iOS7 visits will be attributed to source channel

Since the launch of iOS 6 last September, webmasters have been noticing a trend where direct traffic levels have increased, whilst organic visits have been stagnant or decreased slightly.

Since the launch of iOS 6 last September, webmasters have been noticing a trend where direct traffic levels have increased, whilst organic visits have been stagnant or decreased slightly.

One of the primary reasons for this is that visits from Google through the Safari browser search bar were not being attributed to the correct traffic source; instead, all visits from this source were bucketed into to the 'direct' traffic channel in most analytics packages, skewing the data.

However, it now appears that beta versions of iOS (7) are passing referrer data, meaning that visits from this browser should from now on be attributed to the correct channels. From an SEO perspective, these visits will still show in Google Analytics as 'not provided', but they will at least be correctly attributed to organic search rather than direct.

Apple is due to launch iOS 7 this autumn and there should be a strong initial uptake of this update. However, it may be some time until the majority of users are using this operating system - meaning that data from these sources will still be somewhat unreliable.

This issue is not just confined to the Safari browser (although it will in most cases be the highest source of visits), version 4 of the Android operating system are also affected, as is Google Chrome on iOS 6.