Using Analytics to Discover What Referring Sites Are Converting

I’m at home on a Saturday with the Flu. There’s one good thing about being sick. Since I can’t go anywhere I might as well work.

I’m doing something we very rarely do around here; spend time on our own web site.

I’m looking at the traffic from our referral sites using Click Tracks and wanted to show you how you can use analytics to analyze the traffic from your referrers.

With site analytics, as opposed to web site reports or stats, you not only see the amount of traffic from the referral sites, but you can also see the numbers of visitors who converted in some way.

Our main web site is small; probably about 30 pages in total (this doesn’t include our blog which is a sub web).

There are two key visitor behaviors we track, visitors who reach our Contact Us page where they may pick up the phone (We don’t employ any offsite tracking system for phone calls other than asking how people found us).

In addition, there’s an inquiry form on our Contact page.  We track the numbers of visitors who fill out this form too.

I’ve pulled the data from a few referring sites, in this case three search marketing or search optimization directories where we are listed:


In the first one, SEO Directory A, you’ll see we received a total of 46 visitors. Seven of those visitors, or about 15%, went on to view our Contact Us page and one them, about 2%, filled out the inquiry form.

The second one brought us less visitors, but they converted a little better (as a percentage). We received a total of 36 visitors. Seven of those visitors, or in this case about 19.5%, went on to view our Contact Us page and one them, about 2.7%, filled out the inquiry form.

If we were paying for these listings I could do some calculations to get an approximate cost per visitor and per conversion, compare it to other sources of traffic, etc.

Build traffic from referring sites that are converting well
So what do with this information? If you see referring sites that are converting well consider building your relationship with them. Perhaps they have enhanced listings or advertising you might try. They might have a newsletter you can sponsor. See if they accept articles. Do they show industry news? If so get the correct contact to add to your media list (See this Post for more on Media Lists: Is The Effectiveness of Optimized Online Press Releases Declining?)

Look at the third listing in the chart above, SEO Directory C. We received only 10 visitors from this site. But four of those visitors, or 40%, looked at our Contact Us page and two of the, 20% submitted an inquiry form.

It turns out this is traffic from a directory where we let a membership expire. We’re no longer listed in the main directory. You know what I just did? I sent them a message, “Hey, how do we rejoin?”

See if you can improve conversions from sites not converting well
What if you have significant numbers of visitors from a referral site and little or no conversions?

First make a judgment call as to whether you think this traffic should be converting better. For example we get traffic from some used car web site (I have no idea why and haven’t spent the time to figure it out). As you might expect none of this traffic converts and I wouldn’t expect it to. So I spend no time worrying about this site.

However if the traffic is coming from a site you think should be converting better, consider what you might do to fix this. For example, should you have visitors land on a specific, more relevant page on the site or even setup a special landing page just for these visitors? Should you add other conversion points, such as free information downloads to get their contact info or include a newsletter signup, etc

If you’re paying for traffic from sites that aren’t converting and you can’t improve the conversion rates you’ll have the data to decide whether to renew or not.

For More Information –

Improving Conversion Rates with Conversion Point Architecture

Information on Web Analytics and Click Tracks