Chapter 3. Measuring Your Best Referrers

In This Chapter

  • Defining a referrer

  • Analyzing referrers

  • Special cases: Using tags

If I had to be marooned on a deserted island with only one metric, it'd be referrers. A bit melodramatic, I know, but no Internet marketing campaign can survive — let alone succeed — without 'em.

I give you the basics on referrers in Book III, Chapter 2. But the business intelligence you can gain from this seemingly simple stat goes far, far deeper. It pays to have a really solid understanding of this metric, which is why measuring referrers is the sole subject of this chapter.


If you're using a log file–based tracking solution, make sure your server is set up. Otherwise, you could miss a lot of valuable referrer data. (Flip to Book III, Chapter 1 for details on tracking solutions that use log files versus JavaScript.)

You can apply referrer data to improve your online business in so many ways. This chapter barely scrapes the surface of referrer tracking. Here, you find out where referrer information comes from, basics about stats you find in your referrer data, and examples for analyzing referring site data. In the next few chapters, you discover how to start combining other metrics — such as conversion rates and visit quality — to help you get even more value from this data.

Understanding Referrers

Geekinese alert! I have to get a little technical in this section so you'll understand exactly how referrers are tracked, and what the tracking data means. Don't let ...

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