Referral traffic describes the people who come to your domain from other sites, without searching for you on Google. When someone visits a link from a social network or website and they end up on another site, tracking systems from Google recognize the visitor as a referral. Companies also use UTM codes to track precisely where these traffic sources come from.

Referral traffic comes from backlinks. When businesses get the right backlinks, they also deliver consistent sources of additional traffic to the website. Links are frequently passed from one social group to another.

The benefits of referral traffic

Referral traffic is an important metric to watch for inbound marketers. It sends potentially valuable visitors to the website from trusted domains while getting your content in front of new people. With UTM tracking, it’s also possible to discern which sites and social profiles are generating the most traffic for your website.

Referral traffic is also relevant for SEO. When someone visits a website from another site, they’re typically clicking a link or completing a specific social activity. The Google algorithm sees these links as positive ranking factors since they signal users’ confidence in the authority and relevance of the information.
Benefits of referral traffic include:

  • Improved brand exposure and recognition
  • Better SEO through consistent backlinks
  • Development of networking opportunities and future leads
  • Ability to tap into a new, diverse audience

Social media and referral traffic

Social media sites are some of the most valuable sources of referral traffic today. Studies show that up to 89% of marketers see social media generating more exposure for their company. Additionally, efforts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and more helped to increase traffic for 75% of organizations.

Every time you share a piece of content on social media, you have the opportunity to build your follower relationships, improve your SEO and create an opportunity to send referral traffic to your website. To take full advantage of referral traffic through social media, businesses need to engage with their audience and build relationships on each of their networks. Creating brand ambassadors means your customers will begin to share your content for you and expand your reach.
Tips for earning referral traffic on social media

There are many ways that companies can increase their referral traffic using social media strategies. For instance:

  • Time your posts to ensure that you’re sharing your posts when your followers are most active.
  • Use a scheduling calendar like Sprout Social’s to maintain consistency in your sharing.
  • Use social media plugins on your website to enable easy social sharing.
  • Make your content as visual as possible. Social posts with images lead to up to 650% more engagement than posts with text alone.