The BBC ranks in all 50 of the top 50 positions on Google News for the search term “news,” according to an Indivigital analysis. A screen capture of the top 50 results can be viewed here (PNG, 3MB).
At the time of writing it is also 97 of the top 100 results for the same search term.
The search results were retrieved through both a private window and a virtual private network. The analysis was sent to Google and we’ll update this post with their response when we receive it.
The results appear in the midst of a significant update to Google News and only appear to be available in the traditional Google News layout (available by clicking on the news tab from the search results pages), however the alternate Google News layout (news.google.co.uk) still appears to be heavily reliant on the BBC as a source of news.
The results also only appear to be available to users in the UK. According to the competitive analysis tool Ahrefs, the term ‘news’ accounts for 1.4 million searches per month in the UK and 20 million searches per month globally.
While The BBC has the 97th most visited website in the world (according to Alexa), as well as the most liked Facebook page of 64 of the world’s biggest news sources (according to an Indivigital analysis), prioritizing one website to such an extent for a non-brand query, regardless how popular that website is, is highly unusual.
It is also fair to suggest the average user will expect to retrieve information from more than a single source of news, and particularly when visiting a news aggregation service like Google News.
While, as far as the analysis uncovered, it is just one query, it is the predominant query and it perhaps signals just how much favor Google News affords the BBC in its listings.
Moreover, the same search on Google News in the USA produced upwards of 18 different news sources in the top 50 results (excluding results that appear within a cluster).
Websites are ranked in search based on a range of factors, with many experts in agreement that the primary contributing signal behind where a website ranks are links that website has attracted from other websites.
However, the signals that determine where websites rank in Google News appear to be less clear than the signals that determine where websites rank in the traditional or main search results pages.
Google recently announced a range of changes to Google News at its I/O conference between 8th and 10th May.
According to an email sent by Google on the 8th May, “over the course of the next several days, news.google.com on desktop and mobile web and Google Play Newsstand’s app on Android and iOS will begin to update to the new Google News”.
It’s unclear whether the rankings outlined above relate to Google’s recent update.