Parse.ly: Search Overtakes Social (Again) As Referral Source For Major Publishers

parsely-logo-200pxIt’s kinda like a heavyweight fight, only without the really expensive pay-per-view and the sweaty athletes filling your big screen TV.

Search and social media are duking it out for supremacy as the top source of referral traffic to some of the biggest publishers on the web.

New data from Parse.ly — a content analytics platform that counts Reuters, Mashable, Slate, The Next Web and many others among its clients — shows that search retook the lead from social media as the top source of referral traffic in March of this year.

Its publishers saw 32.8 percent of its traffic coming from search that month, compared to 31.2 percent from social media. That’s close to an exact flip of the data from January, when social traffic outpaced search by 32 to 30 percent.

parsely-search-social-referrers

Although search came out ahead in March, the bigger trend isn’t looking good for search traffic. If you go back to Parse.ly’s October 2013 report, search was the dominant source of traffic at 36 percent, compared to only 22 percent for social.

parsely-oct2013

Google sites were still the No. 1 overall source of traffic to Parse.ly’s clients in the most recent reporting period, with Facebook remaining in second — and those two are significantly higher than all other individual sites.

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Search Marketing | Social Media Marketing | Statistics | Statistics: Social Media | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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