Referral Traffic And Link Building

When talking about web traffic and SEO, especially when it comes to referral traffic and link building, there are six main channels for how people are accessing your site.

  • Social – linked from a social media platform
  • Direct – typing in
  • Organic Search – typed in a keyword into Google, found your site, and clicked through
  • Referral – linked from a website
  • Paid Search – from a PPC campaign
  • Email – from an email campaign

To see how visitors are accessing your website, go into your Google Analytics, and check out your Acquisition.

Now that you’ve got this information, you can decide how you want to focus your traffic growth.  A HUGE way to impact your overall search engine optimization (SEO) is through referrals.

A main priority for Google (how they make their money, anyway) is to make sure that their search results are providing the most accurate results based on what you’re looking for.  To put it simply, in order to do that, their web crawlers look for relationships between websites, or who is linking to who.  If your site is getting a lot of links and referrals from a popular site in your industry, Google will look at your site as an authority and place you higher in the rankings.

Think of this way – if you recommend someone to fill an available job position, you’re staking your reputation alongside theirs.  If you are a well-known individual in your industry, that reference is going to carry more weight to the hiring party than a random individual.  The same applies with links.

Referral Traffic And Link Building

Let’s Start With The Basics:

  • Link building is an essential asset to your SEO toolbox if, and only if, they come from quality sources with authority in your industry/market and the content is relevant.
  • Paying for inbound links is a huge industry and is a waste of money.  Google continually refines their ability weed out paid links and will penalize your site for this practice.
  • Quality sites relevant to your websites will allow you to build natural and powerful “white hat” links.

Quality Links Trickle Down to Multiple Benefits

  • Increased referral traffic
  • Better exposure to wider audiences for your website
  • Cost-effective advertisement

Quality Link Building Can Be a Valuable Vote of Confidence for Your Site

  • Get recommended by authority sites
  • Approval of this caliber validates your website’s quality
  • You gain better ranking in search results

Websites Can Link to You in Two Different Ways

  • “DoFollow” Links – dofollow links allow search engines to follow them and reach your website.
  • “NoFollow” Links – nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct search engines bots that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index.
  • Most search engines use a NoFollow link to your site for general posts (facebook, twitter, etc), BUT now that some of them are pushing towards being Publishing Platforms, links from those will be listed as DoFollow, which is what will pump up your website ranking.

Anchor Text is What You Need for Ranking

  • Anchor Text is what you’re aiming for, but NOT optimized anchors.
  • Google considers optimized anchor text in press releases, guest posts, and articles as unnatural and a violation of their guidelines.

Brand Name Inclusions or Mentions Will Also Work

  • Brand mentions and associations are considered the future of link building.
  • An impending Google patent indicates that when users type in a brand name or search query and then clicks through the site, Google can store this information to weigh rankings of certain sites.
  • Google is considering mentions as a measure of authority.

Quality over Quantity

  • Google penalizes sites that use low quality links.
  • This includes bookmarking links and keyword-rich links.
  • Long story short – don’t try to game the system.


  • Failing to purge your SEO tactics of link schemes will results in downgrading your rankings in results.
  • Google’s Penguin update took care of penalties involving bad link building strategies.


If all this talk about link building and referral traffic sounds like gibberish to you but you want to know more about SEO and how it can help your business in Central Illinois, please reach out to us!  We live and breathe websites and search engine optimization and would love to talk to you about how we can help your business grow!

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