A lot of people notice a sudden increase in direct traffic to their website and most of them are wondering where is this direct traffic coming from. Getting direct traffic to a website is normal, and in some cases, it is even desired, but for the most part, webmasters just want to find out why they are getting a sudden spike of direct traffic. Google Analytics doesn’t do a good job of providing information from where the direct traffic is coming from, so most webmasters try to use other analytics tools to find the source of the direct traffic.
If you have a sudden increase in direct traffic in google analytics then the most likely reasons for the direct traffic are bots, crawlers, scrapers, malicious bots, people searching fro your brand, organic traffic, comment bots, contact form bots, DDOS attack, ad networks, affiliate networks, bought traffic, social media traffic, CDN networks and lastly it is probably you visiting your own site which will show up as direct traffic.
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A lot of beginners when they make their first website and install google analytics they tend to take a look at the stats every day. Brand new websites will rarely get any organic traffic, so if you see a traffic spike for your new website than odds are that these are just bots or crawlers visiting your website. This is especially problematic if you make a blog on blogger, if you take a look at the stats provided by the blogger platform you will see that your blog is getting hundreds of visitors per day.
Blogger.com tends to count every traffic to your website, this means it will include crawlers, spiders, scrapers, bots, and so on in the statistics. Google Analytics, on the other hand, tends to filter out most bot, crawler, scraper, and spider traffic, as these statistics are of no use to a webmaster. Although you can check the craw rate of your website with Google analytics but this info will only include the statistics of the google bot.
For the most part, it is normal to get direct traffic, although if you are having sudden spikes of direct traffic than you should take a closer look from where this traffic is actually coming from. The internet is full of bots, some are good while others have malicious intent, and they usually show up as direct traffic. If you want to filter out the bots coming to your site than I highly recommend you use Wordfence. If you are new to SEO and you want to know what are the benefits of SEO then check out my recent article Benefits of SEO ( Top Industry Secrets )
Bots are software applications that have a specific job, usually they run a script of some kind, although this is determined by the bot’s creator. Most bot traffic will show up as direct traffic, although this is not always the case. There are a lot of websites using bots, including Google, and this is how they determine the quality of your website. Usually, when you index your website in search consoo9le a google bot will come and take a look at your website. Usually, the google bot will have its location in Mountain View this is the Google headquarters location, and you will see it as direct traffic from that area. If you want to get more organic traffic then you should also optimize for Bing, for more information check out my recent article How to optimize for Bing ( In 11 Easy Steps ).
Crawlers will also show up in some cases as direct traffic, and just like normal bots, crawlers are also used by a lot of websites. Backlink reporting websites also use crawlers to analyze your website and if you look at the IP of the crawler it might lead you to a backlink reporting website. Some crawlers are set on a schedule while others only access the site when requested, if you go to google page speed insight and test your website you will notice a crawler will come and visit your website.
Scrapers have the job of scraping your website for data and other content. There are a lot of softwares which use scraper bots, some of them scrape your content and automatically publish it on another website, while others scrape a lot of websites for the content and spin the content together to make it unique. You will often see in your google analytics dashboard these scrapers as direct traffic, and in some cases, they can slow down your website significantly.
Malicious bots are bost which are made to search for vulnerabilities on your website, once they find a vulnerability then they will try to exploit it, sometimes hacking the entire website, other times redirecting a percentage of the traffic to another website. Usually, these malicious bots are made to search for nulled plugins and WordPress themes as most of them have a backdoor which allows the bots to access the entire website.
People searching for your brand
In case you see a sudden spike of direct traffic than it doesn’t necessarily mean that is a bad thing. If you have done a good job at branding your website than users will directly write in the domain into their browsers, and this will show up as direct traffic. Although if most of the traffic is coming from just a couple of IP’s than odds are that it is a bot scraping your website rather than people typing in their browser your domain name.
Direct traffic can be organic traffic, as Google doesn’t really want to show you from which keyword you are getting traffic. If you have ever ranked on a highly competitive keyword than odds are that Google will show the traffic coming from this keyword as direct traffic. A couple of years ago you could rely on Google analytics to provide you with good info, but today you have to dig down deep to have a more in-depth look at how your website is performing.
Comment bots are bots that comment on posts, this is how they also build backlinks called blog comments. If you have a blog with the blog comments on than you are attracting a lot of bots that will try to build backlinks from your website. Even if you moderate the comments you will still see that 99% of these comments are spam, this is the main reason why I disable blog comments on all my sites. If you are wondering if blog comments are still good for SEO then check out my recent article Do blog comments help SEO? ( Top 10 Reasons ).
Contact form bots
Some bots are made to send spam emails by going to your content form and sending you the spam email. Bots that are filling out the contact form will show up as direct traffic and the bigger your website is the more spam email you will get. Some bots will loop forever trying to fill out the contact form and if this keeps on happening over and over then they will slow down your website significantly.
DDOS attacks are a distributed denial of service, which simply means that a lot of bots trying to access your website at the same time and thus bringing down the entire website. Usually, a DDOS attack will show up as direct traffic, and in some cases, you might not even be the target. Some DDOS attacks tend to visit other websites in order to mask the referrer, and this will also cause a spike in direct traffic.
Most ad networks will send crawlers to your website from time to time, just to make sure that your website is still complying with their rules. These crawlers will show up as direct traffic and the more organic traffic you have the more of these crawlers you will get on your site. This is one of the reasons why so many people get banned by ad networks, they apply with a website get accepted and then they start scraping and publishing copied articles, sooner or later these bots will identify them as duplicate and there goes their account.
Some affiliate networks also check up on your website from time to time, some use bots while others hire a person to check out the websites promoting their affiliates, in both cases the traffic will show up as direct traffic. Amazon for example will send bots to your website a couple of days before they are sending out the payment, these bots will look at every single post of your website and they are mainly looking for cloakers and if you have the affiliate disclaimer visible on every single post where you have affiliate links.
There are a lot of people who buy traffic, this industry is massive and they are usually used by beginners who do not know what they are doing. You simply can not buy real traffic, no matter how good the sales page sounds, all of them are using bot traffic which is masked as organic or social media traffic. For the most part, google will identify these as bot traffic and show them as direct traffic, so if you are buying traffic than stop.
Social media traffic
When you create a social media post and the user clicks on your URL odds are that this will be considered as direct traffic, although this also depends on the social media platform as well. If you have shared your website with somebody on WhatsApp or other chat apps then once the person clicks on the URL and goes to your website then it will be shown as direct traffic.
If you are using a CDN network than odds are that some of your traffic is marked as direct traffic no matter if it is coming from google search or not. Most CDN networks have analytics in their dashboard and usually, they tend to be fairly precise. Although if you are using google analytics to track your traffic and you are also using a CDN network than odds are that some of your traffic will be marked as direct traffic.
It is you
If you have a brand new website then you are probably working on it for some time already. Once you take a look at google analytics then you will notice that you have a lot of direct traffic. This direct traffic is usually coming from you, as you are the one who is typing in the domain name to access your website or you are using a bookmark to do it, either way the traffic will show up as direct traffic in google analytics.
As you can see there are a lot of reasons why you see direct traffic in your google analytics dashboard, getting direct traffic is normal and the bigger your website is the more direct traffic you will get. If you are getting way too much bot traffic than you should take a more in depth look where it is coming from as sometimes this can be traffic with malicious intent.