What is referral traffic?

Referral traffic is really like world of mouth. Like one person recommends a restaurant to a friend. As a result the restaurant’s trust increasing. The same way links and referral traffic works. Another nice example of increasing trust for restaurant could be inviting fake guests to show to other people that it is popular and worth visiting. So “organic” guest walk nearby and/or search for a place to grab a bite and found it interesting cause it is popular. That is just basic psychology he-he… It works a similar way with sites and blogs. Another important thing the users or visitors, as for the restaurant, should be looked organically. If it is so the business works.

Summary: Referral traffic is a traffic that comes from other sites (sometimes marketers consider social media e.g. Facebook as a referral but it is absolutely wrong from a marketing view) to your site and mainly could be seen in your Google Analytics (or other counters) and demonstrate your trust.

How to increase referral traffic?

Nothing is easier that raise referring users amount is just buy links on popular websites. However it will look like shut up and take my money.


Placing your real links on popular sites could cost tons of bucks but squeeze drops of visits. That means that you burn the budget out without any profit.

Referral traffic in SEO

So mainly SEO traffic has nothing similar with referral one. But referral traffic directly influence SEO traffic. In addition user’s behavior from referrals and other traffic sources could be kind of trust indicator. In particular Search engines look how many time users spend on a site and every page, how many pages they had viewed during a session and then this factors can pump or dump site’s SERP positions.


How to track referral traffic

The most popular solution for tracking is apparently Google Analytics. If you versatile enough in setting it up you would discover your users in every detail. Even though default GA could give plenty of information about users, traffic sources and traffic referrals either.

How to see referral traffic in Google Analytics? Using Universal Analytics after logging in go to Acquisition and then Expand “All traffic” menu and click “Channels”. Here you can find your traffic sources structure and for sure referrals.

3Traffic sources view

After clicking on “Referral” you will see detailed view with statistics for each referral source.

4Referral view

You can easily exclude any source from being showing in current Google Analytics view by applying filters. Usually you need it if one of the sources affect all the data or for instance have a solid part of traffic that also apparently affect statistics by your site in general, it could be helpful to isolate low quality or popunder traffic to see realistic data in the reports. Creating a filter take less than a minute, just go to Admin in your GA account, choose “Filter” on a View tab and set a filter and click “Save”.

5Referral filter template

To see the referral statistics in GA4 after login go to reports, expand Acquisition menu and then click “Traffic Acquisition”. Here you will see all available data for referrals. Pay attention that setting detailed statistics for GA4 is a little tricky and you need to set utm_tags to your referral traffic sources (that is not always possible, especially if you do not control referral links).

As a matter of fact traffic from Social media or from Search engines is also referral. However users that come from different site-types have different behavior and marketers decided to classify them. So if somebody ask what is google referral traffic? – the only answer it is search traffic from Google Search.

Let`s sum up. Referral traffic is traffic that comes directly from other sites and has a redirect tale. Some of this referral are adjusted and categorized in Search, Social media and actually referrals. This traffic sources can be boosted in several ways, buy it directly and pay for every single click and then get site trust, spend months to gain “free results” with content marketing and the easiest one is to take a traffic bots. Taking bots or generated traffic in other definition is the cheapest and fastest way to gain website’s trust. Sure you won’t get any conversions but even conversion starts with trust. With a wise bots you can set any desired domain referrer and it will look like natural (or almost natural). How to get generated traffic and get any amount of hosts and sessions from any chosen traffic sources you can find on the page: How to start.