What is the metric or referral traffic?

Referral traffic is a very important metric in digital marketing, since it measures the traffic that an website receives when we are being mentioned on other websites and not from search results returned by web search engines such as Google or SEM campaigns.

Having a high number of referral traffic is an indication that we are on the right track to be popular, as well as that we have links of interest on other websites, which are bringing us visits to our website and thus improving our SEO organically.

1. How to improve referral traffic?

To gain referral traffic and increase your website’s popularity which, in turn, will improve your search engine rankings, you can make use of the following tips:

  • Work with social media. Create a community of loyal followers and offer them interesting content that your fans can share, this will help you to reach more people. In the same way, share articles from other websites, in which you have links to receive more visits from other websites.
  • Comment on blogs and forums. It is a simple and cheap option, you only have to place links that will help you improve referral traffic, but the content you post must be related to the subject matter and respect the moderators’ rules.
  • Collaborate with other bloggers. You can use guest blogging to establish collaborations with other webmasters, as long as you accept to write content for free, but as a guest author, you can include some links in the articles, to improve the popularity of your own website.
  • Work with linkbuilding. Similar to guest blogging, you have to take care and try to place links to your website on other websites through agreements with their owners, but you should also take care of the internal linking on your website, for SEO.
  • Create persuasive CTAs. Try to create calls to action (CTAs) as effective as possible so that, in a non-intrusive way, those who are reading click naturally and are directed to your website.
  • Include links in images. Whenever possible, try to get the webmasters of the blogs you partner with to place your links in the related images, as this makes it easier for visitors to reach your website.

2. Where to see the referral traffic metrics?

With Google Analytics you can easily see how much referral traffic you are generating. To do so, just open Google Analytics and, once inside the application, click Acquisition >> All traffic >> Channels. Here you will find all the available channels and you have to look at the one called: referral.

Here are some of the traffic channels from which a website can obtain visits and which, together with referral, are of special interest in Google Analytics metrics:

  • Organic: these are visits from users who have clicked on some search result; here we are not talking about paid links.
  • Display: shows the visits that come from advertising campaigns on other blogs or websites.
  • Email: visits that come from email marketing campaigns or mass mailings.
  • Social: shows the visits that come directly from social networks.
  • Paid: visits that come from advertising campaigns, Adwords or social ads.
  • Referral: as we have already detailed, are the visits that come from other external websites from where they have included a link to our website.
  • Other: These are visits from other channels, i.e. campaigns or visits that could be cataloged in the other channels.