Web Analytics – Simply Reviewing Referring Sites for Opportunities

January 12th, 2008

web analytics referring sitesTime flies when you have to manage a website. But, who has time to dissect all areas of website analytics when there are so many other tasks to do?

Let’s imagine this scenario:
You pull summary reports from your website analytics (like Google Analytics, Urchin etc..) and then “ooh and aah” over some of the metrics and share it with others within your company. But in the end, all the information is too overwhelming and you don’t have enough time to actually analyze or dig deep for opportunities to grow your website traffic (act on it).

You also fall into the category of being the so-called “web person” for your company, dealing with a lot of tasks and not having enough time to do it all. You are refreshing the site with content edits, trying to trouble shoot why a form isn’t working for your boss and also the “email” or “marketing person” at the same time.

If you have limited resources and time , I highly recommend reviewing only one section of your website analytics if you want to grow your website traffic and be a hero. That section would be the “referring sites” or “referrals”. You can look good and be proactive with growing your website traffic in no time!

So what’s the big deal about looking at “referring sites”?
Well, sometimes other site managers may link to your site or even write an editorial piece about your product and service without your knowledge. These comments or links can be positive or negative. You should act on them either way, as they may be an open door for more exposure and more traffic being directed to your site.

Where do you look?
Within your Analytics account, you will see the top referring link, you may have to click on it and drill down to the exact URL that is linking to you. It will save you a lot of time; so you don’t have to search high and low on where you are mentioned on their site.

What should you do?

Once you find the exact link within the referring site – visit the page and check out where you are being referenced. Evaluate the referring site with an open-mind and see if you can get some ideas on how you can get more exposure with them.

Here are some scenarios I have personally experienced that may give you some ideas for opportunities:

  1. You sell products or services and a referring site lists your company as one of the providers in their directory listing. See if they have an advanced profile section, where you can post your full company blurb or even your logo. Some may or may not charge you for it.
  2. A magazine reporter an editorial on tips about your industry and links to your site as being one of the few providers (they most likely just Googled you and wanted to give their readers some choices). Try to contact the writer at the referring site and propose to supply them with future tips or even full articles. You’d be surprised at how many editorial writers love having someone else doing their work! Just make sure the tips are unique and are not so specific to your product (not a hard sell); it can subtly suggest your product/services.
  3. Someone rates/reviews your products on a portal site and it is positive. Check out if the portal site offers paid advertising options or even an e-mail list sponsorship package. This portal will most likely have tons of other visitors who are interested in your products (with the same profile likes and dislikes as the original reviewer/member). This tactic can be a very focused medium for your company to get more leads from the web.
  4. A site that sends you visitors may have a blog that you can comment on. That is, if the topic is related to your product or service. Make sure your comments are sincere and not spam and also link back to your site. Beware – if you leave a so-called spam comment – it will be deleted.

Hopefully you will find the above tips helpful. I found it so beneficial to drill down within the referring sites. There are so many gems and opportunities within one section of your analytics!

If you want to share similar experiences on this topic, I encourage you to leave a comment!

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