Making your website work for you Newsletter no 12

Website Referrals

I’ve always found that my best business usually comes from my existing clients who have mentioned my name or passed on details to their friends or colleagues because they are happy with my service and want to do their friend a favour.

Referrals are great because you don’t have to work so hard or spend so much to make the sale. The new prospect comes ready-primed knowing that you do a good job and are trustworthy.

Although not quite as good as a real-life introduction, it’s the same with your website. People who come to your site from a link on another website, a social site or an email are called “Referrals” which you will see listed on the Google Analytics or other website visit analysis program. Referrals are valuable because they come to your site already pre-qualified. The site they’ve come from is probably something to do with your business area (maybe a trade or professional directory) or maybe from a Facebook page or blog that is about your business area.

You can see how much traffic comes from referrals from other sites in the Google Analytics reports. The referrals report is also useful to see how many enquiries you are getting from paid directory services like Yell. So you can check whether it’s worthwhile renewing the contract or maybe increasing your spend with a premium listing.

You can increase referrals traffic by:

  1. Getting listed on local directories, including local press sites.
  2. Ensure your listings on your professional or trade directories are up to date and include your website url.
  3. Ask your suppliers, your distributors, your trade outlets, people who use your services if they will place a link to your website, with perhaps, a short description of what you do, on their website. If they have a blog (or Facebook, Twitter, Google+) they will be looking for new content and may be very pleased to include an item about you with a link to your website.
  4. Use social media to publish a news item or case study. Use whatever social network you are comfortable with and which is most relevant to your market.
  5. Get listed on directories which include reviews - like Touch Local or Trip Advisor

Take a look at your referrals list and have a think about how valuable these links are and how you could increase them.

By the way, paid link exchange systems are somewhat out of favour with Google and never really worked very well. Concentrate on getting links from and giving links to companies who are related to your business and with whom you have a good relationship.

Just a note re the Google Analytics report. Some of you may have seen there are referrals from

Semalt is a Search Engine Analysis company that is trawling websites like a search engine robot to get statistics about keywords. It isn’t following the proper rules for robots and the visits are showing up as visits and referrals. Unfortunately that means that the number of visits is inflated. So you need to subtract the number of Semalt referrals from your visits figure to get a genuine number of visits. Initially this seemed likely to be temporary, but Semalt hasn’t seen the light and behaved well so I’ve put in place a filter to remove Semalt visits from your Google Analytics reports. This will be in place from now on so the next month’s report should be free of Semalt.

You can find out more about terms like bounce rate, referrals, unique visitors at

I hope these tips on Making your website work for you are useful. Give me a call or email if you've any questions or if I can help in any way.

Best wishes

Sandra Dillon

If you found this useful and would like me to include any specific topic in a future newsletter please let me know

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