Find the Best Referral Traffic Sources and Focus (Before It’s Too Late)

Feb 7, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  28 Comments

Jeffrey Davis recently reported a 30%- 40% drop in his site’s referral traffic from StumbleUpon. There’s absolutely no doubt that SU is one of the most potential sources for getting a good amount of referral traffic. In fact, many blogs receive as much as 60%-80% of their overall traffic from SU.

After SU rolled out their redesign last year, users felt quite happy to know that the site was paying some careful attention to its on-topic features. But, as soon as, SU bid adieu to direct links recently, everyone was taken aback. Earlier, you could easily ‘x’ out a page and visit the original URL from inside the site. Now, while logged in, you can’t get out so easily.

There’s one way, though somewhat clumsy. If you want to visit the original source, you need to copy-paste the URL above, while leaving the SU part of the URL out.

Here’s what the URL looks like.

Well, SU is trying to confine users within its own eco-system. Funny, isn’t it?

On the other hand, Pinterest (a visual bookmarking site) is attracting eyeballs from many sides. Though it’s a new entrant in the social arena, it’s fast turning into a potential sources of traffic for a wide range of businesses. According to a recent report by Shareaholic, Pinterest is now rivaling Twitter in terms of driving referral traffic to a website or blog.

What’s more, Pinterest is generating more referral traffic than its elder social brothers like Google+, LinkedIn and Youtube are doing together. Though a lot of businesses are still quite unaware of the traffic opportunities that a social bookmarking site as young as Pinterest can bring, others are flocking to this Pinboard in large numbers.

Though Facebook still rules when it comes to driving referral traffic, Pinterest is fast picking up steam. The growth of this visual pinboard has been phenomenal over the last couple of months. Shareaholic recent findings (after analyzing data from as many as 200,000 publishers) reveal that Pinterest drove around 3.6% referral traffic in January this year, shooting up from merely 17% in July and 2.5% December last year.

Many have been reported to ditch SU as well.

So, Do You Need a Shift in Your Referral Traffic Strategy?
Absolutely! If you don’t evaluate your site’s referral traffic statistics now, it may be too late. You really need to know about the sources that drive the maximum traffic to your website or blog.

Log into your Google analytics account and click ‘Referring Sites’ under the Traffic Sources tab on the dashboard right away. Find out what those referring sources stats look like. When you know what sources work most in your favor, you can adjust your traffic generation strategy effectively.

Did you notice a sudden drop in your site’s referral traffic from SU? Which social platforms drive most of this traffic to your site? Please feel free to talk back in comments.

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Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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  • David

    Pinterest is interesting because it is visual. It is not for everybody – you can’t promote SEO visually in any sustained manner – it looks like it is set to be very big anyone selling interesting looking products, travel, or anything else primarily visual.

    • You’re right that Pinterest is most beneficial for some specific industries. However, I think creativity knows no bounds. You can always come up with some unique ideas to engage your target audience visually.

      Regardless of the type of business you own, you can always use the idea of sharing some cool pictures that reflect the work culture at your company or show what goes on behind the scenes.


  • Catherine says:

    Good unique content which google love and some backlinks (high quality do follow)..Thank a lot for sharing this great share to us..

  • Tessa says:

    I haven’t try Pinterest. But past few years i am using SU and i am getting 40% of referral traffic through it. So i would like to continue to focus on SU rather than something new.

    • That means SU ha been kind to your site till now. 🙂 Absolutely, if you don’t notice any drop in your SU referral traffic, there’s nothing to worry.

      In any case, you shouldn’t forget to try Pinterest.

      Thanks for your comment, Tessa.

  • Marbella says:

    Hi Obaidul,
    My traffic comes from good SEO building with the right keyword research, and the title also building around the keywords. Google is my site the very best to deliver good traffic.

  • laura says:

    Hmmmm…. Everybody talks about Pinterest. I guess it’s time to give it a try.

  • Glad you liked it, Catherine!

  • I keep saying I will look at Pinterest more seriously because everyone is talking about it but I just haven’t found the time. This is the 3rd article on it I have read in the last 2 weeks so I will have to give it a look before it passes me by.

  • Ray says:

    I used to get some decent traffic from Stumble Upon. Since they redesigned and changed their site I barely get any now. The site looks appealing and nice, but if things don’t pick up I will have to give up on it. Out with old in with the new I guess. I will give Stumble Upon a few more months yet, but I am not counting on or expecting it to pick up.

  • Venus says:

    Thanks Obaidul for bringing Pinterest to my notice.Its true that social bookmarking website are fantastic source to get your website indexed and some referring traffic.But don’t you think that the goal conversions via referring visitors are less as compared to those coming through search engines.

    • Conversion doesn’t depend on where you attract traffic from. It actually depends on whether the traffic that you’re driving has quality. Only quality traffic will result into better conversions. If you’ve targeted the wrong keywords, you may not convert visitors even after getting tons of organic traffic to your website.


      • Venus says:

        I agree with you Obaidul.The amount of visitors converting are very much dependent on keyword targeted.
        But What I feel is that there are more chances to get quality visitors via search engines i.e by typing the keyword rather than through a link from any website.

  • Tushar says:

    Google is one and only one best traffic source in the world. 🙂 be ready to increase it.

  • bbrian017

    Hi Obaidul, I’ve never really used SU much, in fact I only use it to share all my blogging friends content and that’s it. Right now all my traffic at blog engage is direct of search engine generated. Now that I’m full time running the business I will be focusing more on social media traffic and blog commenting. Perhaps even pinterest as well.

  • Nancy says:

    For me Google is the best way to use for traffic..Thanks for the post..

  • Dave Ventura says:

    Stumble Upon is one of the excellent website where you can obtain high quality referral traffic. Its my first time to see other social sites such as Pinterest, maybe i could lean on some time and try it. Thanks for sharing I’ve gain useful thought. 🙂

  • ReviewGates

    At the moment the best source of referral traffic to my site is coming from Stumble upon and Digg. So my personal idea is social bookmarking sites are the best sources of referral traffic, isn’t it??

  • Corine Miller

    Great Post. Very informative. This information should save many brand new internet marketers from making the common mistake of believing all the mis leading get rich quick schemes that are being advertised all over the internet. It is refreshing to read honest internet marketing information instead of all the false promises that so many blog posters write. Have A Wonderful Day Corine Miller

  • Tudor Davies says:

    Pinterest is great for driving traffic as long as you host your own images and only pin them. I wrote a blog on the topic:

  • Ravi Verma says:

    Nice post about the referral sites. As you know that referral sites play a vital role in the search engine ranking. We can’t avoid them. All most every internet marketers use this technique to improve site traffic and ranking. Pinterest is the good referral traffic site which is giving more traffic to the sites.