Analysis of 450K Websites Reveals How World's Most Popular Websites Acquire Their Visitors

For any successful business, the key to achieving reputable status in the market of competitors can be achieved by getting more targeted traffic on their websites and understanding the digital strategies to boost the traffic.

Even though social media platforms are gaining more attention from people from all over the world but these platforms are still not considered as the ultimate drivers of referral traffic despite being highly utilized by users.

If you’re looking for the best sources of web traffic, a new report from Alexa is all meant to help you with that.

The team of Alexa gathered data regarding web traffic from more than 450,000 domains and later on categorized all these domains into a variety of groups distinguishing them based on Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) categories including Automotive, Food and Drink and so much more. After categorizing, the team of Alexa took the last step by detecting the top 10 percent of sites driving traffic in each category and doing this enabled us to compare the top sites of each category with less-successful competitors based on the traffic.

According to the report by Alexa, the information sites particularly in news and weather category gained a huge percentage of traffic from their social media channels which pretty much reveals the role of social networks as a conduit for news consumption. The rise in the news content on social media platforms (including Twitter and Facebook) puts a huge impact on publishers reach.

How Do The Top Websites Drive Traffic? - infographic

A variety of categories gained a large percentage of visitors through search engines, these categories included Automotive, home and garden and travel.

According to the report by Alexa, the websites that gained direct traffic included categories of personal finance and business verticals as users typically type a web address in their browsers whenever they’re reviewing their banking information online they pretty much type the URL directly which makes these sites gain direct traffic as compared to others.

Alexa also sheds light on the domains of nonstandard content categories including blogs and forums also gained a great percentage of traffic from referral links via other sites which clearly shows that these types of forums usually gain traffic after being discovered by users poking around online.

The top sites of the categories including Sports, Finance, Business, Arts and Entertainment gained a huge percentage of direct traffic as compared to other domains. The pattern this report shows is pretty clear that users are most likely aware of such major authority sites and end up searching for them directly instead of using search engines.


Digging a bit deeper into the report reveals that based on the subjects Auto Parts gained a huge percentage of traffic from Search engine results whereas the top sites of gambling ranked the first with the highest direct traffic results. The subjects with the highest referral traffic included nonstandard content and Credit, Debit and loans ranking as the top 2 sites with the highest referral traffic.

In terms of keywords, the top 5 sites with the highest percentage of traffic included the categories of Travel, shopping, News, Weather and Information, Careers, and Automotive as well.

Well, with this insight on the report by Alexa it is pretty much clear that majority of the traffic is gained through direct and search engine results, while the traffic through social media platforms is not that large, yet, in some categories including News, Weather, and Information social channels work well.

As stated by Alexa itself, the data displayed in the report is not 100% accurate as the platform could only access a specific panel of users of each category but these results could pretty much indicate the trends in various categories which can be very helpful in terms of your digital marketing approach.

If you’re looking to drive decent percentage of traffic on your website, your key focus should be boosting the SEO performance of your site and along with that using different digital methods to gain traffic through the various categories.

The Traffic Sources of Top Websites by Industry - A Study

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