What is a referrer? Explains the meaning, how to check, how to use it for SEO, etc.

What is a referrer

“What does the word ‘referrer’ mean ?” I think that there are some people who have questions like the above, even though they have heard about it.

In this article, we will explain in detail the meaning and importance of “referrer” and how to check it.

What is a referrer?

referring page
referring page

A referrer is a “referring page”. Refers to the link source page when a user visits a web page.

The main types of referrers are as follows.

  • Referrer: which page was passed through
  • Search engine referrer: Which search engine did you go through
  • Keyword Referrer: What keywords the user entered to search

There are various approaches to referrers, such as web pages, search engines, and keywords.

By looking at referrers, it is possible to understand user behavior and motivations.

The Importance of Checking Referrers

The Importance of Checking Referrers
The Importance of Checking Referrers

Checking referrers is very important in developing marketing strategies.

By understanding user behavior and their motives, marketing measures that match them can lead to sales promotion of your company’s products and services.

For example, in the case of keyword referrers, you can see what keywords users searched for to land on your page.

Since you can understand the needs of “what users want to know”, you can take appropriate SEO measures and improve media evaluation.

Even if you are advertising, you can check the referrer to find out from which page the user came in, which will be useful for future advertising strategies.

4 things you can learn from referrers

learn from referrers
learn from referrers

Checking the referrer tells us four things:

Use these points as a reference to improve your website in the future.

  • Previously visited site or media
  • No referrer (information that the referrer cannot obtain)
  • Referrer Spam
  • User attributes

1. Previously visited site or media

By checking the referrer, you can find out which sites and media the user has visited before.

For example, when using Google Analytics, if you click “Acquisition” → “All Traffic” → “Referrer / Media” from the main menu, the URLs of the sites that have been referred so far will be displayed in a chronological list. .

In other words, it means that the site that the user visited before is also known in one shot.

Once you know where your users come from, you can analyze it and use it for your next advertising strategy.

2. No referrer (information that the referrer cannot obtain)

A no-referrer is information that the referrer cannot be confirmed when confirming the referrer.

When looking at referrer media in Google Analytics, if “direct” or “note” is displayed, it can be judged as a non-referrer.

Causes of no referrers include:

  • User accessed from their own bookmarks
  • Accessed by directly entering the URL instead of pasting it
  • Accessed from the URL described in the email
  • Accessed from an app or QR code

If the result of checking is no referrer, consider that the above possibility is high.

3. Referrer Spam

By checking the referrer, you can see the referrer spam.

Referrer spam is when a malicious site guides you to a spam site. When checking the referrer, if there is an “unfamiliar URL”, it is highly probable that it is referrer spam.

One or two referrer spam can be dealt with, but if the number increases, the legitimate referrer will not be known, which will hinder the operation of the site.
Of course, if you get infected with the virus, you will have nothing to lose.

As a workaround, first click “Management screen” from the main menu of Google Analytics.

Then open “View Settings” and check “Bot Filtering”. By doing so, spam can be filtered out automatically.

4. User attributes

Checking the referrer also reveals the user’s attributes. Click on “Users” from the main menu of Google Analytics and open “User Demographics”.

For example, you can find attributes such as:

  • age and gender
  • By region
  • new or repeater
  • By device such as PC, smartphone, tablet, etc.

Regarding new and repeat visitors, Google Analytics judges that “users who have not visited twice in the past” are new, and others are repeat visitors.

If you know the attributes of users, you can make strategies that match them, which can be very useful for site improvement.

Read Also: What is the number of characters in the article title that is effective for SEO measures?

How to check referrers from Google Analytics

check referrers from Google Analytics
check referrers from Google Analytics

There are two ways to check referrers from Google Analytics.

  • Check from “Source/Media”
  • Check from “reference site”

The first method is to check from the source/media.

Click “Acquisition” from the left-hand menu of Google Analytics.

Next, open “All Traffic” and click “Source/Medium”. Then you will see search engines and domain names.

The second method is to check from the reference site.

Similarly, open “Acquisition” from the Google Analytics menu and click “All Traffic”.

When you click “Referring site”, a list of domains will be displayed, so let’s check the link source you want to check from there.

The difference between a referrer and a referring site is the type of traffic source.

Source refers to reporting on all traffic regardless of medium.

A referring site, on the other hand, is a report that contains only “external links”.

Referrers are sources of information that can be used for SEO

Referrers are a source of information that can be used for SEO.

This is because by checking the referrer, you can see how the user arrived at the target web page.

Web page access increases and decreases not only from inflows from search engines such as Google and Yahoo!, but also from related links.

If you understand user behavior, naturally it will be easier to develop an SEO strategy.

For example, if a website is linked, you can know the link source and user attributes, so you can create content that better meets user needs.

However, due to recent changes in Chrome’s specifications, it is not possible to obtain the inflow source URL completely, so be careful.

From the point of view of privacy, it is said that Chrome has tightened the settings.


In this article, we focused on the following points about referrers.

  • A referrer is a “referring page”
  • By checking the referrer, you can see the user’s referring page, no referrer, referrer spam, and user attributes
  • Referrers can be found in Google Analytics
  • Referrers are an important source of information that can also be used for SEO

The presence of referrers is important when analyzing a website.

It is also useful when developing an SEO strategy, so check the referrer to increase the number of accesses to your site.

Please use the contents of this article to manage your own website.