3 Tips on What to Do with Referring Traffic

How your analytics package can shed new light on referring traffic

One reason your analytics package is valuable is the information it can offer about your referring traffic. There are of course numerous other reasons why analytics is important, but for today, referring traffic will be the topic of discussion.

Referring traffic is comprised of visitors that find links to your site elsewhere, be it through social media or other content producers.

Referring traffic is extremely valuable because it involves completely new audience members. Direct traffic is mainly users who are familiar with your brand already, whereas users deemed as referring traffic may be experiencing your content for the very first time.

When this is the case, those new visitors to your website may become registered members of your website if your content is what they are looking for and your conversion architecture is functioning properly.

Identifying your referring traffic

If you are using Google Analytics, you can easily find your statistics on referring traffic.

First, enter your Google Analytics Dashboard. Scroll down the page until you reach the section entitled ‘Traffic Sources Overview’. When you reach this section, click on the ‘view report’ link.

You will then see a graph with all traffic sources listed below it. Currently, our search engine traffic and direct traffic is higher than our referring traffic.

For specifics on your referring traffic, click on the Referring Sites link.

Once inside, you will be able to see all your referring sites in order from the most visits to the least. You will also see information on your total visits, pages per visit, average time on site, the percent of new visits and the bounce rate.

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3 tips for referring traffic

After going to the referring sites part of your analytics, take these tips into consideration:

Tip #1 – Find your top referring sites and look at their links that direct traffic to your page. Is the link ideal to your website’s overall goal? Meaning, does it contain keyword phrases that you target as core aspects of your website’s content? If not, you might want to ask the operators of the referring sites to change the link so that the words in the link correspond with the keywords you optimize for.

Tip #2 – Contemplate ways of improving your relationship with the sites that link to you. For instance, if one major referring site discusses topics on Internet marketing, which is a broad topic, see if you could contribute consistently on a specific topic that you’re knowledgeable on. This could create a valuable relationship that will bring new individuals to your website to consume more content.

Tip #3 – After looking at the referring sites, determine if there are similar sites you can get a link on. You can do this by Googling the websites listed in referring sites and then clicking the “similar” link on the results page.

Referring links are only one of the many vital parts of an analytics package. To discover more useful components of analytics programs, join us on December 14th for our Actionable Analytics webinar. Greg Krehbiel, the Director of Marketing at Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. will be the guest speaker of the webinar.


    Thank you! As a new blogger, your post is helping me to make more effective use of Google Analytics and I know that your strategy apropos referring sites will also be useful to me.


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