CHART: Google is no longer the king of web traffic referral

Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images.

This won’t be a shock to anyone who works in publishing, but Google is no longer the referral king.

While the search giant is still very important to publishers, Facebook now edges it out in when it comes pointing web users to news articles and other kinds of content, as this chart from Statista, based on recent research from analytics firm, shows.

Interestingly, Google is still the predominant player when it comes to certain type of content. Articles about tech, sports, and business tend to see much more of their referral traffic coming from the search giant, according to the research, which looked at more than 10 million articles published in 2016 within’s network. By contrast, Facebook does a better job of redirecting eyeballs to articles about lifestyle and entertainment.

Whatever the case, nearly 80% of referral traffic comes from just those two companies, according to the research. And that puts publishers in the precarious position of being extremely reliant on one or maybe two services to survive with only so much web real estate to go around.

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