Direct and Referral Website Traffic

When the term direct traffic is used, it refers to the visitors who arrive at a website’s homepage on purpose, rather than those who arrive at the site through a link to a certain news story.

In most cases, direct traffic is measured by looking at the actual HTTP referrer for every page view. When you visit any website page, the browser will record the referrer that delivered you to that particular page. If there is no referrer recorded, then it means you either typed the specific page name or that you visited a bookmark.

What Direct Traffic Means

Since direct traffic refers to the traffic that does not come through any other channel, it means when your direct traffic rating goes up each month, more people know who you are and what you offer by name – this is good!

While direct traffic may not impact your ranking directly, targeted traffic will always contribute in an indirect manner to your rankings due to the social engagement and sharing that this direct traffic brings.

Direct vs. Referral vs. Search Engine Traffic

It is important to understand that there are different types of traffic coming to your website.

Referral traffic is when a visitor clicks a link from another website to land on your website. This can be indicative of success with social media marketing.

Search engine traffic is traffic that comes from visitors who click on links in search engine results pages of any search engine – not just Google. This traffic source is then divided into two more categories:

  • Organic traffic is non paid traffic. This is the traffic coming to your site from organic search engine rankings.
  • Non-organic or paid traffic is the traffic that comes from paid advertisements such as Adwords.

Understanding the difference in the sources of traffic to your website can help you see why it is important to find ways to increase your direct traffic. Direct traffic means that someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer – this is a sign that your marketing efforts are working.

How to Increase Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is one of the hardest types of traffic to increase. This is because a searcher has to know your brand, what you offer and be looking specifically for you. This means that your marketing team has to kick it into high gear in order to ensure the marketing methods are making your exact brand name or URL appealing and searched.

The good news is that Google Analytics makes it easy to track where your traffic is coming from. You can easily see what is working and what is not. For example, if you need more organic traffic, you will know – if your paid ads are not effective – you will know. You will also know how many people are searching for your website and what you have to offer directly. This can be invaluable when it comes to knowing what is working and what does not work.

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