KPI Series: Referrals

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Hello, hello and happy Thursday! It’s another rainy day here in Paris, perfect for cuddling up to your laptop for a little KPI love fest. 

Today we’re going to get cozy with a special key performance indicator called Referrals. Each of your website visitors, whether they want to or not, distinctly marks their path through the cyber sphere. By using data analytics tools to determine where each of your visitors came from, you can gain valuable insight into how and why your visitors find you. By examining referral sub-metrics such as referral by traffic source, keyword, and search phrase, you can retrace your visitors path to your site by keyword, search query, search engine, etc.

You benefit from the ability to see who your referrers are in terms of traffic volume and quality of traffic. You can see which referrers aren’t working and potentially re-evaluate your relationship with those who generate low quality traffic.



Traffic by referring sites- Examining this metric in terms of sheer traffic volume by each referrer indicates their effectiveness at mobilizing traffic toward your site and can help diagnose SEO problems. Traffic fluctuations or rapid declines can hint at underlying issues; For example, if traffic from a specific search engine like Google drops by 60% but all other search engine traffic remains constant, then you can assume that your SEO efforts have been devalued by this specific search engine.

Quality of Referrer- You can gauge the quality of traffic directed by each referrer in terms of time spent on page, bounce rate, and conversion rate. Low quality traffic generated from a referrer- namely with a high bounce rate and low conversion rate**- indicates that these have been directed to your website by an irrelevant keyword or a misleading advertisement. In this case, you should re-evaluate your search keywords or revamp your content and advertisements to accurately reflect your company and your product. If your engagement rate from all referrers is low, then it’s likely that your visitors are puking and bouncing after looking at your design and/or content.

**However, if your conversion rate AND bounce rates are low, it’s not necessarily a red flag. As long as your visitors are cruising around your site then your referrer is doing something right!

Visits Referred by Specific Keyword- It’s time to give your keywords a little checkup. Check out this metric to see if any keywords unknown to you are carrying a substantial amount of traffic. Keep these in mind during your next SEO campaign. Make sure to keep an eye on your keyword rankings to see if a drop in traffic is a result of a keyword ranking as opposed to a search volume problem.

Visits by Search Queries/Phrases: Take a look at which search queries and phrases generate the highest conversions and work to improve your rankings. Make sure to dedicate some time to beautify and perfect the landing pages that the popular search queries connect to.

So, one more KPI down but many more to go! Hopefully it's now clear that your referrals indicate much more than the mere origin of your website traffic. When dissected into relevant sub-metrics, your referrals can indicate disguised issues with your SEO, keyword rankings, advertisements, and landing pages. With a holistic view of your website traffics' journey, you'll be able to cut out the dead ends and streamline their journey straight to your door!