Direct traffic is the amount of web traffic you receive from users who visit your website through a URL directly from their browsers. In terms of Google Analytics (GA), it is defined as the traffic that has arrived on your website with no source or data.
Many times when GA finds no data on the traffic source it attributes the sessions to direct traffic.
Reasons why direct traffic occurs:
- Manual URL entry and bookmarks by frequent users
- Toggling from a secure link on an https web page to a non-secure HTTP webpage
- Missing or broken GA tracking code
- Incorrect/improper redirection
- Landing on a webpage from non-web documents like word documents, power points, excels, pdfs, etc.
- Dark Social – no attributed sources like email, Whatsapp, Skype, SMS, Facebook Messenger
Key steps you can take to minimize the level of unnecessary direct traffic in your reports:
- Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS – it is the present and future of the web and has a positive effect on your ability to track referral traffic.
- Managing your redirects – Be meticulous about using any vanity URLs with UTM parameters to redirect traffic to the new page.
- Campaign Tagging at its best – Avoid tagging internal links to carry out meaningful attribution.
- Perform an analytics audit – Data integrity is very crucial. Good audits of analytics involve a review of your traffic measurement plan and rigorous testing at the page and property-level.
Following these steps will help you achieve a drastic reduction in the total level of direct traffic reported in Analytics.