What Web Analytics Has Taught Me

Do you want more referral traffic? Referral traffic come from other sites who link to you. Many of my clients want more traffic from referral because this traffic is more qualified. Here's how.

Individuals who come to your site by a link receive an implied endorsement from the site they found the link. Sometimes a recommendation, other times interest is created through content organization. This is very important for conversion.
Building referral traffic starts with research. I like numbers and if you are willing to crunch log files for a little data mining, you can extract real gems. In this article I'll cover several referral source categories discovered in my research.
A quality traffic referral can mean the difference between spending thousands on PPC, SEO, or search engine marketing services; or just getting qualified visitors up front. Here's a rundown of quality referral source categories that bring quality traffic to your business website:

  1. Local community and regional directories. These sites include main stream yellow page directories, local interest sites, and city papers. Your local news paper website or business groups chapter websites.
  2. Local and regional state websites. This includes the local university, county seat, or federal bidding board. These links lend credibility and are easy to get if you know how.
  3. Industry directories and association websites. Again, inbound linking is about credibility, not just traffic. Be seen as a part of your industry, link to association websites and participate so you get links back.
  4. Client company intranets and purchasing boards. Be where your customer looks most frequently for information. Many of your clients and larger organizations have Intranet directories for preferred vendors.
  5. Google and Yahoo image search. Properly tagged graphics on your website help individuals find you, while demonstrating your businesses value. This is a huge value to technical service firms with complex products if used correctly.
  6. Article directories and trade publications. If done correctly article marketing is viable for the business-to-business firm, especially in today's knowledge based economy. Break your content up into smaller articles and target directories which specific categories that match your business (no category means no interest.)
  7. Big search engine geographic specific directories. Both Yahoo and Google, as well as several large search engines in other countries have local directories to which branch offices can be registered. If you are doing business in that locale then you'll benefit from local search optimization as search engines are giving preference to local providers.

Note: What you have just read is from years of research, log analysis, and work for clients. In my tool kit B2B Website Profits, you'll find a complete list to long to include here, with all the best quality referral sources for business websites. Stay tuned for future excerpts.

There is a caveat to everything provided here, you must have a contextual match with how you are presented in these locations. Audience focus is everything. Just having a link from this won't do it, you must be in front of prospective customers.
Further, that means you aren't in your local Yellow Pages just because it is there, you are there only if your customers use the Yellow Pages for finding your type of service. If your tests show customers are not using one type of Internet directory over another, then move on to the next category.
Your websites referral log will give you all the answers about what is working and what is not. This information is also included in your website traffic report created by web analytics software.
Quality traffic referral sources are cultivated, something I've covered in another article. The good news is that you can attract them, buy them, and build them contextually with quality content.
Your customer behavior will change over time, that's why testing is critical. If you have been cultivating customer relationships, you can ask what resources do they use to find comparable or complementary solutions. This exercise identifies other places you must be seen.
Being seen isn't everything, you want customer attracting copy that moves visitors to take action toward your site today. How to write your directory listing is important, and will be covered in a future article.
As a business website will need to have a good reason to be in most of these sites, have that reason before approaching them. You may find some are great for direct links, others for media coverage, and some for paid listings.
Do your homework, work with a quality search engine marketing firm, and test. Referral traffic done right is qualified traffic, easily turned to leads or sales at your business website.
© 2009 B2B Website Profits, All rights reserved.

author avatar
Justin Hitt
A business analyst who specializing in sales generating marketing copy. Author, copywriter, and publisher of newsletters that help clients transform business relationships into profits guaranteed. More than 20 years of experience with technical writing, sales copy, and lead generation. Reach him by Fax at +1 (276) 254-8747