Despite the rise of social media a new study published by the Content Discovery and Engagement Report for the first quarter of 2016 found that search is still the number one generator of external traffic for websites. According to the study search still beats all competitors by over 300% which may quiet those who have been predicting a revolution for social media.
The study showed that in the first quarter of 2016 search still drive a whopping 41% of external traffic to websites. Content sites is still the runner up with 31%, portals at 17% and social media down at 11% but growing quicker than it has in the past.
Unsurprisingly Google is still by far the number one driver of traffic, more than nine times more than the next runners up, Yahoo and Facebook. The highest quality traffic also comes from search, creating the most number of average page views per session and lowest bounce rates – indicating that search remains the best method for visitor engagement.
For so called “hyper engaged visitors” (readers who will view more than five different pages without leaving the site) content sites were the big winners followed by search traffic. Despite claims by social media proponents that it is the most engaging form of online interaction it actually came at the very bottom, with visitors coming from these sites having the highest bounce rates of all.
The participants in the study were skewed towards users of news and entertainment sites so it is important to note that the results are probably not an accurate indicator of all web traffic however its results are interesting to those in search engine optimization as they show that maybe social media is not the “next big thing”, at least not quite yet. For many months now there has been a lot of talk in online circles and forums claiming that the utility of social media would eventually make it the replacement for search, however the results of this study seem to show that those predictions may have been premature.