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A refer (or referral) to a website is the term used when identifying the website where traffic to another website came from. Refers are tracked when users click on a link placed on another site to leave that site for the new one.
For content marketers, it’s good to see where visitors are coming from and how they find your site. For example, some sites see more traffic from Twitter, others from Facebook and others yet from other websites. Getting linked to from other websites, especially ones with a high priority in Google’s eyes can help your website rise to the front of Google Search Results pages.
Marketers can use this information to focus more time on a more successful traffic source over another that isn’t showing much referral traffic.
For the first seven months of 2014, here’s where traffic to The Authentic Storytelling Project came from:
As you can see it’s pretty evenly split between organic Search, social media, direct and referrals. Google Analytics actually breaks social media out from other referrals (websites that are not social media).