Whether you are a website owner, business owner or you are running a blog, you have certainly heard about how important referral traffic is to boost your website traffic and grow your business.

So what exactly is referral traffic? And more importantly how do you increase your referral traffic?

If those are the questions that pop into your mind, we got you covered!

Definition of referral traffic

If you quickly look over for the definition of the verb refer or referring, you will find the following: to direct for information, to direct the attention, to hand over or submit for information.

In the website analytics space referral traffic describes your website visitors that are directly coming from links on other websites/domains, instead of accessing your website from search engines. In other words, those websites are referring to your website via direct link.

Why referral traffic matters?

Referral traffic can help your website and business grow in a variety of ways.

First of all, visitors that are sent to your website from other websites will most probably be from the same target niche, so this website traffic is a lot more focused and will convert more visitors to actual users. On top of this, referring works as a recommendation and people are more likely to trust you which in turn will mean they are more likely to make a purchase or subscribe to your service, increasing your business revenue.

Referral traffic also increases your ranking in the results of search engines. Ask yourself how many times have you done a Google search and only looked at the first page of the results. This means that the higher your website will rank the more likely your organic traffic will increase.

It is important to note that not all referral traffic is good. If you are getting visitors from the wrong source, they won't be subscribing or buying your product, because they won't be in the target audience.  There are website analytics tools that help you find the right referral traffic for you.

For example, we list the referrals sorted in descending order by visit number:

Referrals in 123Metrics

For simplicity, we also group all the different types of domains and subdomains under one 'parent' referral when it comes to referral traffic from Google, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

With this kind of data, you can find out more about where your visitors are coming from, and focus your marketing efforts in the most productive direction.

How to increase referral traffic?

This is no easy task, but if it were easy, everyone would do it, so you can use this to your advantage.

Here are a few pointers on how you can increase your referral traffic to your website:

  • Write original and valuable content on your website in order to drive people to link to it.
  • Try your hand at answering niche specific questions on platforms like Quora. A quality answer won't just be a simple copy-paste of a link to your website. Instead, try to answer the question in the most valuable way you can and if you manage to sneak in your website link, then it's a win!
  • After Google, YouTube is considered to be the second most valuable search engine. You could create videos relevant to your line of work that help drive more referral traffic to your website. Video is one of the easiest ways to share and information and people generally prefer a video, instead of reading an article. After all, the saying is that "a picture is worth a 1000 words", then how about a video?
  • Research some other blogs or websites in your niche and ask their owners if you can create some quality content for them (that will be posted on their website/blog) in which you can feature your website. This is otherwise known as guest-posting and it works rather nicely if done correctly, bringing more referral traffic.
  • You can use social media to your advantage. Create and share meaningful content that helps you get traction.
  • If there are influencers in your line of work, contact them and try to start a collaboration. This can be anything from writing reviews to making giveaways.

Referral traffic can be a valuable resource if used correctly.  Start small, focus on one thing at a time and you will manage to gradually increase your referral traffic and grow your website. Good luck!