Organic And Direct Traffic: Not The Same Side Nor The Same Coin

Website Design and Development

Website design and development is key to business success in the 21st century. It’s all about web presence. You’ve most likely heard the terms “direct” traffic and “organic” (no, not the vegetable kind) web traffic. The simplified definition of each is that direct traffic refers to visitors entering in your company’s URL directly (thus the name) and organic traffic refers to search engine visits. There are complexities and other differences that are important to understand for today’s web developers and entrepreneurs. We’ll look at some of these below.

Web analytic platforms use a particular calculus (no, not the difficult branch of mathematics) to determine sources of traffic for websites. Here are some terms and what they mean.

  • Organic traffic. This is traffic that is “earned,” as it were, not paid for.
  • Direct traffic. This is traffic that is entering a URL directly and not referred from another website.
  • Paid traffic. As the name suggests, this is traffic resulting from the paid advertising of companies, such as Google AdWords among others.
  • Email traffic. This is traffic from email marketing.
  • Social media traffic. Of course, this is traffic directed from social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Referral traffic. This is traffic that is “referred” to a visitor outside of one of the major search engines.

Some stats: Fifty-one (51) percent of all website traffic is organically searched. Ten (10) percent is from paid traffic and 5 percent comes from social media traffic. The remaining 34 percent comes from all other sources.

Let’s examine direct traffic and organic traffic further.

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic often comes from employees of the company for whom entering in their company’s website (usually bookmarked, we presume) is all part of a day’s work. Customers of a company are also culprits of direct traffic due to return business. They do not need to look up company B when they regularly get their widgets from company A. Then there is word of mouth directed traffic. A web browser (a person, not a thing) has heard about a company’s website and decides to enter into their browser (the thing, not the person). They do not need to look for it through a search engine results because they remember the URL.

Organic Traffic

Organic search traffic is defined by those who explore by means of a search engine such as Bing or Google. Inbound marketers want to increase organic searches, which can affect a company’s website design and development. Organic traffic excludes traffic from paid advertising, but that is not to say that there is not an impact.

Today, we are conditioned to say or respond to “Google it.” When we do this, the ads are displayed first, and this has somewhat of a subliminal effect if you will. The big name search engines have gained users’ trust and therefore a paid ad at the top can influence the web user whether they click on that link or not. On a later search or later on in an initial search a web user may click on a website for which there was an ad even though they passed up the ad. Organic search rankings are often spurred by those who have been taught to scroll down past the ads, which are marked with the small box with “ad” stamped inside.

Organic traffic owes a debt of gratitude to SEO keywords as a primary source. Good use of SEO keywords compete well and increase a website’s ranking, which will garner more organic traffic. Entrepreneurs, marketers and those creating a new website do well to implement best practices based on knowledge of web traffic sources to succeed in their website design and development goals.

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