James Arnold, Chief Digital Officer, Rooster Strategic Solutions
Last year, Rooster introduced an independent review of agricultural company websites. Using the same tools and measurements, this is an “apples-to-apples” approach that companies can use to see where they rank, and advertisers can use to compare publishers. It is presented as quality directional data accessible by most in the industry through a respected toolset. The analysis/assumptions provided are my own. We provide this report first to our clients, along with more context and sophisticated metrics, before providing this free to the public.
New pages, new categories. Based on requests from our friends in the industry, we started tracking poultry sites last quarter, and we’re pleased to add three new categories of websites: hog production, equines, and grain storage. With 54 individual websites now under analysis, I believe this is the industry’s most comprehensive web review and hope you find it valuable.
Here’s the Q2 report and some takeaways (based on SEMrush data):
Strong demand for Ag news. When Agriculture.com took over the top spot from AgWeb.com late in 2020, we promised to keep an eye on this race. And keeping in the spirit of the Olympic track and field events, Q2 ended in a photo finish with a consistent Agriculture.com holding off a surging AgWeb.com. Overall, nearly all the sites saw stronger readership, particularly DTNPF.com. It’ll be interesting to see how this trend carries through harvest in Q3 and into Q4.
Visits to cattle sites are plummeting. Visits are down significantly across the category, best exemplified by Drovers.com which has fallen more than 60 percent from its high last October. BeefMagazine.com remains atop the leaderboard and holds the advantage on page views per visit in what has become a very volatile category.
The dairy category becomes competitive. What a difference a year makes. Last October, DairyHerd.com was the clear runaway winner in this category; today we see a 5-way race that includes industry stalwarts and a new site, TheBullvine.com. Hoards.com edged its way to the top, but can it remain there?
ThePigSite.com is The Pig Site, bar none. Buoyed by strong demand from search, and catering to an international audience, ThePigSite.com is the uncontested leader for hog news. Nationalhogfarmer.com and Pig333.com continue to make incremental gains, while Porkbusiness.com has seen its number of views drop by more than half year-over-year.
Seed companies chip away at Pioneer’s dominance. Like the dairy category (above), what was once a race between a clear winner and everybody else has narrowed significantly. Pioneer.com remains the strongest site in the seed hybrid category, but visits to the site are a fraction of what they were a year ago. We’ll keep a close eye on this one.
Precision Planting jumps to the top of the precision category. Led by the category’s strongest pages-per-visit metric, Precision Planting overtook AgLeader.com in June by the slimmest of margins. It’ll be interesting to watch and see if they can maintain and build on this lead.
What’s next? We’ll keep tracking these websites; look for another report on Q3 activity in late October. And we understand that a report like this raises as many questions as it answers. That’s why we provide our clients with a smorgasbord of options, from a one-time web audit to a comprehensive, ongoing analysis. If you’re ready to dive deeper, I’d love to have a conversation.