Where Is My Traffic Coming From?

Once a website benefits from visitors in some way, it’s time to worry about where those visitors are coming from. Doing so lets you:

  • Encourage sites that send you traffic, either by contacting them, sponsoring them, or inviting them to become an affiliate of some sort.

  • Advertise on sites that send you visitors who convert, since visitors they send your way are more likely to do what you want once they reach your site.

  • Measure affiliate referrals as part of an affiliate compensation program.

  • Understand the organic search terms people use to find you and adjust your marketing, positioning, and search engine optimization accordingly.

  • Verify that paid search results have a good return on investment.

  • Find the places where your customers, your competitors, and the Internet as a whole are talking about you so you can join the conversation.

The science of getting the right visitors to your site is a combination of Affiliate Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization, which are beyond the scope of this book.

Referring Websites

When a web browser visits a website, it sends a request for a page. If the user linked to that page from elsewhere, the browser includes a referring URL. This lets you know who’s sending you traffic.


The HTTP standard actually calls a referring URL a “referer,” which may have been a typo on the part of the standard’s authors. We’ll use the more common spelling of “referrer” here.

If you know the page that referred visitors, ...

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