Referral traffic is one of the most essential sources of traffic you can receive for your website. It comes from external links, which should be trustworthy and quality sources. Having quality backlinks for your site is paramount to increasing your referral traffic. If links are poor, or you don't have enough of them, you won't see much referral traffic coming to your site. If you're wondering why your referral traffic is low, there could be a number of problems. It's up to you to work on the links for your website, even though many of them will be from other people. Instead of standing around scratching your head, check out these things you're doing wrong.

Backlinks are generally built to increase the authority and ranking potential of your website but if you get the right content on the right websites, referral traffic can be invaluable.

What is broken link building? This method of building backlinks doesn't involve looking for broken links to your website. It requires you to find links to other sites that result in 404 errors. You then get in contact with the webmaster and inform them of the error while recommending some alternative replacement links.

Of course, your link should be among the replacements. For example, you can find a website that has recently changed its domain. Look for sites still linking to the old domain. Contact their owners with a short message letting them know about the broken link. Instead of giving them a link to your homepage, you might like to choose a relevant blog post or page. Jon Cooper has crafted an outstanding piece of content to highlight potential broken link building strategies.

2. You Are Writing Content for the Wrong Websites

Guest posting and content marketing can be effective ways of increasing your backlinks. However, you need to be careful about the blogs you choose. You aren't doing yourself any favours by asking to post on a blog with a poor reputation. You need to do a thorough check of each blog before you contact the owner about writing a for them. Firstly, you can do a cursory check of the quality of the content. Is it badly written, with poor English, or is it unoriginal? You don't want to put your name on any old blog in your industry. You need to get familiar with their content to ensure it's suitable for you, and you can write something that fits. If there are too many ads or it looks spammy, discount it from your possibilities. From Google’s point of view, a backlinks worth could easily be valued based on click through rates - the more people click through the link, the more relevant it should be.

3. You're Not Social Enough

Being sociable online in a variety of different ways can indirectly help to improve your backlinks. If you're not taking the time to engage in conversation, you're missing out. For example, join sites like Quora, where you can answer questions. If you show that you have an expertise in a specific niche then you increase the chances of showing others that you are an authority in your field, thus increasing the chances of natural links to your site.

4. Try linking out

Perhaps it might seem a little odd, but linking to other sites can help you get more referral traffic. The key thing here is to let other people know that you have linked to them - everyone loves having their ego massaged. You can do this by email or on social media. On social media it makes it very easy for the people you have given links to share your post. For example, you send a tweet to someone to tell them you referenced one of their blog posts. They then retweet the link of share it independently to generate more traffic to your site.

5. You're Not Sending Out News and Updates

It can be tough for small businesses to have enough newsworthy content to share. But whenever you have something worth sharing, you need to broadcast it. Using email and social media will get the word out if  you have something to shout about. Writing a press release or a blog post about the latest news in your industry will give you something to promote.

6. Your Content Isn't Shareable

When you write new content for your website or blog, are you thinking about shareability? Many people concentrate on SEO when writing. But they often forget to consider whether people will want to share their content. You need to produce content that’s informative or entertaining. Readers should think of your content as being useful not just for them but for other people they know. Shareable content doesn't always have to be a serious article or a case study, although these are two obvious options. It could be something lighthearted or funny, from a picture of an employee's pet to what you got up to at the office party.

7. You Aren't Taking Advantage of Your Contacts

Making use of the contacts you have in your industry is essential. Building relationships with people through social media and networking can benefit you in so many ways. If you have useful contacts, make sure that you're helping each other out. You can trade links with colleagues, but you have to get it right, don't just swap links randomly. You should be trading with companies who have the same target market as you. They should and offer products or services that complement yours.

Finally, there are link building methods that you should avoid. Paying for links is never recommended and you’ll want to avoid the growing number of "black hat" tactics. You should ensure you're choosing the right methods to improve your backlinks. Google is making link building harder and harder and in order to ensure you are generating the right type of links on relevant websites you should think about how a natural link profile might look to an algorithm. Effective off-site SEO is absolutely vital to generating traffic.

You can boost your referral traffic if you take the time to work on your backlinks. Create a plan of action so that you know what you need to do. Start thinking about readers and visitors and stop thinking about building links that you think will trick Google into ranking your website higher in the search results. If you get it right, there’s no reason why you can’t start generating seriously high quality traffic with a good chance of an excellent conversion rate.