Did you know there is more to the Referral Traffic Sources in your Google Analytics than just the referral domains themselves? Here are a few things you can learn by clicking on some of the domains listed under your Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals.
What Twitter User Really Sends You Traffic & Your Most Popular Posts on Twitter
Want to find out who is really sending the most traffic to your website via Twitter? Look no further than the t.co domain in your Traffic Sources. When you click on this, you will see the specific t.co links that have led visitors to your website.
Copy the Referral Path listed, then paste it into your browser after http://t.co so you can go to the post or page that it references. In another tab (if you don’t have this already), install the Topsy Trackbacks bookmarklet on your bookmarks toolbar. Then go to the tab with your post and click on the Topsy bookmarklet. You will now see most of the tweets for your page in Topsy.
When you get to the All posts about this link section, scroll to the bottom and click on the more link until you’ve pulled most of the tweets for your post (which could take a while, depending on how many times the page has been tweeted). Then use your browser’s Find on Page (CTRL + F) and paste in the Referral Path again. It should take you to one (or more) tweets with the t.co link that you pulled from Google Analytics. The first person who tweeted it is the source of your Twitter traffic!
Going back to your Referral Paths from t.co, you can also use this to see which posts on your site get the most Twitter traffic. Simply click on the Secondary dimension dropdown and select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.
This will show you the posts each t.co link references.
Pages with Traffic from Image Search
Curious what posts or pages on your website get the most traffic from Google Images search? Find out by clicking on the google.com domain in your traffic sources and then click on the /imgres Referral Path. Next, use the Secondary dimension dropdown and, again, select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.
Be sure to check out the images on those pages to see if you can use similar images for future posts / pages on your site for more image related traffic!
Guest Posts, Comments, or Crowdsourcing
When you’re looking at your Traffic Sources, it’s easy to tell which source is related to your guest posting, commenting, or sites you contribute answers to for crowdsourced posts. If you do multiple activities on one site, then you need to click on that site’s domain and drill down to the Referral Paths to see which activity gets the best results from that site.
By drilling down on my own referral traffic from Social Media Examiner, I could see that it comes from a variety of things, including one guest post, making their top blog list, a crowdsourced post, and a link left to one of my posts in the forums.
LinkedIn Shares, Groups, Answers, or Company Pages
If you are active on LinkedIn and take advantage of different things such as sharing your posts on your profile, LinkedIn groups, LinkedIn Answers, or on your company page, then you will probably want to know which of those activities bring the most traffic to your website. Click on linkedin.com in your Traffic Sources to see the following.
Here, I can see that the most traffic comes from shares within groups (/news), followed by status updates (/home, /profile/view, and /share), more group shares (/groupItem), and Answers (/groupAnswers).
Most Popular Posts on StumbleUpon
It’s tough to find things on StumbleUpon sometimes, including which posts from your own sites are the most popular on their network. If you want to see which posts on your site get the most StumbleUpon traffic, click on stumbleupon.com in your Traffic Sources, then click on the refer.php Referral Path. Next, use the Secondary dimension dropdown and, again, select Landing Page under Traffic Sources.
Now you can see which posts have driven the most StumbleUpon traffic over the last year. This is great to reference when you are determining what new content you want to create and how it will fare on the SU network. Going forward, with the latest changes to the SU networks, you will just look at any links starting with /su/ in the Referral Paths.
If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out basic Google analytics tips.
Do you go deeper into your Google Analytics Traffic Sources? What other discoveries have you found about your referral traffic?