Organic vs Direct Traffic: What Is the Difference?

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When it comes to gaining traction online, you might center a large portion of your digital marketing strategy around attracting organic and direct traffic to your website. After all, you want to draw in quality leads that will turn into paying customers.

But, before you go too far down the digital marketing rabbit hole, you might be wondering: what is the difference between organic vs direct traffic in the first place? As a matter of fact, what does organic and direct traffic even mean?

Luckily for you, this all-inclusive guide will give you the full run-down on these super important digital marketing terms. Keep reading to discover the key differences between organic and direct traffic, and learn how each one can benefit your online endeavors.

Organic vs Direct Traffic: Why You Should Know the Difference

First and foremost, it is important to understand the difference between organic and direct traffic. It will help you learn HOW your leads are getting to your site and discover BY WHICH MEANS they are coming in.

This is extremely valuable information because it will show you which avenues are the most used by people to enter your site and why they chose to interact with your brand in the first place.

Gain a Solid Feel For Your Audiencebuyer persona organic and direct traffic

With that being said, when you have a better understanding of your online traffic as a whole, you will be able to actively search for new, stronger ways to target and reach your audience. Then, you can give them exactly what they are looking for and seamlessly direct them in the right direction.

At the end of the day, all of this new knowledge will help you fortify your overall digital marketing strategy. Here’s how.

Improve Your Online Marketing Strategy

When you know how and why people are landing on your website, it makes it a whole lot easier to acknowledge their needs. Then you can present them with easier ways to find the information they are searching for.

In other words, you can fill in any gaps in your current digital marketing strategy that are potentially blocking traffic from entering and staying on your website. This could be a huge win-win situation for both you and your audience!

Now that you realize WHY you should know the difference between these two types of online traffic, let’s dig a little deeper into the meaning of each one. For starters, let’s take a look at organic traffic.

What is Organic Traffic?

In the simplest terms possible, organic traffic refers to visitors that land on your website without being paid for. In essence, they came to your site naturally and are essentially free.

So, how does organic traffic happen? It all has to do with inbound marketing.

Organic Traffic Explained: How It Works

Think SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is one of many very powerful inbound marketing tools used by digital marketers to harness the capability of search engines like Google to organically reach their audience.

organic traffic seo

You can do this by pinpointing strategic keywords that are picked up by search engine bots and ultimately help rank your content online. Once the content, such as a blog or YouTube video, is ranked high on the search engine, visitors that search for the keywords you targeted will organically find your website.

Internal or external links to your website that are posted on other pages or websites can also lead to organic traffic through a means called referred traffic or a referral URL. Next thing you know, your site will be generating free traffic, and the overall awareness and credibility of your website will increase as well!

Now, let’s discuss direct traffic.

What is Direct Traffic?

When a visitor clicks on a direct link to your website or types in your website’s URL in their browser’s address bar, this is referred to as direct traffic. In other words, they DO NOT reach your website through a referral URL.

Direct Traffic Explained: How It Worksemail direct traffic

Direct traffic is pretty straightforward and can occur in a number of ways. For instance, if you send a direct link to your website via SMS or email, and an interesting lead clicks on the web link, they would be considered direct traffic.

Furthermore, if a visitor hand-types your website’s URL and clicks “enter,” they will be led directly to your website and would thus be considered direct traffic. A direct source could also access your website by clicking on a bookmark in their browser.

3 Key Differences Between Organic and Direct Traffic

When it comes to the world of online traffic, you can take advantage of knowing whether your website generates more organic vs direct traffic. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the key differences between the two.

1. Organic Visitors Use Referral Links to Land On Your Site

This is probably one of the biggest differences between these two types of traffic. Here’s why.

Referral URLs are a huge determining factor when it comes to a website’s organic ranking. In fact, without referral URLs pushing traffic to your site, search engines like Google and Yahoo might not see your site as a credible and trustworthy place to send its users. This leads to a lower ranking and less organic traffic.

On the contrary, direct links do not require referrals and, therefore, direct traffic will often remain more constant.

2. Direct Visitors Directly Search Your Website’s URL

As stated before, direct traffic will usually type in your website’s URL directly into the browser in order to find your site.

Unlike organic traffic that requires a search engine to pop the link in front of their screens as a result of a searched inquiry or keyword, direct traffic most likely already know about your brand or website and search for you upfront.

3. Organic Traffic Requires an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Since organic traffic revolves around inbound marketing tools like SEO, content creation, and highly-ranked blog writing, a strong inbound marketing strategy is usually a necessity to see success.

seo organic traffic

This is because inbound marketing uses many “pull” tactics that organically draw in visitors to your site.

For instance, an inbound marketing strategy may include:

  • Content marketing campaigns
  • Social media campaigns
  • Blogs
  • Videos/YouTube
  • SEO

Once an effective inbound marketing strategy is put into place, your website will slowly grow traction and begin to draw in more organic traffic.

Organic vs Direct Traffic: Which is Better?

If you receive a lot of organic traffic, then that means your digital strategy tailors well to search engines. Your content rankings are high and people are quickly referred to your website because it is credible and helpful.

On the other hand, if you receive more direct traffic than organic, it might mean that you have a strong presence in your industry and people directly search for your website on their browser because you are well-known and reputable. This could be a great sign that you have a lot of brand-loyal visitors!

In both cases, these are positive. However, here’s something to consider:

Without organic traffic, your website will have to rely solely on direct traffic to see success. This doesn’t necessarily mean organic traffic is better. It just means you might want to consider adding inbound marketing tactics to your digital marketing strategy so you can leverage the positive benefits associated with organic traffic!

Generate More Online Traffic with Chatter Buzz Media

As you can see, there is a lot to learn about the type of traffic you attract to your website. The more you know about your audience, the better you can target and reach them… and ultimately turn them into paying customers!

Want to know how you can gain even more traction online and attract more organic traffic to your site? Consider onboarding an award-winning digital marketing agency like Chatter Buzz Media. With our expert team on your side, we can help you boost your inbound marketing strategy and propel you to the top!

See how we can transform your online presence with our digital marketing expertise.

Hailey Ingeman

Hailey Ingeman is an SEO copywriter at Chatter Buzz. She uses her strong creative writing skills and SEO expertise to draw in organic traffic. Hailey loves to write engaging copy that inspires leads to become paying customers.

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