5 Quick Tips to Increase Referral Traffic


Generally speaking there are three kinds of website traffic: direct traffic, search engine traffic, and referral traffic. All are valuable and serve different purposes, but this post focuses on the third kind, referral traffic.

Referral traffic is valuable in online marketing because it sends interested readers and qualified potential customers to your site from new domains. It also provides added SEO benefits, since by definition referral traffic is driven either by an inbound link or social activity, both of which send positive signals to the search engines about your site.

Need some of that sweet ol’ referral traffic? We’ve got you covered with five simple referral traffic strategies to help.

referral traffic tips

Guest Posts

Guest posts are a great way to build up referral traffic. Especially in light of the Penguin update, it’s best to focus your guest posting efforts on sites that are related to your business, which means your content will be in front of a relevant audience providing top-notch referral traffic. If you can set up a regular guest posting schedule, all the better, because that allows you to keep your referral traffic from those sources steady over time and increase traffic to your website.

The first step in guest posting is getting a feel for the blogs you’d like to post on: Are the blog posts professional and formal or more relaxed and laid-back? Is their reader base advanced or beginner? Many blogs have strict guidelines for guest posts with specific word counts and a certain number of links you are allowed to embed, so always read the guidelines first and keep those restrictions in mind while writing.  


Pinterest has been all the rage lately and it’s no surprise why – Shareholic recently released a new study showing that Pinterest drives more referral blog traffic than Twitter. Heck, Pinterest beats Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined for referral traffic.

If you’re not pinning yet, you better get to it! Check out our new Pinterest Guide for Marketers to get started.

Press Releases

Press releases are a quick and easy way to get a wave of fresh referral traffic. It’s a great idea to do a press release for an event you’ll be hosting or to announce milestones like executive changes, earnings releases, acquisitions, and product launches. But to be honest, if you are paying for a press release, you can write about pretty much anything and pretend it’s newsworthy. Some businesses even send out press releases whenever they get a new client.

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking sites, or sites that allow you to bookmark and tag various online resources, are another easy fix for your referral traffic cravings. We get a ton of referral traffic from Stumble Upon, which lets you stumble about the internet like a drunken college student out at 2am on a Friday night. Stumble Upon allows visitors to serendipitously discover your awesome content and share it easily with others. 

Reddit is another great social bookmarking site ideal for sharing compelling content. With over 2 billion page views a month, Reddit has incredible social bookmarking potential, but marketers should be warned that only truly unique, interesting content will be welcomed. Posting on Reddit is playing with fire—submit spammy or overtly sales-focused content and your business could get berated by this extremely tech-savvy community.

If you have content you believe the Reddit community (majority is young, geeky, liberal, and internet-obsessed) would enjoy, you could reap tremendous benefits and earn valuable referral traffic. I’d recommend trying funny cat videos—works every time.

Social Networks: Facebook, Linked In, and Google+

Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ are also natural contenders for bringing in referral traffic. Just remember your platform—Facebook and Google+ tend to promote a more casual, friendly atmosphere while LinkedIn is more professional.

Share your latest blog posts, events, or even favorite blog comments. It’s fine to share a link to a page that simply needs a bump in traffic now and again, but be aware these attempts can sometimes appear spammy – your followers’ tolerance may vary.

Do you have any additional tips for building up referral traffic? We’d love to hear them!

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Dan T.
May 10, 2012

Excellent, Megan! Yes, submitting press release is a great way to increase your referrals. But I guess you need to invest a little for this.

Megan Marrs
May 14, 2012

Thanks Dan! Yeah, press releases require some money upfront, but a lot of PR sites syndicate to other news sites, so your press releases usually end up on numerous sites, making it worth the extra dollars.

Jim Nariel
May 12, 2012

Thanks. I had heard of Pinterest but I never thought it is more powerful than Google plus LikedIN and YoutubeI will start an account straight away...

Megan Marrs
May 14, 2012

Glad to help Jim. Yes, I was pretty surprised by Pinterest as well - pretty shocking that they beat out the well-known contenders.

LP University
May 16, 2012

I'm not surprised by the Pinterest thing, but it is a neat insight. Their userbase is just so laser targeted it makes it such a high quality source of traffic.

Ozio Media
May 22, 2012

Swapping links with other websites is also a good way to drive referral traffic to your website. Every webmaster is in the same boat as far as creating natural links to their pages and so swapping links is a win-win practice that also looks good to the search engines. With the latest changes to Google’s algorithm, this sort of practice will become a bigger contributor to a good page ranking.

john Shane
Jun 01, 2012

Referral traffic serves as a valuable form of traffic which also adds a lot of SEO benefits. All of the above mentioned mediums are syndicated to other traffic sources which add to their power of generation.

Sep 04, 2012

Very good guide on web traffic source. Got lots to learn about search engine traffic specifically. I do get traffic to some of my sites via the search engines but I just hate that it converts so badly sometimes…

Oct 02, 2012

Excellent post, useful tips.Thanks for sharing it.

nam viet
Oct 24, 2012

Thanks for your useful article. Actually, i have tried in many way as you mentioned above and i found that the best way to improve SERP is building a natural link. They all come from social network or referral site but remember to make sure that the content is useful with readers as this post.thank you 

Tony Nguyen
Nov 29, 2012

Hi Megan,This is truly a useful article for increasing website traffic.I think stumbleupon.com should be listed in your list.Cheers

Amit Agarwal
Feb 03, 2013

Excellent compilation of sources to get referall traffic from. I get maximum refferal traffic from facebook but had hard luck with reddit & Stumbleupon.

Michael G. Hurston
May 10, 2013

I wonder if Pinterest does better in some industries than others. While we've seen the occassional big spike from Reddit when an article picks up some momentum, we still haven't seen much traffic come from Pinterest. Facebook and Twitter users seem to flock to every post we make, while Pinterest users may repin and like, but don't seem to actually visit our links (at least from what is tracked through GA).

May 17, 2013

Referral traffic is so huge for online business. Thank you for the tips, I beleive social signals will become the best way to get targeted trafic.

Nov 14, 2013

I love the Stuble Upon analogy! I would just like to add that I get a lot of referral traffic from YouTube on some of my websites. So don't count out how impactful it can be.

Feb 07, 2014

Brilliant tips. One additional tips which I want to add is that you can also make use of such website which are actually made to buy traffic for your website.

Mar 29, 2014

Great article and referal traffic become a great source, i am getting traffic these days from Pinterest and Stumbleupon.

John Lee
May 10, 2014

On the off chance that you are similar to me, you are continually trying to increase your blog traffic. You may have worn a way into your floor covering pacing over and over again before your machine. Consistently your check you traffic detail once more. Each one time you trust that that minimal blue line has moved higher up on the screen.

David Jones
Sep 18, 2014

I am kind of lazy and for that reason press release has never been my interest. :P . However, social bookmarking has been so good to me and I used to wonder sometimes why in the world  would Reddit send that much traffic to my links :D . Nowadays, facebook is a very big player and nobody can afford to lose facebook traffic !

Nate Balcom
Mar 30, 2015

Good tips. I've been avoiding Pinterest for no good reason. According to your stats here sounds like I better get on board. LinkedIn and Reddit are great places to generate interest about your website if you participate. What some people don't understand is they must be active in these communities in order for them to be effective.

May 29, 2015

These are very helpful and informative posts about Increase Referral Traffic. I visit your blog regularly to get new things like this. Thank you

Oct 26, 2015

Thanks for sharing as it is an excellent post would love to read your future post for more knowledge- I was in search of such blog who explore my knowledge in the industry.for more knowledge.

Apr 25, 2016

Awesome Tips! most important guides to increase referral traffic for website. It helps our team lot thanks for sharing this post.

Apr 27, 2016

Nice article,but I get huge traffic only from FB. Pintrest is not working for me.

Franklin Manama
Aug 01, 2016

I'm happy and I'm on my way to increase my statistics with these tips Thanks

Oct 17, 2016

These are very helpful tips for increase website social traffic.

Gyanendra Kumar
Dec 16, 2016

One More website called StumbleUpon also generate too much of traffic and if your website is related to news or media then Facebook is just like a boon for you..

Jan 17, 2017

Nice article... Thanks for sharing!!

Feb 14, 2017

NIce article, Can you just suggest me good press release sites. Also I need to know what will be the effect of press release. Is it really needful for better ranking

Rajiv thakur
Apr 01, 2017

I love to read your post, I used to open your site and learned more and more.


Ishka Farms
May 12, 2017

Reddit really works! Got a lot of traffic within one month. All that we have to do is be genuine and follow the rules.

Jake Barrell
May 22, 2017

The techniques you shared here seems to be very helpful. I shall implement the same for my website.

Oct 25, 2017

Hi Megan,
Thanks for sharing these valuable quick tips. After implementing your tips I noticed a gradually growth in referral traffic on my website. Thanks again, keep sharing stuff like this.

Dec 07, 2017

Nice article to improve website traffic ..keep it up!

Dec 08, 2017

Thanks a lot for sharing all of the amazing info! I am looking forward to going over more posts.

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