In the final print issue of Rubber & Plastics News for 2018, we reflect on what were the biggest stories of the year in our industry. And this year we've added something new that you might find interesting.
For the first time, we've added a graphic where we used Google analytics to rank the top 10 read stories published during 2018 on our website. It's actually not as simple as it sounds, as many of stories were listed in several spots, so the page views for each had to be tabulated for a more accurate account. And the Google printout doesn't include just stories published this year, but from as far back as 1994, when RPN first launched its website.
And while the top 10 stories of the year ranked by our editorial staff is understandably a bit subjective, the Google website rankings carry no stigma: The total is what it is. Of course, that does leave a little mystery on why certain stories got so many reads, whether certain names or topics trigger search engines to kick into high gear.
About half or our web top 10 were ones we ranked in our listing, such as the ongoing trade war and raw material prices remaining volatile.
I will admit, however, that I have been surprised at the apparent staying power of the No. 1 web-read story for the year, an enterprise piece we produced on market forces tightening silicone supply and spiking prices.
This is where not understanding what drives certain stories to continue to attract strong interest long after the original story was published comes into play. I get a printout each week of the top 30 stories read on our website the prior week, and eight months after it was published, this story still ranks high week after week.
For the year, its readership easily doubled the number of page views for the No. 2 story, on Consumer Reports most recommended tire brands for the year. Of course, Consumer Reports itself must trigger some built-in searches, as similar stories about the magazine's choices from 2015-17 still receive high page views.
Another story that made this year's cyber top 10 also intrigued me. It was just a small brief on the "bed in a box" market expanding, but it pulled in at No. 6.
Browsing the list also piqued my interest. Harbor Freight is another name that must drive traffic. In 2017, we ran a small brief on a tire recall the marketer issued, and during 2018 that piece still gained thousands of reads.
The one that popped out at me the most, however, was a 1994 article we did on what probably was the highest profile criminal case ever involving a rubber industry executive. A full 24 years later, the story still pulled in nearly 1,000 page views in 2018.
Talk about the power of the internet.