How brand influences direct traffic

It’s been a busy week, and a lot of controversy has blown up over SEMrush’s latest report, a study it released about the most important ranking factors for websites based on a selection of 600,000 keywords. It said the biggest ranking factor is direct traffic, which has been causing quite a bit of argument across the SEO industry, but has added weight to my theory that brand is more important than Google. There’s a whole heap of questions surrounding that statement, and I’m sure you’ve got quite a few of them yourself.

Some people are getting quite upset, and they’re asking whether direct traffic is correlation or causation. Well, that relates to ranking factor. If you look up the meaning of “factor”, you see it relates to facts. It’s a fact high-ranking sites have a lot of direct traffic.

But is that the cause of the rank? Probably not. What is probably causal, though, is that high traffic will follow a great brand. Getting hung up on what’s causation, what’s signal, and what’s a factor is just wasting your time. Google is never going to give you every single detail about their inner workings, so you’ll never really know.

What you can do is look for paths to great ranking, and having a well-known brand is a solid path. You might say ranking isn’t a factor on any list. Well, no, not directly. But it’s an awesome indirect path that creates great results.

You’ve got to get your brand in the minds of those searching for your product or service. After all, Google is a search engine. Make them search directly for your brand to increase your rankings. Create a strong brand in a small niche, or in a local niche, and you’ll be first in the mind of every potential customer.

This article was originally published on

Never miss a story: sign up to SmartCompany’s free daily newsletter and find our best stories on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments