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I am trying to identify sources of unattributable, "direct" traffic to my website. One source is http links from https websites - e.g. Google search results - because the referrer is stripped when going from https to http. With that in mind, I went to Google Search Console to make sure http versions of my pages are not being indexed and I was surprised to see that the non-https version of the homepage receives an equal number of impressions and significantly more clicks than the https version, according to Google Search Console.

screenshot

This website has never been http only and I'm fairly certain http has always been redirected to https.

If I click the magnifying glass next to the http version to "inspect" the page, it says it is not indexed and the https version is the canonical version.

If I do a Google search for site:mysite.com inurl:http or site:mysite.com -inurl:https I get no results.

Why is the http version of my homepage receiving more Google search traffic than the https version?

  • I should add that the http link to the homepage - / - is the only non-https link in the report of linked pages – Enrico Aug 6 at 8:39
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    Do you have a Google My Business listing that is using the http variant? That is one way for that link to get into Google search results. – Tony McCreath Aug 8 at 0:31
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    @TonyMcCreath I think that is the likely culprit. Would you like to post it as an answer? – Enrico Aug 9 at 6:23
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In most cases the URLs used in Google Search Results come from their search index, and therefore will be based on the canonical entries they have. e.g. it will be the https version of your website redirects all http pages to the https.

However, you define which URL is used in your Google My Business entry, and that is the one shown for the website link when your business is listed. If you use http in your listing, you will see that http URL show up in your GSC reports.

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A few suggestions:

  1. You can select your preferred website version in Google Search Console (http or https)
  2. If you haven't already, make sure your .htaccess file is setup correctly to redirect all http traffic to https (if you have Wordpress site there are plugins that can do this for you)
  3. Do you have links in your email signature? Have you ever sent out an email campaign? Email clicks usually show up as 'direct traffic' in Analytics
  4. Are any of your internal links using full urls with the http version? If so, you could do a database find & replace to update them all (again, there are plugins for this if you are using Wordpress)

Hope this helps!

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