Today The Verge published an article written by Amanda Chicago Lewis – The People Who Ruined the Internet – that enraged the SEO community and partly amused it too because describing search marketers as “content goblins”, who love to attend “Alligators meet-ups”, and trick the hell out of Google for personal gainings.
In the article, Amanda Chicago Lewins interview many SEOs and marketers I know personally – Lily Ray, Barry Schwartz, Duane Forrester amongst others I am proud to not know – and the Google Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan. The problem is that she probably had a story to tell already in her mind, and did a fine work of editing, cutting out all the things these persons told her in the interviews, and that has been explaining what SEO is for quite a few years now, and how the SEO community is not exactly what she portrayed after interviewing a couple of affiliate marketers.
In other words… it seemed to me that the article could be taken as a good example of clickbait long-form SEO or, in other words, of everything Amanda Chicago Lewis was blaming as the main reason why Google Search is not as useful as it was once (as if SEO was a practice that debuted in digital marketing only recently).
The irony is that her publisher, The Verge, sees SEO as the most important channel for earning traffic.
So, out of curiosity and as a way to educate Amanda Chicago Lewis (if she will never see this post) and all the people, who think that SEO could be compared to selling drugs or limbs on the Dark Web, I checked the estimated traffic SEO brings to The Verge and other news websites, and what that traffic means in terms of monetary value for these publications.
Not having access to the web analytic suites used by these editorial companies, I used these tools for retrieving estimated data:
- Semrush Traffic Analytics.
- Semrush Organic Research.
- SISTRIX traffic estimation.
So, let’s start with The Verge.
What SEO has ever done for The Verge
As we can see above from this chart of the Semrush Traffic Analytics tool, organic search represented the biggest source of traffic for The Verge in September: about 26.2 million visits globally.
If we concentrate only on the USA, we see this:
7 million organic searches, of which 6.9 million were for unbranded queries. My fond congratulations go to the SEO team at The Verge, sincerely.
The data offered by Semrush seems confirmed by the SISTRIX estimations, which are more nuanced because SISTRIX always presents a range going from a minimum to maximum estimation (passing through an average one) for both organic traffic and monetary value of the organic traffic:
As you can see, Semrush tends to be more on the low estimations side of SISTRIX, but that is the limitation of using estimates by third-party tools.
In conclusion, we can say that thanks to its own “content goblins” aka SEOs, The Verge not only sees organic search as the most important source of traffic for articles like the ones written by Amanda Chicago Lewis but also, SEO is helping The Verge to save between 5,851,958 and 31,302,701 million USD which other ways should be spent on ads, and so The Verge can reinvest the millions saved thanks to SEO for improving its editorial proposal.
However, The Verge is not the only news website (or magazine website) dedicated to technology.
According to Semrush, in the USA these are its main competitors:
What SEO has ever done for Cnet
Cnet.com depends on organic search even more than The Verge. As we can see above, almost 41 million visits come from organic search, which is more than the sum of all the traffic generated by the other sources.
We see this if we focus on the USA:
As we can see, despite losing traffic and visibility, the traffic cost value even increased.
With SISTRIX estimations, we have a more nuanced vision:
The traffic value estimations are impressive, and the most positive estimation tells us that Cnet may save 131,146,211 USD thanks to SEO. Money, once again, that Cnet can spend on creating great content that, with the help of SEO, will bring new visitors, ad revenues, brand recognition et all.
What SEO has ever done for Digitaltrends.com, PCMag.com, Tomsguide.com, and Techradar.com.
For brevity, I will present the data for these websites in table form.
Remember, when I talk of traffic, I mean “organic traffic” from Search. With “cost” and “value”, I mean the monetary value of the organic traffic aka how much a website needs to spend in advertisement to obtain the estimated traffic.
Then, the first three columns present data from Semrush, and the last two from SISTRIX.
USA avg traffic
USA avg value