something!
Same thing happend right here yesterday - it jumped to 10k for no apparent reason (2x what we normally do). I haven't tracked it down.
Which brings up an interesting question about refering urls and sites setting behind https or password protected sites. What is the logic on sending or not sending a ref url from those types of pages? Appears IE is actually better at blocking them than some other browsers.