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Organic Search Vs Direct Traffic, What’s The Difference?

Organic Search Vs Direct Traffic

When it comes to marketing, sometimes it can feel like industry experts speak another language! If you’ve ever looked at your Google Analytics or a report from your Edmonton SEO company and wondered what the heck you were reading, you’re not alone – and it’s totally normal.

Traffic sources are one of the key ways to see how well your marketing efforts are working and where people who visit your website come from. There’s actually quite a fine line between some of these traffic sources, including organic search vs direct traffic.

Here’s how you can better read your analytics report and understand how people discover your website and business.

Types of traffic sources

When looking at your traffic sources or acquisitions on Google Analytics, quite a few different categories may appear. Understanding where your traffic comes from helps to focus your marketing tactics. Where is there room for growth? Is there somewhere you’ve been working on, and it’s paying off?

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Here’s a quick overview of the different traffic sources.

  • Direct: These visitors come by typing in the URL of your website directly.
  • Organic: Visitors that search for a keyword on a search engine and then click on your website from the search results page.
  • Paid Search: These visitors also come from the search engine but from search engine marketing campaigns where you pay for a top spot for specific searches.
  • Referral: These visitors find your website by clicking on a link on another website that leads to yours.
  • Social: These visitors come from any social media website, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
  • Email: If you have an email marketing campaign or even a link in your email signature, this accounts for any visitors to your website via email.

Breaking down direct traffic

On the surface, direct traffic seems fairly simple. It’s supposed to indicate anyone who directly types in your URL to get to your website. Alternatively, they have your website bookmarked and arrive through there.

However, analytics may report direct traffic higher than it actually is. There’s a good chance that a lot of that traffic is either organic or referral traffic. If a browser cannot find the traffic source, they assume that someone must have directly typed in your URL. In their eyes, they don’t see how else you could have gotten there!

Note: Some direct traffic can also come from you or your team members visiting your website! This is pretty common! For example, new team members may rely on it heavily if you’ve got lots of informative content. 

Fixing incorrect direct traffic

The reality is that a browser may not always report a website visitor’s information. If you have an unsecured site (an HTTP rather than HTTPS in front of your URL), any referrals from a secure site won’t get reported correctly.

It could also be because you have bad redirects on your webpage or haven’t correctly set up the tracking on your own website. Luckily, setting up a secure site and working on your tracking is easy to do.

And sometimes, it’s simply out of your control. Many mobile apps, desktop software, and email providers like Outlook won’t report their information for referrals.

Breaking down organic traffic

When you look at your organic traffic, rest assured that this number tells the truth. Organic traffic accounts for any traffic from search engines to your website without using paid advertising.

The higher you rank on search pages, the more organic traffic you’ll see. Only a staggering 0.63% of people searching on Google flip to the second page of results and click on a link. The number one spot has the highest organic click-through rate of 27.6%.

Many businesses focus their marketing attention on improving and maintaining organic search. When you have lots of organic traffic, you consistently reach new audiences and have a wide digital presence to drive people to your website.

You can rank higher by optimizing your site and producing content with the right keywords. This is why so many people hire an Edmonton SEO company to improve their rankings on search engines. SEO is a fine art!

Connect with Get Social YEG!

Want to learn more about what we do? Need help deciphering your Google Analytics reports? No problem! We can help.

In a nutshell, we’re an SEO agency in Edmonton. We help our clients organically grow their online presence using the power of social media and a highly targeted content strategy.

We love to talk – reach out to our team today!

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Get Social YEG


Get Social YEG