As if Netflix’s latest documentary Seaspiracy wasn’t enough to make us really ponder the fate of our oceans, last week a huge shipping container was blown off course and became stranded in the Suez Canal. The 200,000-ton, 400-meter long (1,312-foot) ship blocked the infamous waterway for about a week before finally being freed from the shoreline.
The Suez Canal accounts for approximately 30% of the world’s daily shipping container freight and is a critical link for trade between Europe and Asia. It’s estimated that the shutdown of the canal was holding up $9.6 billion each day, or $6.7 million a minute.
As with any global catastrophe, the internet reacted the way it always does. The hashtag #SuezBLOCKED was shared 133,000 times and produced more than 145,200 social interactions on Twitter. And while experts say it may take weeks to see the impact of the stranded ship on global trade, we can already see how it changed our internet habits.
Using SimilarWeb’s powerful data, we examined key digital insights from the last week, focusing on trending keywords and top-performing news and media sites to see who was able to capitalize on the internet’s fascination with the latest disaster.
The search term Suez Canal grew 200%
In the last month, Suez Canal became a top search term. Globally, between March 1–28, 2021, the keyword had 1.6 million total search visits. In March 2020, that number was about 16,900, and the yearly total (March 2020–Feb. 2021) was 209,300.
Trending keywords that people were most likely to search include:
News sites eclipse reference websites
Typically, organic competitors for search queries related to the Suez Canal fall almost exclusively into the reference materials or search database category. In the last year, the websites earning the highest traffic share for this keyword were wikipedia.org, youtube.com, britannica.com, history.com, and google.com. This made sense given that most of the queries were seeking general knowledge of the canal, for example “suez canal map” or “where is the suez canal.”
However, in the last 28 days, there’s been a shift and publishers are winning the majority of the traffic share as people search for news on the incident. Cnn.com is now the top-performing organic competitor for this keyword, with 11.2% of the traffic share in March 2021.
This month, eight of the top ten domains winning traffic distribution for “suez canal” are news and media websites. It’s the first time that publishers stole such a significant amount of traffic away from the reference websites for this category.
CNN and The New York Times capitalized quickly
“Suez canal” is now the fifth most popular search term for four of the top news and media sites (cnn.com, nytimes.com, bbc.co.uk, and cnbc.com), preceded by more evergreen search terms like “trump” and “stimulus check.”
Although these publishers split the traffic share for this keyword, cnn.com and nytimes.com took advantage of the news cycle the most effectively in the last month, earning 34.4% and 29.4% of traffic respectively.
The top-performing articles for each publisher on this topic are:
To learn more about the data behind this article and what Similarweb has to offer, visit https://www.similarweb.com/.
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