Direct Search Navigation Background

Direct Navigation

Direct navigation describes the method individuals use to navigate the World Wide Web in order to arrive at specific websites. Direct navigation is a 10 year old term which is generally understood to include type-in traffic.

Direct navigation traffic was first discovered circa 1996. The few lucky domainers who had premium names and analyzed their traffic found people were typing in their domain names and bypassing search engines. Many of them immediately realized the potential of these domain names. At that time the direct navigation segment of the World Wide Web was born.

Domainers describe direct navigation as an Internet user navigating to a website directly through the browser address bar. They bypass online search engines by typing a name like "hotels" and adding ".com". For that reason direct navigation traffic is more valuable than search engine traffic since it is better targeted. Source: Wikipedia

Type-in traffic

Type-in traffic is a term describing visitors landing at a web site by entering a keyword or phrase (with no spaces or a hyphen in place of a space) in the web browser's address bar (and adding .com or in a mobile browser address bar and adding .mobi or any other gTLD (generic top-level domain) or ccTLD extension (country code top-level domain); rather than following a hyperlink from another web page, using a browser bookmark, or a search-box search. Type-in traffic is a form of direct navigation.

Example: If you are interested in widgets, then instead of performing a search-engine search for the term 'widgets' you might type '' or '' in your mobile browser address bar to see if such a web site exists, and, if so, what content is there. From another perspective, if you are in the business of selling widgets, then owning the domain name '' or '' and having an active website at that address would be a desirable thing, as you could take advantage of the type-in traffic this name receives. This simple example holds true for virtually all products and services. Source: Wikipedia

Less Expensive - More Effective

Direct search is one of the most pure and targeted form of traffic on the web, and considered by many to be one of the best performing search segments that drive the Internet. For advertisers looking to reach a high-quality, targeted audience, this direct search traffic is considered one of the best quality traffic, since the visitor directly typed in what they were looking for, did not arrive at the site while "surfing" or while exploring a link from another site, and did not arrive from a search engine where the user is typically comparing a variety of competitive sites.

A 2005 study of Internet traffic by WebSideStory's StatMarket division revealed that direct navigation traffic such as browser type-in traffic, bookmarks of existing sites, and visits to existing, known website domain names converts into sales for advertisers at 4.23% of total visits compared to 2.3% for product and service related searches performed via the search box at search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

Recent independent studies carried out by Mozilla and UCLA confirm that direct navigation is a major part of the web user experience. Researchers discovered that direct navigators behave differently to traditional search engine users in three key ways:
  • Far higher purchase intent
  • Not browsing, looking to buy
  • Not looking at alternative products or services

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