Last month, just prior to releasing the new iPhone, Apple released iOS 6, the latest version of its operating system for mobile devices – iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. And as SearchEngineLand details, that update may be affecting what you’re seeing in your traffic data.
Safari is Apple’s own web browser, and it’s used by nearly 87% of iOS device users. So if someone is browsing the web on an iPad or iPhone (which 64% of mobile users are) it’s likely they’re using Safari.
The important change here, which SearchEngineLand explains in great detail, is that someone coming to your site via a search using Safari’s built-in Google search box no longer shows up in your traffic logs as search or referral traffic. They show up as direct traffic, no different from if they had simply typed in your URL.
This appears to be an unanticipated result for everyone involved, and may result in Google making some changes to how searches via mobile are forwarded to the destination site. In the meantime, though, be aware that searches showing up in your NewsTrak Reports and other analytics as “direct traffic” may in fact be searches from iPad and iPhone users.
Combined with last year’s changes that no longer pass search terms through from logged-in Google users, this adds another complication for marketers and PR people trying to maintain an SEO/SEM strategy. It’s a quickly shifting landscape, so make sure you’re aware of all the trends and changes before making adjustments to your own strategy.