Why Referral Traffic Matters

Referral traffic and SEO

Referral traffic is not the sexiest of digital marketing topics but it *is* important and while dessert is a wonderful thing–eating your vegetables is a crucial part of growing up big and strong. Think of referral traffic as your vegetables.


Generating traffic to your website should be one of your top marketing goals because it’s what helps you generate revenue. Without traffic, you’ll have no leads to capture, no prospects to convert, and an empty sales funnel full of sadness and broken dreams. Referral traffic, however, comes in many shapes and sizes so it’s important to know not only what it is but which kind of referral traffic matters most to you.  


What is Referral Traffic?


Referral traffic is a search engine’s method of reporting and tracking visits that come to your website from other sites. Typical referral sources are paid campaigns (PPC/SEM), social referrals (from social media platforms), email marketing, and content marketing. Basically, referral traffic is traffic that is driven to your site through a link posted on another site. Basically, it’s when a different website is referring their visitors to your website. It’s important because you’ve been vouched for by another source which increases your quality score and authority.


When a person visits a website and that website directs them to a different site, that person will often assume that the link will take them to a high-quality page. Essentially, the trust built between the originating website and their visitors will transfer over to some degree. This, in turn, will make these leads higher quality and more trusting than leads that you may have generated via organic or paid methods.

How to Boost Referral Traffic


It’s not difficult to understand why referral traffic can be beneficial–but knowing how to get more referral traffic can be a challenge. You’re depending on other websites to direct their own hard-earned traffic to your website and that can be tricky. The following are a few ways that you can boost your referral traffic:


  • Get listed on review websites/directories. There are few referrals that are more trusted than those provided by other customers or clients. Review sites, such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and the Better Business Bureau, are a great source of referrals. People who visit these sites are generally nearing the end of their buyer’s journey and are doing research comparing reviews of different companies. Make sure that your company is listed on review sites that are relevant to your business.
  • Share content on social media.  Social referral traffic is traffic you can generate yourself using your business’ social profiles. Share links to blog content on your social channels, create CTAs that drive users to take actions like signing up for an ebook or a coupon.  This allows your followers to engage with your content and when they share or like your content, they are referring you to the people within their network. There will be a chance that the people in their networks see your content on their timeline and will then visit your page by clicking on it.
  • Build relationships on social media. Find industry influencers on social media and begin sharing their content and commenting on it. You’re likely to attract their attention by basically referring your audience to them. They will likely return the favor by liking and sharing your posts as well. You don’t have to get major influencers to make a dent–see who on your page is a big brand ambassador and reach out to them–these “micro-influencers” can have less than 1,000 followers and still make a big impact on your business. Never underestimate the power of customer service. Side note: Influencer marketing is not free–so be prepared to get asked for compensation in return for promotions.
  • Write guest posts on relevant blogs. Writing guest posts on websites that are relevant to your business is an excellent way to get referral traffic. Your content will get exposure to that website’s audience, which means that you’ll immediately garner some interest (as long as the content is of high quality). When you write guest posts, the blog will generally link back to your website’s blog on the same page, thereby driving their readers back to your site.

Although SEO and PPC are both effective and important traffic generating strategies, don’t forget about referral traffic. Referral traffic is a great way to attract high-quality leads to your website, so be sure to implement a few of these tactics to help boost your referral traffic.