Image credit: Sam Howzit
$670,000. That’s the estimated value of all the desktop and mobile traffic that visited Comicbook.com in September. Simply put – you’d have to spend just shy of 700 grand (over a 30-day period) to generate the online exposure that ComicBook.com receives organically. Sweet Christmas!
Over the past two decades, comic news sites have transformed from hobby sites to full blown media properties that are now part of lucrative digital portfolios.
Some of the top sites are newer properties owned by media networks while others have been slogging it out since the early 2000’s harkening back to an era before comic book movies swallowed the universe.
Three events in 2016 caused me to want to look under the hood of 8 of the largest sites.
First: the sale of the web’s largest (and one of the oldest) comic news sites, Comic Book Resources (now CBR.com) to ValNet Inc – an online media publisher.
Second: June 2016 was the biggest sales month for comics in 20 years.
And third: Most of this year’s major comic book films have opened – except Marvel’s Doctor Strange – and we’re apparently hurtling towards “peak superhero” at the movie theaters.
Image source: Comics Alliance & Dylan Todd
So what did I find? Several things…
The comic news sites at the top of the food chain are doing big numbers both regarding traffic and $$$.
- There is 10x more monetary value in ranking for comic movie terms than there are for the books in which they are based. Makes sense as the box office receipts for an individual film (like say Captain America: Civil War) is larger than the annual revenue of the entire comic book industry – for North America at least.
- A lot of the sites have hundreds of thousands of pages indexed due to the massive amounts user generated content in the forums. Forums have been a mainstay of comic book fandom since the advent of the internet.
- A few of the sites are bringing in equal or greater amounts of search traffic on mobile via just 8-10% of the keyword searches through desktop.
But first a quick explanation of some of the metrics used for this analysis…
Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. [source]
The next six metrics were all gathered from using SEMrush – a digital tool that is specific to finding profitable keywords via analytics.
SEMrush Rank: a complete listing of the top 100,000 domains in SEMrush’s database, ranked in order of their keywords and estimated traffic coming.
Keywords: The number of keywords bringing users to the website via Google’s top 100 organic search results.
Traffic: The number of users expected to visit the website in the following month on condition that average monthly organic traffic stays relatively the same.
Traffic Cost: Estimated price of organic keywords in Google AdWords.
Total Backlinks: The number of links pointing to the queried website.
Referring Domains: The number of domains pointing to the queried URL.
First Page Rankings: A random sampling of keywords that the specified site ranks for organically on the first page of Google. On average, 71.33% of searches result in a page one organic click.
All research was done on Tuesday, September 27th. So keep in mind that the data (traffic / rankings) fluctuates minute to minute online. View this as a snapshot.
Top Comic News Sites
- Comics Alliance
- Bleeding Cool
- Comic Book
- The Beat
- Cosmic Book News
- Further Reading
Comic Book Resources was founded by Jonah Weiland in 1995. On April 4, 2016, Weiland announced that the site had been sold to ValNet Inc., a company that is known for its acquisition of other media properties such as Screenrant. The site was relaunched as CBR.com on August 23, 2016.
Formerly as ComicBookResources.com (data pulled in July 2016)
TRAFFIC COST: $351K
TRAFFIC COST: $191K
As we can see – CBR.com is quickly recovering from its migration over from the old domain name. Moving an almost 2 million page website over to a new domain is a massive undertaking.
Currently as CBR.com
TRAFFIC COST: $250K
TRAFFIC COST: $181K
First Page Rankings:
cyclops x men sunglasses, comic book shows, dc comics sales, comic news, most valuable comic books, the most expensive comic book, steve ditko, harley quinn classic costume, pretty in pink original ending
TOTAL BACKLINKS: 657K / REFERRING DOMAINS: 7.3K
Google Indexed Pages: 1,790,000
Facebook : 1,581,982 followers / Twitter : 187K
Domain Authority: 39
SEMrush Rank: 5.4K
Top 3 Posts on CBR.com by Social Shares: Sept.2015 – Sept.2016
With these ‘Star Wars’ shower heads, you’ll feel the Force (of the water)
Neil Patrick Harris Joins Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ in Lead Role
5-year-old with Cerebral Palsy celebrates Halloween in custom Millennium Falcon
Newsarama has been a mainstay on the internet for 21 years now. It began life in the summer of 1995 as a series of forum postings on the Prodigy comic boards. After several iterations – including life as a comic news column on several prominent sites in the early 2000’s – Newsarama.com ended up on Kevin Smith’s ViewAskew.com network of sites.
The site has changed owners several times over the past decade. Imaginova acquired it in 2007. TopTenREVIEWS snapped it up in October 2009. It now resides in the portfolio of Purch Group, Inc. formerly known as TechMediaNetworks.
TRAFFIC COST: $98.3K
TRAFFIC COST: $89.8K
First Page Rankings: marvel comics news, dc and marvel movies, best comic crossovers, super villains marvel, female heroes and villains, upcoming marvel superhero movies, new comic book movies, comics to read, free comic book websites, famous comic books
TOTAL BACKLINKS: 229K / REFERRING DOMAINS: 3.4K
Google Indexed Pages: 188,000
Facebook: 319,822 followers / Twitter: 52.6K / YouTube: 8,045 subscribers
SEMrush Rank: 7.1K
Domain Authority: 78
Top 3 Posts on Newsarama by Social Shares: Sept.2015 – Sept.2016
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Supercut Brings All Trailers Together
WIZARD WORLD Announces New Comic Convention … On a Cruise Ship
HEAVY METAL Goes Grunge (and Sci-Fi) In NIRVANA Homage SKIP TO THE END
ComicsAlliance began life as part of AOL’s media network. AOL shut the site down in April of 2013. They were back up and running in June of the same year. They are currently part of the ScreenCrush Network owned by Townsquare Media who also have XXL, PopCrush, Consequence of Sound, Gorilla vs. Bear and Brooklyn Vegan in their portfolio of sites.
TRAFFIC COST: $116K
TRAFFIC COST: $103K
First Page Rankings: shazam and captain marvel, x men news, design superhero costume, super movies, dc facts, superhero couples list, comic websites, superhero color, custom batman converse, pulp fiction cover art
TOTAL BACKLINKS: 75.3K / REFERRING DOMAINS: 3.0K
Facebook: 109,266 followers / Twitter: 124K / YouTube: 114,104 subscribers / Instagram: 13.3k followers
SEMrush Rank: 9.4K
Domain Authority: 71
Google Indexed Pages: 74,500
Top 3 Posts on Comics Alliance by Social Shares: Sept.2015 – Sept.2016
50th Anniversary ‘Ultraman’ Marathon Airing This Sunday
Bring Us A Dream: What Sets Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman’ Apart?
20 Black Comic Book Creators on the Rise, Part One
SuperHeroHype is a property of Crave Online Media.
TRAFFIC COST: $454K
TRAFFIC COST: $202K
First Page Rankings: superhero movies, upcoming superhero movies, spiderman costumes, origin of batman, dc and marvel movies, comic book movie news, best female action movies, superhero movie trailers, latest super hero movies, cartoon superheroes, superhero movies 2016
TOTAL BACKLINKS: 79.3K / REFERRING DOMAINS: 2.3K
Facebook: 183,764 followers / Twitter: 57.8K
SEMrush Rank: 5.7K
Domain Authority: 68
Google Indexed Pages: 1,450,000
Top 3 Posts on SuperHeroHype by Social Shares: Sept.2015 – Sept.2016
Deadpool Banner Takes Film’s Marketing in New Direction
Tom Hiddleston Reveals Why Loki Was Cut from Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer is Here!
Comics publisher Avatar Press owns the comics news site Bleeding Cool, helmed by British comics creator and columnist Rich Johnston. The site launched in 2009.
TRAFFIC COST: $49.4K
TRAFFIC COST: $37.8K
First Page Rankings: disney movies available on netflix, independent comic book publishers, disney on netflix, how to open a comic book store, harry potter comic book, comic books news, batgirl and batman, superman news, conservative comics, wonder woman logo
TOTAL BACKLINKS: 193K / REFERRING DOMAINS: 3.3K
Facebook: 35,292 followers / Twitter: 66.8K followers
SEMrush Rank: 11.4K
Domain Authority: 73
Google Indexed Pages: 231,000
Top 3 Posts on Bleeding Cool by Social Shares: Sept.2015 – Sept.2016
Bring On The Nostalgia: Netflix Releases All 99 Episodes Of Animaniacs
Ariell Johnson And Her New Philadelphia Store, Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse
Brazilian Comics Studio Cancels Contract With DC Comics Artist Over Rape Comments
“ComicBook.com is an independently owned media company focused on all things pop culture, influenced by the robust comic book industry, whose iconic creations have become the driving force of mainstream entertainment behind today’s blockbuster movies, hit TV shows, best selling video games, and more.”
In 2007, Joe Blackmon and a partner created ComicBook.com, an online site dedicated to news surrounding comic creations and related pop culture. In 2012, he began focusing on the site full time, generating as many as 1.7 million unique visitors per month and two consecutive years of triple-digit traffic growth. [source]
TRAFFIC COST: $452K
TRAFFIC COST: $218K
First Page Rankings: norman reedus car accident, superhero business cards, batman having sex, walking dead carpet, high resolution star wars images, spider woman movie, walking dead teasers, spoilers for the walking dead, new spawn movie, marvel movies 2016, comic book
TOTAL BACKLINKS: 84.8K / REFERRING DOMAINS: 2.8K
Facebook : 4,619,231 followers / Twitter: 88.6K followers / YouTube: 154,527 subscribers
SEMrush Rank: 4.3K
Domain Authority: 71
Google Indexed Pages: 220,000
Top 3 Posts on Comic Book by Social Shares: Sept.2015 – Sept.2016
Happy Birthday! Stan Lee Turns 93 Today
Michael J. Fox And Christopher Lloyd Reunite For Back To The Future Extended Toyota Video
The Expendables 4 To Begin Filming In 2016
Heidi MacDonald, a former editor for DC Comics’ Vertigo Imprint, runs The Beat. She created her blog “The Beat: The News Blog of Comics Culture” over at Comicon.com in June 2004, before going independent in 2010.
It’s one of the last big sites that still focuses primarily on comic books – rather than the movies based on them. The site generated $45,000 worth of online exposure in September. That’s outstanding!
TRAFFIC COST: $27.9K
TRAFFIC COST: $17K
First Page Rankings: comic book drawing, drawing comic books, american manga, comics sales, comic store for sale, tablet for comics, comic book writing format, comic con tickets sold out, how to draw comic books, comic writing software, walking dead sales
TOTAL BACKLINKS: 41.1K / REFERRING DOMAINS: 1.2K
Facebook: 8,237 followers / Twitter: (The Beat) 6,134 followers, Heidi 20.4K
SEMrush Rank: 56.7
Domain Authority: 65
Google Indexed Pages: 60,400
Top 3 Posts on The Beat by Social Shares: Sept.2015 – Sept.2016
Philadelphia woman opens comics shop that focuses on diversity and coffee
Artist Buzz calls for #occupyartistalley movement to stop rip-off print vendors
Guest Column: I’ve had it with The Walking Dead over how it portrays Black men
Cosmic Book News
Cosmic Book News was founded in 2008 to promote “cosmic” and sci-fi comic books, movies, television, video games and more. They’ve since expanded to include all forms of Pop Culture and various entertainment.
TRAFFIC COST: $86.4K
TRAFFIC COST: $19.6K
First Page Rankings: x men vs avengers movie, superman video game, new superman games, comic book news, green lantern and flash, marvel images, marvel spiderman costume, bad spiderman costume, spider man eyes, batman vs superman costume
TOTAL BACKLINKS: 14.3K / REFERRING DOMAINS: 691
Facebook: 684,439 followers / Twitter: 9,337 followers
SEMrush Rank: 13.2K
Domain Authority: 49
Google Indexed Pages: 109,000
Top 3 Posts on Cosmic Book News by Social Shares: Sept.2015 – Sept.2016
Norman Reedus Says F’ Yeah To Playing Marvel’s Ghost Rider
Cartoon Network Confirms New Justice League Animated Series
Stephen Lang Wants To Play Cable in Deadpool Sequel