Google Analytics: the importance of references in SEO

For many of us, our websites act as our storefront for potential customers and those interested in our services/products. Websites can also act as a conversation starter for people who are becoming more and more accustomed to the idea of ​​social marketing. Therefore, it is essential that you know who is talking about your website and where your website is being displayed, be it on social media or business directories, blogs or news sites.

Referral traffic is your bread and butter to understand this. It is an important element that allows you to find out where you are online and what people are saying about you and your business.

How do you find your referral traffic?

You can find your referral traffic in Google Analytics, if you do not already have your website connected to Google Analytics it is imperative that you do so.

1) Login to your Google Analytics account and navigate to the left side, here you will find ‘Traffic Sources’ – click on it.

2) You will see it drop down and find the ‘Sources’ sub-tab – click on it.

3) At the bottom you will see ‘Referrals’ – Clicking on this will show you where people are coming from to get to your website, it’s as easy as that.

What do I do with this information?

Here is a story for you:

Our website was getting a lot of referral traffic from the popular social site Reddit. I already knew from my years in Social Media Marketing that Reddit means good news or bad news: it’s rarely in the middle and it entirely depends on which ‘sub-reddit’ you post to.

I clicked through and discovered that one of my articles had been posted to the Automotive sub-reddit; Since this is our industry, you can imagine I was pleasantly surprised. Someone took the time to read my article and enjoyed it so much they thought it was worth sharing – unique content always wins.

I signed up on Reddit under the name of the company and began to engage in discussion about my article, answering questions about where I got my sources from and what I thought about it in a more meaningful and insightful way – people liked the fact that a seemingly faceless item. The organization had a committed marketing team that was genuinely interested in their thoughts and feelings.

Before engaging with Reddit users, our referral traffic for this article had 46 unique views. After participating in the discussion, it jumped to just under 600, many of whom moved on to other pages and some even asked us for dates.

This again snowballed not only in potential sales, but also in more of our content being shared by the sub-600 who started happily sharing other posts I had written – this was a win-win situation.

Referral traffic is not only great for spotting potential social engagement, it also allows you to discover the bad and ugly things being said about your business. As a good example, someone had posted our website on a tacky forum, although it was a genuine discussion about our product, it was not a website they wanted our brand to be associated with. I doubt that the spiders and Google will like it. either.

I contacted the webmaster of the forum and asked him to remove it from his website; they were happy to oblige.

So what exactly do I have to do?

Monitoring your referral traffic ensures that you can wear both the social hat and the SEO hat too.

If you engage with meaningful comments about your product, service, or blog post, you show the consumer that you don’t just treat people like sales targets.

You can find traffic that can damage your reputation and stop it – it’s all about brand recognition.

You don’t need to participate in every discussion, sometimes you don’t, but any social platform that your website is referenced is an opportunity for you to engage with people in our ever-growing social world.

Add authority to your posts, show readers that you are a committed company with a vested interest in opinions and thoughts, not just your salary.

The ultimate gains from doing this are easy to see. It gets more trusted and engaged visitors, gives your business a social voice across platforms never seen before, and can spot hot spots to reduce the risk of your name being tarnished on a bad website.

Directors and senior managers are often interested in a single metric, Return of investment – now it’s your job to show them the value of return of commitment.

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