Buyer's Guide … the one with the Encyclopedia!

Comparing Website Ranking and Traffic of RP Photonics With That of Competitors

Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta

While I strongly focus on improving our own resource, occasionally it makes sense to have a look at how our competitors do in the area of photonics marketing. Unfortunately, it is difficult to compare web traffic numbers, not having access to those of our competitors. Most of them refrain from publishing statistical data (while we provide quite some insight, see here), and even where data are published, it is often not clear to what exactly they apply – e.g. the website as a whole, or only the part which is relevant for advertisers? And according to my experience, one should also be aware that published data may be inaccurate, sometimes even completely inflated.

At least some insight can be gained with services like I just used that to collect two key metrics for our site and a few competitors:

  • With the global rank they probably mean the rank in a list of all websites globally. Smaller numbers are better – of course, you aim to be number one!
  • The estimated visits are the number of visitors per month getting to some page of a website.

Less relevant would be country rank (since global reach is usually of highest interest) and category rank.

The results are shown in the following table, ordered by visitor numbers:

ResourceDomainGlobal RankVisits per Month
RP Photonicsrp-photonics.com197,136307.7 K
Photonics Mediaphotonics.com336,983172.7 K
Laser Focus Worldlaserfocusworld.com441,740106.3 K
optics.orgoptics.org796,62171.9 K
FindLightfindlight.com450,55669.0 K
MEETOPTICS meetoptics.com1,971,77314.9 K

With another tool of similar kind (SpyFu), I got broadly similar results.

While such data (indirectly acquired with some algorithms, without access to the actual web server data) should always be treated with a lot of healthy skepticism, the results are pretty clear: RP Photonics is far ahead all of its competitors as a resource for scientific, technical and supplier information in the area of photonics. That also explains why the others don't seem to be keen to reveal their traffic data.

It is even plausible to expect that the presented data are even substantially in favor of our strongest competitors. They do not at all take into account the relevance of web pages for the advertisers. For example, Photonics Media and Laser Focus World have a huge number of older journal articles on their sites, which get some traffic from the search engines, while probably not being particularly relevant for their buyer's guide pages. In contrast, our site gets most traffic into the RP Photonics Encyclopedia, and that is intimately linked with the RP Photonics Buyer's Guide, so that the latter and thus our advertisers benefit a lot since day 1 (which, by the way, was in 2012, over 10 years ago).

In the end, the probably most relevant result for advertisers is the obtained referral traffic, as discussed in my last blog article here. The great thing is that as an advertiser you can measure that yourself. Those who do it (which I always warmly recommend) and also share the data with us (which I warmly welcome) confirm that we are very clearly leading – often by an order of magnitude against the closest competitor.

So I believe that in reality we are even further ahead than the numbers suggest. And everybody can know why: it's the encyclopedia, which is not only strong in attracting visitors, but also is strongly linked to our buyer's guide, and thus really helps the advertisers. (We even display their product descriptions in encyclopedia articles, so that they benefit even if people don't come over to the buyer's guide.) What further helps is our strong reputation to be not only highly competent in the field, but also very helpful, transparent and fair – with benefits both for the readers and for the advertisers.

Okay, for me that was enough competitor research after a longer while – now back to working on our strength!

This article is a posting of the RP Photonics Marketing News, authored by Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta. You may link to this page, because its location is permanent.

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