When I last covered Perez Hilton, it was when he hit 14,000,000 pageviews in a single day - a remarkable feat considering big brands like Huffington Post had topped out at 7,700,000. An interesting outcome of the article came from Hitwise: Heather Hopkins noted that Facebook was Perez Hilton's #1 traffic referral (8.7% vs Google's 7.6%).
So I dug into Huffington Post's numbers to see what another major media site's traffic sources looked like. First off, HuffPo does about 200 million monthly pageviews and reaches about 13 million viewers:
Also worth noting: Huffington Post is nearly two years old. That may seem trivial, but it means that they have had plenty of time to build a good reputation with Google (and other search engines) and links across the web (blogs, media, etc)... and with two years of content, that suggests that SEO traffic should be higher for Huffington Post than the normal publisher.
Yet, according to Compete's "referring analytics", Huffington Post derives 18.6% of its traffic from Facebook. Wow:
HuffingtonPost.com "referring analytics": #1. Facebook 18.59% #2. Google 11.6% #3. Yahoo 5.16% #4. Digg 4.43% #5. NYTimes 2.5%
Huffington Post gets nearly 1/3rd of their traffic from two sources: one is algorithmic and one is social. And the fact that so much of their traffic comes from Facebook suggests that Huffington Post:
- creates great, viral content... interesting enough that its readers actively share it - benefits from breaking news (probably before major papers can) and/or controversial content