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While general referral traffic comes from a variety of different channels including social, search, and internal links, that doesn’t mean that they work the same for every business category. A recent study from Parse.ly shows that it makes sense for marketers to optimize referral channels based on their own niche.

For the category of Business content, search generates the most traffic (27% share) followed by internal referrals (22%) and other external referrers (21%). In fact, direct referrals (18% share) and social (11% share) generate the least amount of traffic for the Business category as a whole.

Looking a bit deeper, referrals for articles about Marketing differ from the broader Business category, with the largest share of traffic coming from internal referrals (26%). There is something to be said for internal links: other, more general, research from last year by Parse.ly found that almost one-quarter of online content traffic comes from internal sources such as home pages and editorial promotion.

Meanwhile, one-fifth of traffic to marketing articles are generated from search (21% share), with direct referrals (20%) also significant. While social media refers a smaller (17%) share of traffic, this over-indexes the wider Business category (11%) by a sizable margin.

Indeed, compared with the broad Business category, the Marketing sub-category is more reliant on social and internal referrals and less on search referrals.

In the Tech & Computing category, Business Software news referral sources follow in line with the category as a whole. The largest share of referral traffic for both Tech & Computing (30%) and Business Software (27%) comes from search. Internal referrals are next in line, generating 25% of all Tech & Computing news traffic and 24% of Business Software article traffic.

More data from Parse.ly, covering niche audiences, can be found here.

About the Data: The results are based on an analysis of traffic to the Parse.ly network, which encompasses more than 10 billion monthly views across more than 3,000 high-traffic sites including Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

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