In my content marketing work, I sometimes get involved in pitching technical articles and opinion pieces to trade media editors, primarily for publication on their websites, but occasionally for publication in print. The objectives of my clients in achieving third-party media coverage can include impressing component manufacturers (in the case of distributors), impressing distributors (in the case of manufacturers), impressing anyone with money (startups), and of course getting their sales messages out there, either directly or by attracting more traffic to their own websites.
In terms of delivering their messages, I like to know how relevant the audience is for a particular trade media site, and how big that audience is – usually measured as the average number of visitors to the site over a month. But when the key aim is to get a backlink from the media outlet to my client’s site to improve the latter’s search engine performance, I also want to understand the domain authority of the trade media site. Domain authority is an estimate of how valuable Google thinks the site is, with respect to the quality and relevance of its content to potential visitors. It’s a measure of how much Google likes the site and SEO experts tell us that the more backlinks a company can achieve from third-party sites with high domain authority, the better its search engine rank is likely to be.
To get up to date with what’s happening in B2B electronics media, I’ve just carried out an analysis of 14 English-language websites aimed at the electronic engineering community. I selected them based on the names I know, some web research to see if I’d missed any (with apologies to any that I have missed), those that cover B2B electronics in general, rather than focusing on a specific niche (e.g. Embedded.com), and those that have enough traffic for the tools I use to be able to produce an estimate of their traffic. I also avoided more general engineering sites, like the IEEE, TechCrunch, Engineering, and others because they serve much wider audiences.
A little about the data-gathering tools. Their results are not definitive – the same statistic will vary wildly between different tools but most provide useful relative data, even if the empirical numbers are questionable. For this study, I used the free SimilarWeb service, which is easily accessed through a browser widget, for everything except domain authority. For domain authority, I used MOZ, first because they invented the term and second because if you have the widget installed, a site’s domain authority is instantly displayed when you enter the URL of that website in a browser. I use Chrome. Ahrefs, SEMRush, and NeilPatel.com would have been suitable alternative tools. I haven’t checked to see how their data would compare with those I used, but that may be an interesting exercise in the future.
The results, ranked by domain authority, are shown below:
There’s a lot of data here, and it includes few anomalies, but here are a few of my key takeaways:
- Website traffic and domain authority are not directly linked, although I had always assumed that sites that attract the most traffic gain some SEO value from that factor. From the media reviewed, the highest traffic levels are attributed to AllAboutCircuits.com but the site’s domain authority ranks it in 4th place. In fact, EETimes.com and ElectronicsWeekly.com are the leading domain authority contenders with scores of 81 and 74 respectively, vs. AllAboutCircuits.com’s 66. These are huge differences – the scale is not linear, but logarithmic.
- For all but four of the sites reviewed, the bounce rate, meaning the percentage of people that don’t click through to any other part of the site, is between 70% and 80%. The best performance in this respect is from NewElectronics.co.uk, the site with the lowest traffic of those evaluated. The apparency lower traffic is perhaps related to its .co.uk, rather than .com, domain name. Nevertheless, it has a healthy 68,700 monthly visitors and a remarkably low bounce rate of just 30.66 percent. By a factor of nearly 2:1 this is the ‘stickiest’ site for visitors and with the exception of ElectronicsForU.com, and has the highest average number of pages accessed per visit, at 1.78.
- Although the data is not included in this table, according to SimilarWeb, all but one of these English-language websites see most of their traffic from the USA, even those run by UK publishers. This even applies to NewElectronics.co.uk, That’s perhaps not surprising because of the size of the electronic engineering community there.
- ElectronicsForU.com is the exception to point 3. This is published in India and derives the highest level of traffic from its home country (27.56%), perhaps because it was developed as a print media brand over several decades. Its next highest readership is from the USA (17.74%). ElectronicsForU.com is also an outlier in these results with respect to how long visitors spend on the site at each visit. It’s over 18 minutes, compared with no more than 1 minute 28 seconds for any other site. It’s almost as if engineers stay connected to the site as a reference source.
Like all research, the results often raise more questions than they answer. Why does AllAboutCircuits.com enjoy so much more traffic than any other site? Could it be that the audience includes a large number of hobbyists, rather than primarily engineering professionals? And how does ElectronicsForU.com hold onto each visitor for more than an order of magnitude longer than its competitors, on average?
When I last published a table like this, I received a number of complaints from publishers that the data I presented wasn’t accurate. Each time, I offered them the opportunity to provide their own Google Analytics data which I would happily share. All those that complained declined to do that, and I understand confidentiality concerns may outweigh the benefit of providing that information. That said, the offer stands for any publisher who thinks I have not presented them here in as favourable a light as they would wish. Give me hard facts, and I’ll happily share them.
If you find the data interesting and would like to play with the spreadsheet for your own analysis, please send me an email (email@example.com) and I’ll send it to you by return. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.