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What Is Referral Traffic And Why Is It Important?

Daren Low
June 17, 2024


In a sea of websites, it can be hard to get noticed. Luckily, this is where referral traffic comes in.


Whether you’re a blogger, business owner, or marketer, understanding referral traffic can make a huge difference in the success of your website. And no, don’t be intimidated, because we’re here to hold your hand and explain everything you need to know – without all the technical jargon.


So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started!



What Is Referral Traffic?


referral traffic from social media

Referral traffic comes from visitors who arrive on your site via a link on a different website.
(Source: Content Stadium)


Okay, so imagine you’re browsing a website and you come across a link to another website that looks interesting. You click on that link and are taken to the second website – that’s referral traffic in action!


Essentially, referral traffic is when someone recommends your website to others by linking to it from their own site. This can happen in all sorts of ways – like when you see a link to a blog post in a tweet, or when you click on a directory listing for a local business.


The key thing to remember is that referral traffic is different from other types of traffic, such as typing a website URL into your browser (direct traffic) or finding a site through a search engine (organic traffic).


What’s great about referral traffic is that it often brings in highly targeted visitors to your site. These are people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer and are more likely to engage with your content or products.


Plus, when you get referral traffic from other sites in your industry, it can help you build relationships and create opportunities for collaboration and growth.


So, now that we’ve covered what referral traffic is, let’s dig into why it’s such an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to growing your website.



Why Do I Need To Pay Attention To Referral Traffic?


Referral traffic is extremely effective when it comes to boosting your online presence. Here’s why:


  • Highly targeted traffic
    As mentioned earlier, referral traffic tends to be highly targeted, meaning that the visitors who come to your site via referral links are more likely to be interested in your brand. This can lead to higher engagement rates, longer time on site, and ultimately, more conversions.
  • Builds authority and trust
    When other websites link to your site, it sends a signal that your content is valuable and trustworthy. This can help to build your website’s authority in your industry.
  • Diversifies your traffic sources
    Relying solely on one type of traffic (like organic or direct) can be risky. If something changes with the search algorithms or your direct traffic drops off, you could be in trouble. But, referral traffic helps to diversify your traffic sources and provides a more stable foundation for your website’s growth.
  • Free advertising
    Getting referral traffic is essentially like getting free advertising for your website. Every time someone links to your site from theirs, they’re essentially recommending your site to their audience – and that can lead to a snowball effect of new visitors and potential customers.



How Do I Track Referral Traffic?


person analyzing their website traffic

There are plenty of tools that can help you measure and analyze your traffic.


Tracking referral traffic is essential if you want to understand where your visitors are coming from, and which referral sources are driving the most traffic to your site. Here are a few methods you can use:


  • Google Anlytics
    One of the most popular ways to track referral traffic is through Google Analytics. If you haven’t already, set up a Google Analytics account and locate your referral report in the Acquisition tab. You’ll be able to see a list of all the sites that are sending traffic to your site, plus other helpful data.
  • UTM Parameters
    UTM parameters are tags that you can add to the end of a URL to help you track where traffic is coming from. You can create custom UTM parameters for each referral source, which will allow you to see exactly which links are driving traffic to your site. For this, you can use a tool like the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder to create UTM parameters for your links.
  • Other website analytics tools
    Some website analytics tools, like SEMrush or Ahrefs, offer referral tracking as part of their suite of features. These tools can be especially useful if you want to see how your referral traffic compares to your competitors’ traffic.



4 Ways To Increase Referral Traffic


woman holding a megaphone

Getting more people to talk about your brand allows you to reach a wider audience.


Now that you know what referral traffic is and how to track it, let’s talk about how you can increase it. Here are a few strategies you can use to boost your website’s referral traffic:


  • Guest blogging
    Writing guest posts for other websites in your industry is a great way to get exposure to new audiences and drive referral traffic to your site. When you write a guest post, be sure to include a bio and a link back to your website.
  • Influencer Marketing
    Collaborating with influencers or industry experts can be a powerful way to improve your website’s referral traffic. Reach out to influencers in your industry and see if they would be willing to feature your content or products on their site or social media channels.
  • Social media
    Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be a great source of referral traffic. Share your content on social media and engage with other users in your industry to build relationships and increase your exposure.
  • Directory listings
    Getting listed in relevant directories can be an effective method to send referral traffic to your site. Look for directories in your industry or niche and submit your site for inclusion.


Remember, the key to increasing referral traffic is to focus on building relationships with other websites and influencers in your industry. By providing value to other sites and engaging with your target audience, you can create a strong network of referral sources that will drive traffic to your site over time.



Leveraging Web Hosting For Better Referral Traffic


When it comes to bringing referral traffic to your website, you might not immediately think of your web hosting provider. However, the quality of your web hosting can have a significant impact on your website’s performance and ultimately, its ability to attract referral traffic.


The best web hosts will offer fast load times, reliable uptime, scalability, and security, alongside solid customer support.


On the other hand, a slow, unreliable, or unsecure website can quickly turn visitors away and hurt your chances of getting referral traffic in the future. So, choose a high-quality web hosting provider to set your website up for success.



Don’t Be A Needle In A Haystack


And that’s a wrap, folks! Referral traffic may seem like a technical term, but it’s really just a fancy way of saying “word-of-mouth marketing” for the online world.


By understanding how to track and increase your referral traffic, you’re essentially tapping into the power of online recommendations and building a loyal audience for your website!