What is referral traffic and why is it important?
As a website (and business) owner, your goal is to have increased traffic to your website! Of course, there are multiple ways to do it (SEO, PPC, blogging, social media, referrals from other websites etc.). So what is referral traffic and why is it so important for your website?!
And you might also wonder what is up with those m or l letters at the beginning of some referrals or why some sites do not show up on your list?
Wonder no more! We will cover these topics for you!
In the most general sense, referral traffic is the website traffic that is registered when a user lands on your website after clicking a hyperlink on another website.
What is referral traffic and why is it important?
As you might know by now: SEO is a lengthy process, PPC is expensive, creating unique blog content is time-consuming, and social media has some problems when it comes to security breaches, organic reach and so on. So, among all the mentioned steps, the referral traffic strikes in!
Referring definition could be summarised with the following affirmations:
- To direct the attention of.
- To submit to (another person or group) for consideration; to send or direct elsewhere.
- To assign to, as a class, a cause, source, a motive, reason, or ground of explanation.
When it comes to website statistics and referring websites, we define it within Visitor Analytics as Domains that redirected traffic (visitors) to your website. Once you click the referrer link, you will also see where the visitors landed.
Referral traffic is important for your website because it sends possible buyers to your website from other sites that might have the same target group and people trust their recommendations already. Therefore, by checking the list of referrals you can better identify the interests of the customers coming from those sites and what they are usually reading, optimize your content for them and convert those visitors into customers!
Getting customers is not the only advantage. You will also rank better in search engines and it will help your SEO strategy (the lengthy one, that we mentioned before) because people interact with trusted websites that link to you and, in turn, this makes search engines trust your content, as well.
3 most frequent questions about referrals
This is one of the most frequent questions that we get. And the same applies to Instagram as well!
Facebook uses different domains to send referrals. The m.facebook.com is the domain of the Mobile Facebook App, www.facebook.com is the standard domain used by Facebook, while l.facebook.com is when a visitor is sent to a facebook intermediary page before sending the user to your website — this can happen for a lot of reasons, but the main reason is to protect users’ privacy and identity.
Listing your website on a platform and not being able to see the results might get frustrating. And there is no error in your analytics tool or you doing something wrong. Some websites just stopped sending you this data!
Here is what Tripadvisor announced on this:
“In mid-March of this year TripAdvisor changed the way it sends data for referral visits from its business listings and, as a consequence, referral data is lost in Google Analytics for many businesses. The reason for this is that TripAdvisor has moved to the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). Based on their current setup of this protocol, links to any external website that does not have HTTPS won’t receive the referral data in Google Analytics, meaning our client B&B innkeepers and dude ranches have lost valuable data to track the effectiveness of the dollars spent on having those links to their websites on TripAdvisor. If you discover that there is TripAdvisor data missing in Google Analytics you can take steps to re-establish that important data collection.”
As far as we know, Yahoo! is doing the same, and other websites might as well. What we recommend you, in this case, is to create a shortened URL or a tracking link and check the number of clicks using another tool. This is assuming that you have access to changing your links on these third parties. You can submit your link to owl.ly, bit.ly or other similar tools, and they will supply you with an alternate, shortened link to post instead of your original link. Every time someone clicks the shortened link, they get redirected to your original, and you can count these referrals instead. This will help you get an idea of your traffic.
There are multiple ways of making this happen and here are a few ideas:
- Use Social media as much as possible
- Check the Q&A platforms (e.g. Quora) and provide quality answers in your field. By doing this, you can insert some links too (be careful and do not get spammy!), and people will check your account and go to your website.
- Get in touch with influencers in your field and try to connect with them (collaborations based on reviews, giveaways, gift cards, commissions and much more)
- Create nicely designed videos and images and share them on multiple platforms
- Be a guest-post person! You can check out some nice blogs or websites that fit your business and create a nice blog post on their website with useful insights!
Hopefully, this was useful to you and your website and we managed to bring some light in the referrers area!
As an alternative to Google Analytics, that only offers the possibility to see aggregate statistics about referral traffic, you can use Visitor Analytics, that includes the possibility to see the referral for every individual user, by checking their visitor paths.
You can sign up now for a free trial, to find out everything there is to know about referral traffic coming to your website.