News Sites Get their Traffic from Google, Facebook

Have you ever wondered where news sites get their traffic from?

It’s no big secret that journalism has taken a radical turn with the dawn of digital news. Until recently though, the statistics on how news sites are gaining readership compared to the more traditional newspapers hasn’t been clear. But with figures from Nielsen, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence has conducted a research on the behavior of visitors of news sites.

Interestingly enough, the research focused on four key areas:

  • How do users get to the top news sites?
  • How long do users stay in a news site?
  • How deep do they go when navigating a news site?
  • What is the behavior of a user after navigating the news site?

The research shows that news sites like and get their traffic mostly from referrals. Around 30% of the traffic of most sites come from Google, arguably the largest search engine in the Internet. Facebook is a pretty strong referral source, too, as websites like The Huffington Post and The New York Times derive 8% and 6% respectively of its traffic from the social network. Twitter? Well, not so much, as it only accounts for 3.53% of the traffic of most news sites.

Below is a detailed illustration of just how much Facebook affects the traffic of news sites:

As for how long users stay, the research shows that an average user stays for around one to five minutes in a news site. Either they only came to read the article they were referred to (and speed-read at that!) or they were bored out of their wits!

A small fraction the research would like to call “power users” go to their news site of choice at least 10 times a month, and stay for over an hour.

Really though, is it a big surprise that not a lot of people would go to news sites deliberately and type its URL? Perhaps you can speak for yourself that you don’t go to a to browse news articles–there’s gotta be some breaking news that interests you and led you to go to the news site in the first place.

If anything, this research shows that news sites are stably gaining traffic, thanks to Google, Facebook and Twitter. By capitalizing on this research, news sites or any other site for that matter may want to invest on SEO and building a loyal customer base in order to get droves of traffic.

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