A slowly loading website does two-way damage. Firstly, Google detects the crawling pace, which hurts your site’s organic ranking. Secondly, a slow speed poisons customer conversion rate and amps up the abandonment rates for your business. The second factor links back to the first one, as visitors don’t engage with your website, resulting in a loss to search engine ranking.
As pointed out, they are certainly not the same, but it might not be a bad idea to track and report on the direct traffic. If there has been outreach done and the company is mentioned in print with a URL, direct traffic (along with some search traffic on the URL or business name itself) is likely to go up. If your email newsletters are not tagged, they're likely to show up under direct traffic. Depending on your role, some of what you do under the greater SEO/inbound marketing role can show up under the direct traffic.
At the end of the day, webmasters just need to know their sites: chances are your analytics tool is more like a person than a software package, and will classify traffic in irrational ways. I’ve stumbled across website traffic originating from diverse and confusing sources being classed as direct — often requiring a considerable amount of thought and exploration to work out what is happening.
Another term used interchangeably with non-organic SEO is Artificial SEO – which may or may not already tip you off as to why it is considered less appealing and thereby less effective for individuals and businesses that are trying to run a reputable website. While it often yields quicker results – a “quick fix” – in bumping up a site’s initial ranking, the effects are often not as effective in the long run in comparison to the more organic practices.