Google Is Still the Number One Traffic Driver for Publishers

You may have heard people ask – is SEO dead?
It will never be dead as long as people primarily navigate through the internet via search engines, which I can’t see ending any time soon.
In fact for publishers (along with a multitude of other businesses), Google is still the most important traffic source
This was highlighted by a recent report from WAN-IFRA titled 2019 World Press Trends Report.
The report stated that:

“Google continues to be the most important traffic source for news media companies globally, accounting for two out of every three page views from the leading global technology companies”

The search giant leaves leaves other leading tech and social platforms way behind.

“Worldwide, Google provides 25 times the traffic for publishers that Twitter does and almost two and a half times what Facebook does”

The researchers got data from companies like Chartbeat and PwC, and had some other interesting points to make about industry trends.
Paying news audiences are growing, rising to 640 million per day in 2018, with growth primarily fuelled by increased focus on attracting and converting digital subscribers on the part of publishers.
In the five years leading up to 2018, global digital news subscribers grew by an impressive 208% and are expected to get another 13% boost in 2019.
That said, print still (mostly) pays the bills. The report estimates that 86% of news outlet revenue comes through print, although with print ad revenue in steep decline (-7% YoY) the tables could definitely turn over the next year or two.
The overall tone of the report is cautiously optimistic, and echoes a message we’ve covered at length:

“This year’s research and data bear out the paradox within our industry. With global revenues (-3% YoY, print & digital) and (especially newsroom) resources continuing to shrink, the business challenges facing publishers are palpable. However, quality news has never been in more demand than today, reflected in the growth of paying audiences for news content”

You can check out the full report here, although you’ll have to pay if you’re not a member.
You can also read more analysis in this piece from Nieman Lab.