Increasing ‘(Direct / None)’ Traffic In Google Analytics

Increasing ‘(Direct / None)’ Traffic In Google Analytics

You’ve seen this in your Google Analytics since the first day you logged in, and it’s been around from the beginning.  But lately, you’re seeing a lot more of your website traffic coming from the source / medium “(Direct / None)” and you can’t figure out why?

I’m sure you have heard various reasons why you see traffic under that label.  Does any of this sound familiar?

  1. The user typed in the website URL directly into the browser.
  2. The user bookmarked your website to come back to it directly from the bookmarked link.
  3. The link was in an email, from people who use rich email clients like Apple Mail, Outlook etc.

There are likely plenty more too.

This traffic is nothing more than visits to your website where referrer information is lost/gone/never existed.   Plenty of reasons why it can happen and has always occurred in the past.  But you’re concerned with, why are you getting more and more than you ever have in the past?

As the web becomes more secure, search engines like Google & Bing, have enabled SSL, so instead of going to “http://www.google.ca”, you get redirected to “https://www.google.ca”, and you now have an HTTPS connection.  The connection is encrypted between your computer and Google’s (or Bing, etc.).

When you visit an encrypted website, and then visit a non-encrypted website via a link on that page (like the search results page), the referrer data is not passed, that is a security breach of private information from an encrypted session.   You can’t do anything about it; that’s how it works and how it should work.

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More and more of your visitors are coming from Google, Bing, Facebook and more, through HTTPS connections for security reasons.  Eventually, they will all be secured for every single user.  When that happens, what would typically show up as traffic from “facebook.com / referral “, “google / organic” will now all be lumped under “Direct / None”.

The only solution to this problem is to make your website available via HTTPS (it’s already available via HTTP).  You can easily see when you use your URL, type “https” instead and see how your connection will be refused.

Until you have SSL from your website vendor, your “Direct / None” traffic will only increase while the rest of your traffic decreases.  You will not be able to identify who is actually referring website visitors to your site.

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