Visible Linking And Traffic

Yesterday Joost linked through to me from a guest post on Shoemoney about WordPress SEO.

In direct referral stats it didn’t cause a shockwave until I looked at the specific pageviews of the page he chose to link to, my WordPress category.

My category pages rarely figure highly in the most viewed, so I could actually attribute the majority of the traffic to that specific landing page, even if the traffic originated from an email or RSS subscriber.

This takes me back to one of the discussions I had with Joost regarding his Google Analytics tracking from RSS Plugin – I am sure there must be some way to modify it so that when you link to someone, they can actually see the traffic you sent them, not just click-throughs from a blog page, but from subscribers.

This actually relates to link and traffic reciprocation, quite an important blogging concept.

People Need To See The Traffic

With an affiliate program it is easy for the affiliate program owner to see the traffic you send them. Everything is tracked. With blogging in general it isn’t so easy.

Search Engine Land for instance frequently link to me in their Search Cap which goes out to email subscribers.

From the posts that appear on the Search Engine Land blog, I rarely see more than 10 visitors – but that doesn’t account for the traffic sent from the email newsletter which is totally invisible.

Frequently I see posts receive a flood of traffic where I don’t have a referrer, because it is coming from various email clients.

Danny actually faces a similar problem, as he has raised the question of cross promotion of conferences in a discussion on Sphinn.

The big problem? The email edition of Search Cap is invisible traffic.

If people see that a link made a significant difference to traffic and conversions of whatever kind, they are much more likely to reciprocate.

In many ways, measurable traffic is the only traffic that counts and where you are promoting someone else, they have to see it too.

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  1. says

    That throws off the direct referrer traffic a little also. So it’s hard to tell when people remember your domain by name or use a bookmark. I guess webmail gives you a tiny bit of tracking (i.e. hits from Yahoo mail).

    • says

      Webmail could equally be my own referrers, but it is true, it is the same as traditional bookmarks.

      With traditional bookmarks it is possible to track a reentry to your side from a link with some kind of session ID, but I am not going to suggest people start messing with their clean URLs necessarily. It would be a possible solution for a shopping site.

      It is not small amounts of traffic sometimes, I have seen 500+ direct entries to a review out of nowhere, and then determined it must have been from a PayPerPost email.

  2. says

    I’ve seen some plugin that does it (google a bit and found it at ( – I am avoiding linking to it to not trigger the filters, feel free to edit, Andy).

    My issue with the plugin is that I am one of those ppl who mousesover the link and wants to see exactly where the url is going to take me, not the ugly “modified” url that returns.

    • says

      Antonio unfortunately that really isn’t the same.

      It is effectively what Feedburner gives you but on your own server.

      The ideal situation is that people should be able to see all traffic you send them. I think it is possible, but it might need some playing around with Joost’s plugin.

    • says

      @Joost – One possibility might be to use a delayed redirect on a page with analytics tracking code that updates the utm_source variable (I think the appropriate one to use for this case). A substantial enough is necessary to make sure that the tracking code has time to execute.