It is widely accepted among website referral traffic experts that referral links from a well established website to a newer one will provide “link juice” and gradually improve the ranking of the newer site. But, what happens when your website is fairly new and you only have one or two non-social media referral links? I was in this position. I tested an idea about how to put referral traffic on steroids and squeeze every bit of traffic out of one or two links. My simple idea worked so I thought I would share it with you.
PLEASE READ MY DISCLAIMER ABOUT AFFILIATE LINKS.
Gaining website traffic is one of the biggest struggles a new website faces. Whether your website is an ecommerce store, a blog, a software as a service (SAAS), or any other type of website, it will not be a success without traffic. There are many effective ways to grow traffic, but most of them take time. I wanted immediate results. I tested this idea on both this blog site and my ecommerce store. Here are the simple steps you will take:
1. Discover Your Existing Referral Links
Besides the referral links I saw in my Google Analytics dashboard, I was curious about whether I had any additional backlinks to my websites that I could use to drive additional traffic. Unless you suddenly notice a big spike in traffic, other websites may have linked to your site without you ever knowing about it. I wanted to learn everything I could about these referral links and what kind of value they held.
I researched a few different services that provide backlink reports, but I fell in love with Monitor Backlinks. Monitor Backlinks provides tons of rich information, but for the purpose of this topic, increasing referral traffic, I will touch on the most important features.
How Monitor Backlinks Works
Sign up for a 30 day free trial (no credit card required) to get the referral traffic flowing and then you can always upgrade or cancel later. If you decide to take advantage of all of the features and continue to use this referral traffic growing technique, upgrade to a paid version in July and save 25%. The paid subscriptions start at only $24.90 per month and provide everything you will need for one website. I used the free trial and then quickly upgraded to the Professional package, which allows for 4 websites to be added.
With the free trial, you can add two websites and see detailed data. You can also schedule alerts in the event that additional referral links are backlinked to your site. So cool!
After you sign up, the set up is simple. You will link to your Google Analytics account. If you do not have Google Analytics set up yet, don’t worry. The set up can be completed without the Google Analytics linking. Within a few minutes, you will be looking at your referral links.
Monitor Backlinks Dashboard
The first thing you will notice is the bar at the top of the screen that provides data about your website.
By spending some time with the data on this dashboard, you will be able to focus your effort on your website’s areas of weakness. For me, I see right away that I need to figure out why my website is running slowly and find ways to increase my trust flow. But, for now, I am focused on my backlinks. The dashboard shows that I have 13 backlinks.
Further down the page, I see a list of my backlinks with some other data, including when the referral link was added.
On the left side, I can view the keywords that my website ranks for and my positioning. Good info, but we don’t need it right now. On the right side, I can view each one of my backlinks, the date they were added and a few codes that will tell me what kind of link they are. Click on each link and explore who is linking to you and why. Learn as much as you can about the source of the links.
Here are the screenshots from this website (remember, these screenshots are of a 30 day old website).
This website runs a bit faster, but since it is such a new site, the Alexa rank is much higher and it hasn’t been much authority yet. That takes time. However, there is a backlink already.
Again, on the left is the list of keywords that my site is competing for. With time, more traffic, and more content, this number will go down until hopefully the website displays on the first page of Google searches. On the right is one lonely backlink. But that’s quite alright. All it takes is one referral link to grow traffic by 10%.
2. Select Your Referral Link
When I click the referral link to my new website, I discover that it links to an article that I was paid to write for Freedomwithwriting.com. This is the article that helped me to earn nearly $300 before I ever launched my blog. I talk about how I did that in this article–> How I Earned $273 From My Blog Pre-Launch
My bio is included in the article footer with my website included. I notice that the link has a green “f” next to it. This means that it is a follow link and is providing me with link juice. Disregard any referral link that does not display the “f” under Status. This traffic driving trick will only work if the link is a follow link. Since the article was published two months ago, it wasn’t giving me the same kind of traffic as when it was first published. This is the link that I am going to promote.
From the wheelzllc.com site above, I decided to promote the golfcaradvisor.com link because it links to an article I wrote for a golf cart publication and my ecommerce store’s link is included in the bio. This article is also from a few months ago and not generating the same volume of referral traffic that it did when it was first published. This link also has an “f” indicating that it is a follow link and good for these purposes.
Referral Link Checklist
- Is the referral link an “f” or “follow” link, according to the Monitor Backlinks tool?
- Does the linked content clearly allow for linking back to your website? (Ex. a bio, product review, press release, or positive mention)
- Can you easily promote it?
Now that you have identified the perfect referral link, it is time to promote it. Remember that this link directed traffic to your website once before. With a little bit of free promotion, you can get the content back in rotation and reactivate the stream of referral traffic. As part of my daily blogging checklist, I reviewed my analytics for this referral link. When it dipped down to zero for more than one day in a row, I re-shared it. Here are a few of the ways I re-shared:
- Pinned on Pinterest with different images
- Shared on Facebook to my business page as well as group pages
- Shared on LinkedIn
- Posted to Stumbleupon
- Included in a newsletter email
And here is what happened.
Can you guess the dates that I promoted the referral link? The article was published on May 29. My website launched on June 3. Between May 29 and June 3, traffic was prompted by a Coming Soon page and emails were collected. Referral link traffic was pouring in until around June 14. I pinned it in Pinterest on June17 and the traffic picked up again. On June 24, I noticed that the referral link traffic was dwindling again and I included the link in an email newsletter. On June 30, I posted the link to a couple of Facebook pages.
Amazing, right? The graph above represents a 10% increase in my new website’s traffic with this simple process. Repeat this process with every qualified referral link and watch your traffic soar.
What Are the Benefits of Promoting Referral Links?
We are so busy promoting our own websites, our own products, and our own social media platforms that we don’t consider how promoting referral links can improve our own traffic.
Here are the benefits:
- Promoting other websites, even if it benefits you, is building a good relationship with the referral. The referral will love linking to you again in the future because you do such a great job promoting their site.
- When you promote other websites, it doesn’t appear spammy. Although the link will indirectly drive traffic back to your website, promoting a referral site is a show of good faith on social media that it isn’t always about you and your website.
- Some traffic experts believe that high volume traffic from backlinks reassures Google that your website is respectable. High volume referral traffic may help your Google rankings.
Don’t be concerned if your referral link isn’t an article written by you. Referral links could be product reviews, mentions, or even About the Team pages from other websites you are part of. The important thing is that the link back to your site is apparent.
The Short and Sweet
Start following this simple process to increase referral traffic to your website by 10% or even more. If you aren’t already using a service to monitor referral backlinks, I highly recommend Monitor Backlinks. They really drill down on the referral link data and also alert you to new referral links. I love that because those alerts mean more opportunity to repeat this process and drive more traffic. Using Monitor Backlinks makes it easier to put this process on auto-pilot. And, don’t forget, if you sign up for the paid service in July, you receive 25% off FOR LIFE! I have never seen their pricing discounted like this, so take advantage of this low price. (You will be paying less than me!)
Build these simple steps into your daily checklist and squeeze every drop of traffic from your referral links. Watch your traffic improve by 10%. It really is that simple.
If you need help with this process or have any questions, reach out to me at Julie@allaboutselfmployment.com. I am here to help.