Thursday, February 12, 2015

Types of website traffic and how to increase them​: Referral traffic

In this final installment in the Types of Website Traffic series, we'll be looking at a third type of website traffic: referral traffic. Referral traffic comes in many forms and can help drive a wider variety of visitors to your website. This article will explain the importance of referral traffic and provide tips on how to use it to your website's advantage.

Referral traffic

Referral traffic occurs when someone reaches your website through another source that is not a search engine. For example, if someone clicks on a link to your website through Facebook, that would be referral traffic. It's important to build up referral traffic in order to reach a wider audience and to continuously drive new visitors to your website.

Types of referral traffic

Referral traffic is a broad category, and it comes in many different forms. Here are some common places that referrals come from:

Advertising: Advertisements such as banners ads on other websites, contribute to a website's referral traffic.

Social media: Sharing links to your website on social media services like Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest is a great way to increase referral traffic to your website. By including social sharing capabilities on your website, your visitors are able to share content as well that can generate traffic back to your website. Learn more about integrating social media into your website.

Mashable highlights social sharing prominently at the top of their articles to promote user sharing on social media.

Partner/sponsor websites: Businesses often include links to the websites of their partners or sponsors, which are good sources of referral traffic. If you are a sponsor or partner with another business, see if this is an option.

Media coverage: Online publications, such as newspaper or magazine websites, can be sources of referral traffic if there is any press coverage of your company. Publishing press releases is another possible way to easily increase referral traffic through editorial content.

Email marketing: If you send out email promotions or newsletters, these can be considered referral traffic if you use a service like Google Analytics where you can set up link tracking. Read more on how to drive traffic to your website using email marketing.

Blog/guest blogging: If you run a blog separate from your website, it can be used to generate referral traffic by linking back to your website. Writing guest posts on other blogs run by related businesses is another way to generate referral traffic by including a link back to your website. Find out more about how to run a successful company blog.

Including a call to action on your blog that links back to your website is one good way to increase referral traffic. 
(Pictured: Kermans Flooring blog)

Reviews/online listings: Review sites or online listings such as Yelp or Yellow Pages can help generate referral traffic to your website as well. Generally, these sites don't generate as much traffic as other sources, but it's still important to make sure any links you have on these types of sites are up-to-date.

Referral traffic considerations

There are some key things to consider when developing a strategy for referral traffic:

Search engines will reward your efforts: A high amount of referral traffic often results in Google and other search engines looking more favorably on your website and therefore increasing your website's search ranking. This is why referral traffic should be an important consideration when developing an online marketing strategy.

Promote in the right places: Essentially, the more highly trafficked a website is, and the more relevant it is to your industry, the better results you will get from promoting your site there. For example, if your website advertises gardening services, getting your website linked to from other gardening websites would help to ensure that it's being exposed to people who are already interested in gardening.

Smashing Magazine, a web-related blog, includes banner advertisements that promote websites that are related 
to its subject matter and therefore relevant to its audience.

Generate relevant content: When creating content for social media, blogs, or other content marketing efforts, make sure it's relevant to your industry and product/service. Interesting, relevant content is more likely to not only attract visitors to your website, but convert them to potential customers.

Analyze: Consistently analyze your website's referral statistics. This will help to you to pinpoint what types of referral traffic are working for you and what areas might need improvement.

In case you missed it...

Make sure to check out the first two posts in this series discussing direct traffic and search traffic.

What are your analytics saying about your website traffic?

TBH Creative can help you understand what your analytics data says about your website, and determine how best to use that information to increase your website's success. We have a variety of tools and solutions to help you achieve your website goals and stay on top of your results. Learn more about our analytic reporting services, or get in touch with us today!
Kayleigh

About the author | Kayleigh Circle

Kayleigh is a web developer at TBH Creative, specializing in front-end development and responsive design. She likes to blog about a variety of web design topics, including design tips, the latest trends in the industry, and how to make your website more successful.

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