Where to Find Google Analytics Referral Traffic Sources

How to Find Google Analytics Referral Traffic Sources (GA4)

Are you wondering how to find your Google Analytics referral traffic, so you can see where that referral traffic to your site is coming from?

In your Google Analytics reports, you can find out who links to your site and which referral sources are the most valuable for your business.

In this article, we’ll go over what exactly referral traffic is, and show you how to find your top referral traffic sources in Google Analytics 4 and WordPress.

Video Walkthrough

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What is Referral Traffic in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics recognizes referral traffic as visitors that land on your site after clicking on a link from another source (other than search engines).

For instance, let’s say you have an article about how to make chocolate chip cookies. Another food blog copies your recipe but adds a few tweaks, then links to your recipe as their source. Google Analytics will record visitors that arrive on your website from that link as referral traffic.

So, why is referral traffic important?

Referral traffic is not only a potentially large source of overall traffic for your site, but it also means that other sites are linking to yours. Those links boost your SEO and help you rank higher in search engines.

Google Analytics referral traffic reports give you insights into how you can grow your website traffic. By analyzing which sites are sending you referral traffic, you can make changes and marketing decisions that’ll grow your business.

Now, let’s find out how to find those Google Analytics referral traffic sources.

How to See Google Analytics Referral Traffic

Before we get started, please note that if you’re a WordPress user, there’s a way you can find your referral traffic sources without even opening Google Analytics. To find out how, jump to the WordPress instructions.

In Google Analytics 4…

If you’re using Google Analytics 4, navigate to Reports » Acquisition » Traffic Acquisition:

Traffic Acquisition Report in GA4

Then, scroll down to the table. There, you’ll see the Referral row:

Traffic Acquisition report - Google Analytics referral traffic

In this report, you can see the basic metrics for your referral traffic, including how much you got and how long those users spent on your site on average.

To dive further into where those referrals actually came from, first type “referral” into the search bar to view just the referral traffic:

Search referral traffic in GA4 traffic acquisition report

Then, click the blue plus sign:

Filter referral traffic GA4

From the dropdown, choose Session Acquisition and then Session source:

Filter by session source

Now, your table will be broken down by how many referrals you got from each referring site:

Referral sources report GA4

In Universal Analytics…

To view the traffic referrals, navigate to Acquisition » All Traffic » Referrals. You’ll now see a table that shows referral traffic sources to your site.

Universal analytics referrals report

If you want to see the referral sources for a different time period, feel free to change the date range from the top right-hand corner.

compare date in ga

How to View Top Referral Sources in WordPress

The best way to use Google Analytics in WordPress is with MonsterInsights.

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily connect your WordPress site with Google Analytics (both Universal Analytics and GA4), so you can view all the data that matters most right in your WordPress dashboard.

MonsterInsights Home Dashboard

Plus, with the click of a button, you can set up sophisticated tracking features such as event tracking, download tracking, eCommerce tracking, media tracking, form tracking, custom dimension tracking, outbound link tracking, and more.

Install MonsterInsights

To get started, you’ll need to install MonsterInsights and authenticate it with your Google Analytics account. Choose the license level that has all the features you’re going to need, or get started with our Lite version.

First, download the ZIP files from your account area under the Downloads tab.

download monsterinsights

Next, upload the plugin to your WordPress website. You can do that by going to Plugins » Add New » Upload Plugins and clicking the Install Now button.

upload plugin in wordpress

After that, click the Activate Plugin button.

activate monsterinsights

Now, you’ll need to connect Google Analytics to your WordPress website. Using MonsterInsights, it’s a walk in the park. Just follow the steps in its setup wizard and the plugin will add Google Analytics to your site without the need to edit code.

Allow MonsterInsights to Access Your Google Analytics Data

For help getting started, you can read our step-by-step guide on how to properly set up Google Analytics and MonsterInsights.

Once you’ve properly set up Google Analytics on your site, you can find your referrals report by going to Insights » Reports » Overview report.

Now, scroll down and you’ll see your site’s top referrals.

top-referral-sources-to-get-backlinks

In this report, you’ll see the top 10 websites that are sending you the most referral traffic. This data is extremely valuable, as you can use it to target visitors from those sources, or work with the owners of those websites to promote your site and get even more traffic. It also presents an opportunity for guest posts and getting backlinks for your site.

If you want to know all of your referral sites beyond the top 10, you can click the View All Referral Sources button at the end of the report. It’ll take you to the full report inside Google Analytics.

That’s it!

We hope you liked our article on how to find top referral traffic sources in Google Analytics. You might also want to check out The Ultimate Guide to MonsterInsights Dashboard Reports.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for more helpful Google Analytics tips.

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Comments

  1. real monster insights is a very nice and user-friendly platform for bloggers and other website users, I use it, and I also recommended it to others, monster insights helps to grow my blogging site “Hardisk.in”, I am really very happy with its service.

  2. Why do you think Google has made it so hard to find referral traffic in GA4? The old/existing GA is so much easier to navigate.

  3. One problem here: when you recommend “From the dropdown, choose Session Acquisition and then Session source:” — there actually isn’t any option for Session Acquisition in my account, under default settings.

    Is there some sort of acquisition event that needs to be created so that you can access this? It makes no sense…

  4. Looks like they have changed it again as those screenshots seem to be out of date. You now have to select “session source” in GA4.

    1. Hi Mark,
      Google doesn’t show in the referrals because it’s Organic traffic, not referral. We currently don’t show a breakdown of traffic from each channel in MonsterInsights, but this is a feature that’s been requested before so it’s on our list of possible future features!

  5. Hi there! How do you view the full URLs for session sources in GA4? You used to be able to click on them in Universal analytics, but now it just shows the domain without a hyperlink.

    1. Hi Faith,
      Unfortunately, Google removed the ability to see full referral URLs for privacy reasons. We wish we could still see those full URLs!

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