Organic Traffic vs Direct Traffic: Know The Difference!

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Organic Traffic vs Direct Traffic: Know The Difference!

Are you getting massive traffic on your website but need to find out what your organic traffic looks like? Fear not. We are here to perform a digital showdown of finding the difference between organic and search traffic. 

As a marketer or SEO professional, you are responsible for understanding the different types of traffic coming to your website. It helps you identify how your audience engages and reaches your content. 

Organic traffic vs. direct traffic does not just merely depend upon receiving traffic from a known source, while the other comes randomly. At the same time, there is more in-depth of how these two differ and how you can categorize them on your website. So, let’s find out the key difference between direct vs. organic traffic and why they are crucial for your website’s SEO!

What Are the Different Sources of Traffic Coming to Your Website?

Before diving into the ocean of organic vs. direct traffic, you must let your eyes seek information about different website traffic sources. Understanding these various types would help you in analyzing and tracking your website’s performance and removing the factors that hinder it. 

1. Organic Traffic

This term indicates that your traffic is naturally coming from search engines without using paid methods. This could happen because of your website’s higher rankings and compelling content that entices the audience to click on your website. 

2. Direct Traffic 

This kind of traffic is considered as traffic coming from an unknown source without a referred website. 

3. Paid Search Traffic 

As the name suggests, paid search traffic is the traffic coming as a result of your paid marketing efforts on various search engines. It can be acquired through PPC ads or other paid marketing methods. 

4. Email Traffic

If you’re promoting your products or services through emails and attaching CTAs in your emails, then traffic coming from your email marketing campaigns is referred to as email traffic. 

5. Social Traffic

Traffic coming from your social media profiles as a result of social media marketing efforts is known as social traffic. This kind of traffic could come from any social media site such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, or Twitter. 

6. Referral Traffic

When traffic comes to your website through third-party websites other than search engines and social media is directed as Referral traffic. This type of traffic could result from your backlinks or other referral programs. 

So, Now you’ve seen how each kind of traffic differs from each other based on their source. But we need to know more about two major traffic sources: organic traffic vs direct traffic. Let’s find out what each entails. 

What Is Organic Traffic?

We have already discussed the basic definition of organic traffic above that organic traffic is any traffic that is directed to your website through various search engines, including Google, Bing, etc. Organic traffic is one of the most significant forms of traffic that comes naturally to your website without any paid advertising methods. However, organic traffic is not the only kind of unpaid traffic; it holds a greater value than many other sources. 

Let’s take it like this: You’ve entered a search query in search engines and got a list of relevant results. Let’s say our website comes on second on your result page, and you deliberately click on it to find out more information about your query. This action means that the traffic we get because of your click is referred to as organic traffic. 

What Drives Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic can be categorized into two forms: organic search traffic and organic social traffic. Organic social traffic is driven by postings on your social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. When you post unique and engaging content on your social media profiles showcasing your products and services, users click on the link attached to your posts to visit your website. It helps in getting organic traffic without using any paid methods. 

On the other hand, organic search traffic is the result of your overall SEO efforts. It means that when your website boasts higher rankings and engaging content, users will click on your website by finding them in search engine result pages. This kind of traffic is unpaid and organic for your website. 

Why Is Organic Traffic Important?

With more than half of the website’s traffic coming from organic search, it’s important to put efforts into boosting your website’s SEO to increase your overall website’s traffic and rankings. Since organic traffic is a result of unpaid marketing, it is likelier that the users coming to your websites through organic search are more intended to perform a conversion.

Organic search traffic indicates that your website is ranking higher in search engines, and your content compels users to visit your website. Low organic search traffic means that your website isn’t performing well on search engines, and you need to fix issues to increase your relevancy and rankings.  

In fact, famous digital marketer Neil Patel once said, “Organic search can generate more – and more valuable – clicks than paid search.” This means that organic traffic is crucial for boosting your website’s engagements and conversion rates. 

What Is Direct Traffic?

When your visitor comes to your website without using a referred website such as a search engine or social links, this kind of traffic is measured as direct traffic. Most of the time, browsers don’t inform where your user is coming from, and if your analytics tool cannot catch the visitor source, it will add to your organic traffic.

Typically, direct traffic could be sourced by entering your website’s URL in a browser or clicking on a bookmarked link. However, there are many other reasons that cause direct traffic. But it is important to keep in mind that healthy direct traffic must be around 20%. 

What Causes Direct Traffic? 

Do you know that 60% of website traffic considered direct is organic? This means that many marketers struggle to find the accurate percentage or the cause of direct traffic coming to their websites. Therefore, we have curated some of the primary reasons your website might be facing substantial direct traffic. 

1. Poor Redirects

Redirects help in directing your users from an old page to a new one, but these could become a problem in analyzing your direct traffic if not done right. When your website possesses bad redirect links, it will become hard for you to differentiate between direct and organic traffic. Since these bad redirect links remove your UTM parameters, it causes organic traffic look direct. You must ensure proper redirects on your website to avoid confusion between direct and organic traffic. 

2. No Proper Tracking Codes

Another reason why your direct traffic is assessed properly is the poor implementation of tracking codes. It happens when you forget or mislabel tracking codes on your newly developed landing pages. That’s why when a visitor to your website accesses another landing page that is not implicated by a tracking code, Google Analytics will count it as direct traffic. You can eradicate this issue by adequately configuring tracking codes on each website page. 

3. Using HTTP Website

If your website is not secured, meaning that you are still using the HTTP website structure, then you will not be able to see the visitors sourced from secured HTTPS websites. A security protocol causes it and can be fixed by getting an SSL certificate to secure our website. After this, you will be able to track the visitors coming from HTTPS websites like yours. 

4. External Traffic Sources

Some other external traffic sources, such as mobile apps, emails, and desktop programs, could also be the reason behind your mislabeled website traffic. These sources do not pass referral information while accessing your website by users and ultimately increase the direct traffic rate on a website. However, there is no definite cure for this problem, but you can still analyze your traffic spike after an email campaign or by integrating a new CTA in your mobile app. 

5. Employees and Customer Logins

If your employees and customers bookmark your website to access it while logging in to their accounts frequently, it can increase direct traffic. You need to filter out your employee IP addresses and can also customize your view analytics information to exclude this traffic. 

Does Direct Traffic Affect SEO?

According to SEMrush, out of all the other ranking factors, direct traffic is also essential to build your website’s authority. When users visit your website directly, it signals search engines that your website is credible and possesses a high-domain authority. 

However, it does not impact your overall search engine rankings since direct traffic is hard to track. But it may help your website in building a stronger position on Google and other search engines. 

Organic Traffic vs. Direct Traffic: What’s the Difference?

As we have understood the context behind both organic and direct traffic, It is simple to say that organic traffic means that your website is well-positioned on the search engines and entices customers to click. Direct traffic could be the reason for any of the issues that we have discussed above in this blog, or it may be because of your strong brand image. 

Whatever the difference may be you must ensure to make your website free from any internal errors and optimize it through various SEO strategies. It would help you drive more targeted traffic to your website and improve overall website rankings. 

Final Words:

In a nutshell, the difference between organic traffic and direct traffic has nothing to do with your website’s performance. In fact, the more website traffic you are getting, the better the chances are for sales and conversions. However, they do matter when tracking your website’s KPIs. 

So, if you have any queries related to website traffic and how you can improve it through SEO, you can reach out to us. We will be pleased to hear from you.


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