How many websites are genuinely useful to your own?

Here’s a really simple exercise I think everyone should do, if you have website visitor analytics running. Take a good look at the referring sites over the last year. How many were genuinely useful to you? If it’s a dozen or fewer (and it is, for many industrial companies), then you really, really need to get some more links from some heavily visited sites.

For example, if you’re using Google Analytics, go to “Reporting” and select the last year in the date range box top right. Then go to “Referrals” (under “Traffic Sources” and “Sources” on the left). This should give you a list of the traffic from sites other than search engines over the past year. One or two search engines will be featured (like Baidu below) but you can ignore these. You might also see things you can discount like Yahoo webmail. Count up the number of real external sources of, say, more than 10 visits over the past year. As I said above, if it’s a dozen or fewer, you need to get some more good links as a priority.

referrers

This isn’t just to raise your ranking in Google (although it’ll help). In our obsession with the search engines, we often forget the value of traffic from other websites. It’s very important. Are you getting visits from your distributors or suppliers? If not, you might find they’re not even featuring you on their websites. Time to get that sorted, where possible. And what about all the main industry publications? If they’re not on your list, you’re either not featured on their websites (get that fixed!), or you now know that nobody visits their websites, which will at least allow you to tell their ad sales rep to stop calling.

And let’s not even think about websites where you’re advertising but which fail to appear on the list…

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