When it comes to online marketing, there’s typically three main ways a website can receive traffic:
- Search Engines: Both free organic traffic as well as paid or pay-per-click traffic
- Direct Traffic: People who directly type your website into the address bar or bookmark your website
- Referral Traffic: People who click a link on a 3rd party site and are then referred to your website
In this article, we’re going to focus on examining referral traffic, how to get it, the benefits of it, and how it can even help your search and direct traffic.
What Is Niche Referral Traffic?
As mentioned above, referral traffic is traffic which comes from a link on a 3rd party website. This can be traffic from a site as popular as FoxNews or Facebook or it can be from a small blog that only has 2 visitors per day.
Niche referral traffic more specifically is referral traffic from niche relevant websites or niche relevant pages. This traffic can come from a relevant forum, topic relevant blog post, relevant news article, relevant editorial review site, and numerous other sources. The important thing to remember with niche referral traffic is that it is highly targeted. Unlike a link or traffic from an unrelated site, niche referral traffic comes from websites or pages that are directly related to the page they are linking to.
As an example, if you run an e-commerce website selling ear buds designed for noise cancelling on airplanes, a niche relevant link could be posted on an aviation forum where someone is asking for good noise cancelling ear buds or a comment on a blog post talking about the best ear buds for traveling.
Why Do I Want Niche Referral Links?
There are dozens of reasons you would want to have links placed on niche relevant sites. First and foremost, a relevant link will drive targeted traffic to your website. Let’s compare this to the off-line world: if you were an attorney and had the option to place a billboard ad on a random highway or right in front of a courthouse, which one would you pick? The highway might get you more exposure, but the traffic isn’t very targeted. The courthouse will get you more targeted people (people with legal problems who either don’t have an attorney yet or might want a second opinion) and thus this ad will likely perform much better in terms of conversions. If exposure (or total impressions) are what you’re after for branding purposes, then niche advertising might not be the best strategy for you, but if you’re after conversions or improving your bottom line directly then this is the way to go.
On top of driving quality visits to your website, niche referral links will greatly help with SEO. Search engines are pushing quality these days, so they don’t want to see 1,000 links coming from sites built specifically for SEO purposes. Yes, some of these links are still helpful, but search engines place much more value on links that are coming directly from relevant sites, and more importantly directly in the context of those relevant pieces of text. With enough quality links from niche relevant websites, you’ll not only see a rise in referral traffic but you’ll also experience an improvement in search engine rankings and thus an increase in organic traffic.
And lastly, with niche referral traffic you are building your brand. A great way to get more exposure and build a reputation around your brand is through forming relationships, partnerships, and getting exposure through relevant 3rd party websites. In the off-line world, this is similar to how doctors with different specialties refer patients to one another. This works the same in referral traffic in that you are receiving referral traffic from relevant websites related to your niche.
Sounds Great, But How Do I Get Referral Links/Traffic?
Well, this is the hard part. Getting referral links and referral traffic is not easy, it’s very time consuming, and because of this it can be costly. As an SEO company, we often go to great lengths to get relevant links for our higher end clients (I say higher end because this type of work just can’t be done on lower cost SEO packages). We post on relevant blogs (although these comments don’t necessarily always get approved), we post on relevant forum topics (although sometimes aggressive moderators will mistake our efforts as “spam” and remove some posts), we contact relevant website owners and request allowing us to post an article on their site in exchange for a link (although this is often difficult to coordinate and very time consuming and labor intensive).
There’s really no easy way to get referral links, it really just comes down to putting in the time and working in the right places to gain these links. If I had to estimate the time it takes to get one link, I would say 1-3 hours per link is a rough figure for an average quality relevant link, and 4-8 hours for a high quality relevant link.
In closing this article, I want to mention that there’s a big difference between marketing and promoting a product/service and spamming 3rd party websites. Some people may think some of the tactics we’ve mentioned sound like spam. I personally know what spam is because I have worked as a forum moderator in the past and also have experience in moderating comments on dozens of websites. Spamming means you are leaving a link without adding any value. Marketing means you are adding some sort of value to the page you are posting on that otherwise wasn’t there, and in exchange for that added value you are also adding a link which will contribute more value because you have a high quality, relevant website. It’s important to differentiate spam vs. marketing when going after relevant links.