Direct type-in is when the site visitor has found the website by typing the URL at into the address bar of his browser, hit or miss.
Earlier, direct type-ins were generated by a peculiarity of certain browsers. If you typed a search string in the address bar of the browser which had no domain extension, the top-level domain “.com” was automatically appended. If these generated domains actually existed, access was considered a direct type-in. Later searches were however no longer automatically updated with the domain extension, but diverted to the search engines Google or Bing. Thus, the opportunity of direct type-ins no longer existed.
Today one speaks of a direct type-in, when a user enters a search string and an attached top-level domain taking a chance. If he lands on an actually existing website, it is considered a direct type-in. This is opposed to visiting a website via a hyperlink or an entry in a search engine.
How often direct type-ins occur, depends both on the length and the significance of the keywords, which are used in the domain. Many direct type-ins are likely to occur with generic domain names such as cars.com, credit.com or shoes.com. With very good keyword domains, direct type-ins may comprise several percent of the total traffic.
The longer a keyword domain is, the less likely you will get direct type-ins. Theoretically, it is of course possible that a prospective customer looking for “high gloss kitchens” will find it on the direct route. However, in practice very few direct type-ins can be generated with such a long search string. Direct type-ins may also be additionally hampered by spelling problems. In Germany, primarily websites with the top-level domain “.de” are relevant for direct accesses.
How often a website is accessed through direct type-ins, can be easily determined with an appropriate analytical tool. With Google Analytics for example, you can analyze visitor sources. Besides organic search results, referrals or social media, you will also find the number of direct accesses. Based on this, different metrics can be determined, for example, the number of type-ins per day.
Direct Type-ins are directly related to the use of keyword domains that were for some time an important criterion in the field of search engine optimization because of their good rankings in the SERPs. As reported in a blog post, Google abandoned favoring keyword domains in the search results, in September 2012 with the “EMD update.” They have nevertheless not lost their importance in terms of generating direct type-ins.
Many site operators use keyword domains to build parallel satellite sites, from which visitors who got there with a direct type-in get directed to the actual website. Online-stores, for example, that have built their URL based on a brand name can still benefit from direct type-in traffic. However, it is increasingly difficult to get type-in domains with a high proportion of direct type-ins. Since these represent a high sales potential, they are also traded at correspondingly high prices. Six- or seven-figure sums are not uncommon for a short, catchy and easy to remember keyword domain.