Google has beaten Facebook to reclaim the title of the main source of external page views for publishers in 2017. Facebook had displaced Google as the top source of referral a few years ago but a report by Parse.ly, a digital analytics company says that referrals from Google went up by 17% while the same dropped for Facebook by 25% in this calendar year. The current state mirrors the situation from the beginning of the year. In January Facebook provided nearly 40% of all external traffic to publishers, now that's down to 26%. And Google which started the year at 34% has climbed up 44%. Parse.ly's data comes from over 2500 publishers that use its analytics platform including Time, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Mashable. What turned the tide for Google? Parse.ly states that trends vary from site to site or even topic to topic but speculates there may be multiple factors at play. Last year Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritize posts from friends and family over that of publishers. This had a major effect on traffic coming in from users interacting directly with a publisher's posts. Facebook’s “Instant Articles” platform, which hosted some publishers’ content directly but promised to push traffic to the original site as well, has declined in importance, a report by Recode speculates. Over the past year, Facebook has increased its focus on video, including Facebook Live and Facebook Watch. The social media giant may be prioritizing natively hosted videos over external links to…
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