Referrer Metrics And Analytics



Referrers are by far the most important metric that you can have.

When combined with the other basic metrics and more advanced metrics like conversion rate, you’ll have invaluable data that can dramatically boost your sales and other goals.

In this section we cover the most important elements of referral tracking and a few ways in which you can use this data.



Referrers are essentially the websites, emails, ads, search engines that have links heading to your website.

When a user clicks on a link heading to your website, your analytics program will make requests to the user’s browser as to what website they just came from.

The website the user came from will be logged in your analytics program

The feature in your browser that provides referral information can be turned off if you choose to.

Your privacy is secured as no private information is provided (99% of the time).


Understanding The Referring Analytic Terms

There are some terms you should understand in regards to referral data before analyzing referral data.

The most important terms you should be familiar with are:

  • Source: Where your visitors are coming from.
  • Visits: The amount of people that came to your site through the referral.
  • Pages/Visit: The amount of pages being viewed by each visitor from the referral.
  • Avg. Time on Site: The average time the visitors from a referral spend on your site.
  • % New Visits: The percentage of visitors who’ve never been to your site before.
  • Bounce Rate: The rate at which a visitor from a referral will see your site and then leave.
  • Direct: The amount of traffic that came to your site directly by typing in the URL address.


How To Use Referreral Data

If you see that you’re getting a lot of traffic from one site but the average time spent on your site is really low from those users… that may be an indication that there’s a problem with that page and it’s not loading up properly. It could also mean that users clicking on that link are expecting something different.

If you’re conducting an Adwords campaign, referral data can be used to see which ads are performing the best. If you combine conversion metrics with your referral data, you’ll know exactly which ads are bringing in the most sales.

Referrer data is excellent for knowing where to focus your efforts. If you see that a single submission to a site like Digg gets a lot of traffic. You’ll want to focus your efforts on Digg but also create content better suited for Digg users.


Referring Keywords

Google Analytics will track what keywords were used in Google by the user that came to your site.

Paying attention to referring keywords can be extremely useful.

You’ll likely be ranked moderately well in Google for several keywords and phrases. By seeing what keywords bring in the highest quality of traffic, you’ll have a better idea of what keywords to focus on.

Knowing which keywords bring in quality traffic will be helpful when creating an Adwords campaign.

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