Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Experiment Shows Up To 60% Of “Direct” Traffic Is Actually Organic Search

In the chart below, the orange line shows hour-by-hour sessions from Direct and Organic during the test period for long URLs. The purple line represents the control sample — it is recorded traffic for the same time period on the same day in the prior week for the same URLs.
I’ve hidden the actual numbers in the left hand axis, but you can see that traffic attributable to SEO efforts drops to near zero from about 13:00 to 16:00. At the same time, Direct visits fell 60%.

Variance by browser type is significant. Desktop browsers generally report their Organic search referrals better, except for IE where about 75% of Direct traffic from IE to long URLs is actually attributable to Organic search from Google. (We have not risked de-indexing ourselves from Bing in the name of SEO science, yet).
About 10-20% of Firefox, Chrome and Safari desktop traffic reported as Direct is actually Organic. In general, mobile browsers are less likely to report their referrals from Organic search accurately. The chart below shows traffic from mobile only — and the drop in Direct traffic during the test period is about 50%.
The one exception seen to our rule — that 60% of Direct traffic to “long” URLs is really Organic — was on our deal pages. Groupon deal page URLs are typically long enough that a user is unlikely to key them in manually, and they are new enough (and expire quickly enough) that users are unlikely to have them bookmarked or remembered in their browser auto-complete, so one might think we’d see the same effect.
In the chart below, we see Organic and Direct traffic comparisons for our deal pages only. As you can see, there is no significant drop in Direct for these pages.


Top 5 Reasons to Go Organic

  1. Natural Listing Get More traffic then Paid Sponsored Listings. 
    Eyetools, Enquiro, and Did-it uncovered that being number 6 in the Google organic search results will bring you the same number of clicks as being in first position in the paid search results, and far more than from the second, third and lower sponsored listings.
  2. Organic Search Visitors Convert Nearly 30% Higher Than Paid Search visitors.
    Users tend trust organic search engine results to be more relevant to the information they are seeking, and rightfully so. Statistics show that searchers are more likely to click on a natural SEO result vs. paid sponsored link. 
  3. Organic Search Engine Optimizations delivers High ROI
    Today’s online businesses are more ROI accountable. One cost-effective way to boost ROI is through organic search-engine optimization. Jupiter Research study found that companies who run both SEO and PPC campaigns show a significantly higher ROI with natural search engine optimization.
  4. Rent vs. Own website traffic.
    Investing in quality content and search-engine-friendly architecture is like investing in your own home. This investment can generate free traffic for life, while paying search engines and advertising networks per click (PPC) is like paying rent, it will eventually break your bank.
  5. No Click Fraud
    Organic Search Engine Listings are not susceptible to click fraud.
    PayPerClick listings are highly susceptible to click fraud which could be a real threat to your business. However organic listings are risk free.