Came across an interesting article in the Huffington Post (CA) that really is an eye opener. It talks about why the URL bar is still important. And from the perspective of domain names it talks about Direct Navigation, one of the holy grails of type-in traffic.
I would recommend you read the entire article, but here are some important take-aways:
According to one Fairwinds report, manual direct navigation in the URL bar accounted for 38 per cent of Web site traffic.
38% is a pretty large number, what it means is that most experienced web users use direct navigation to reach a particular site!
WebSideStory’s StatMarket division (now a part of Omniture) estimated, prior to 2008, that more than 67 per cent of global Internet users arrive at Web sites through direct navigation.
While this might have come down since 2008 with a lot more new internet users online now, it still isn’t below the 38% figure quoted above.
And the big web site owners / managers are aware of this fact, the writer goes ahead and gives three specific examples:
1. Goole.com – is among the top 13k sites worldwide according to Alexa.
2. Flicker.com – accounts for 3,600,000 unique users per year.
3. Facebok.com – got over 250,000,000 unique users in one year.
These are not the kind of domains that people should register (though Goole.com is legal because of a city of that name, with 12k residents), it does underline the fact that direct navigation is still a big part of browsing.
Most importantly, Google itself recognizes this phenomenon:
In 2010, Google was cited (notably in research by Amy Langville of the Mathematics Department of Charleston College) saying that 15 per cent of Web users use the URL bar to reach ads/buying decisions as opposed to hyperlinks. Note: this is not a statistic of the per centage of people who use the URL bar vs. search but rather a per centage of those who simply reach their ad destination via the URL bar as opposed to hitting on an ad hyperlink. Actual use of the URL bar thus has to be higher than 15 per cent if that Google figure is right.
Bottomline, don’t believe the hype, Direct Navigation Matters and will do for a long time to come, specially with mobile browsing – because access rates are high, plus searching for a website takes more time than accessing it directly via the URL bar.
Do share your views in the comments section.