What is referral traffic?

Referral traffic within Google Analytics allows you to track which domains (and pages in those domains) are referring traffic to your site. Examples of referrals could be social media platforms, landing pages, blogs, another website, etc. Referrals exclude traffic generated from search engines. If you’re currently not concerned with your site’s referral traffic, you should be! It can provide some insightful (and surprising!) data regarding where your traffic is coming from. To find your site’s referral traffic in Analytics, select Acquisition, then All Referrals.

What can you learn from referral traffic?

First and foremost, the All Referrals report displays the path in which the visitor arrived at your site. You’re able to view acquisition, behavior and conversion metrics based on each referral path. Want to know if your banner ad on a partner’s website is worth your marketing spend? Did that Facebook campaign drive any traffic? How did that landing page perform? The All Referrals report can shed insights into these scenarios and more.

A few key metrics to take into account when looking at referral traffic are the number of sessions, bounce rate, average session duration, transactions and revenue. If you’re finding that visitors aren’t converting or your bounce rate is high, you’re getting the wrong kind of referral traffic. Take a look at which pages these visitors are viewing, as well as where they exit. This may provide some insight into what they’re looking for and why they’re leaving.

Why is it important?

Learning which referral sources drive the most traffic can help in the creation of a strategic outreach campaign. Identify your key referrals and learn more about them: the topics they cover or products they’re interested in. Enhance your content marketing and product promotion to cater to that specific audience. You’ll be able to know which content attracts certain audiences and have an advantage moving forward.

Referral traffic can also help to improve your ranking on search engines. It’s obvious, in the world of SEO, that linking is key. The more times and places that your site is linked to, the better your chances are at securing a higher position in search results.

The Bottom Line
Don’t ignore your site’s referral traffic! Use it to uncover potential leads and track campaigns. Pay attention to which pages visitors are viewing and where they’re leaving. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to enhance your outreach strategy and better optimize your landing pages. Have questions regarding your site’s referral traffic? We have the answers.