Considering I have a website and I have millions of direct views (entering directly by URL, not by any other URL) and that there is no links to this site anywhere else (or that this views don't generate any external link to the site), will these visits increase my positioning in search engines such as Google?

Are search engines capable of measuring direct visits rather than links from other pages?

4 Answers 4


Search engines have no way of knowing what traffic your website gets so it can't be used as a ranking metric in their algorithm. (Google has clearly stated that Google Analytics data is not used in their ranking algorithm).

Even if they did, the number of visits would not be a good judge of relevance as it is easy to artificially inflate your number of visitors. So even if search engines knew how many visitors your site had it would not be a very useful metric to them. (Now if they had access to your site analytics they could use that to determine the quality of your site visits which could possibly be used to determine quality of content but that is currently not happening).

  • Actually, Google do have data from users typing URLs in the address bar. Every keystroke in the Google Chrome address bar is sent back to Google. Whether or not they use that data is another matter.
    – Brendon
    Nov 25, 2013 at 0:26

Google can measure visitors if the website is a click through on their search engine and this is across the board with all the other search engines. Google has never directly confirmed that trends of clicks actually matters or not, through it would make logical sense that this would be true.

So other than having direct access to your server there is no way to reward for direct visitors since they can't detect it. There is however a myth that Google can use Google Analytics data since they changed their privacy agreement which means this data can be used in conjunction with their other services, while this may be true its never been confirmed. So this is a highly debatable topic because even if you don't have Google Analytics the vast majority do so I know you said you don't have links but if you had they can potentially see this too as an exit point.

You should regard Direct visitors good as it can potentially indirectly improve your SEO by gaining links.

  • If the site has no links it probably would never feature in a set of search results to start with. Certainly not in a prominent position.
    – QFDev
    Nov 20, 2013 at 15:03
  • It could, it's called the honeymoon period. Nov 20, 2013 at 15:04
  • Yep, also vastly depends on the niche and competition. Good keyword research you can rank anything in a good prominent position. Of course you ain't gonna rank for 'Car' but you might rank for 'buy car in bournemouth today' for example :P Nov 20, 2013 at 15:05

Search Engine may know about visits to orphaned (i.e. no inbound links) websites based on users who may have a toolbar installed that is reporting browsing activity back to the search engine. Whether this is used as a ranking signal is debatable.

Also if you use a tool such as Google Analytics then Google in this case will certainly know a great deal about your website users. Again it's very unlikely that they will be using this as any basis to rank your site, which I think is at the crux of your question.

Inbound links and good content pretty much cover 90% of the ranking outcome for any website. Nothing has changed there for years!


I would be very surprised if search engines used straight traffic as a ranking signal. Most websites get most of their traffic from search engines. If search engines used traffic as a signal, popular sites would only get better rankings and more traffic in an inappropriate feedback loop.

There are other sources of traffic such as links. Search engine bots crawl for links and use the weight of those links as a ranking signal. In the case of links, using traffic as a signal as well would be double counting.

Social media can be another big source of traffic these days. Google is trying hard to get Google+ to be the number one social network in part so that they can see this data. Search engines might try to use social media traffic as a signal if they could get the data. It seems feasible that this data could be bought from social networks.

Advertising traffic is another big source of traffic. Google has specifically said that spending more on their advertising network will in no way influence rankings. It wouldn't make much sense for search engines to rely on bought traffic to rank sites higher anyway. I can only imagine that the search results would be filled with Viagra sites if they did that.

The last major source of traffic would be type in traffic and bookmarks. Again, this would be a reasonable signal for search engines to use if they could get the data. In this case, the data would be much harder get than from social media. They would have to rely on browser plugins that spy on users or ISPs that spy on users.

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