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BBC and Guardian most visible in Brexit-related Google searches, study shows

The BBC is the most visible website on the first page of results for Google searches related to Brexit news, according to new research.

The website takes a 29 per cent market share of Brexit-related news searches, meaning more of its stories show up prominently in results.

The Guardian has a 12 per cent share – the highest among the national newspaper websites – followed by the Independent at nine per cent and the Telegraph at four per cent, in line with Wikipedia.

The figures from search engine optimisation platform Searchmetrics are based on analysis of the first page of results from Google searches for 5,000 Brexit-related keywords and phrases carried out in October.

Market share is calculated by the search volume of keywords and a website’s ranking on the results page (the higher the better).

Terms such as “Brexit border issue” and “Brexit pound news” as well as questions such as “can Brexit be cancelled?” were used for the research.

There are over a million searches a month in the UK for terms around Brexit news, according to Searchmetrics.

For Google search terms related to “no deal Brexit” The Sun website shows up most prominently in first-page results, the study found.

“Expertise, authority and trust are big factors in ranking high up on Google search,” said Stephen Bench-Capon, senior content marketing manager at Searchmetrics.

“The BBC’s dominance suggests that, despite criticism and accusations of bias from all sides, Google views the BBC as the number one authority for relevant online information about Britain’s exit from the European Union.”

The Guardian is top when it comes to stories most frequently displayed in Google News boxes, which appeared at the top of results in 40 per cent of Brexit-related keyword searches carried out by the study.

The Guardian’s stories appeared in News boxes 20 per cent of the time – more than the BBC at 9.2 per cent and Independent at 9.5 per cent.

Bench-Capon said the Guardian’s prominence means Google search results “are more likely to feature pro-remain coverage, with pro-Brexit reports in the Daily Express, Telegraph or Sun appearing less frequently”.

He added: “Appearing on the first page of Google is a huge opportunity for news websites to attract visitors who are hungry for information on Brexit developments.”

Google Image boxes are displayed for around 24 per cent of first-page results for Brexit, with images from The Express most popular, appearing in nearly 10 per cent of all Image boxes, followed by the Guardian (9 per cent) and BBC (8 per cent), the study found.

Video results are displayed for approximately 20 per cent of searches for Brexit issues and are dominated by content hosted on Youtube.

For around 84 per cent of searches on Brexit-related topics, Google Adwords search ads are present above the organic search listings on the first page.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of results have search ads appearing underneath the organic listings. The majority of search ads for Brexit issues are from the government’s gov.uk website, many of which link to its Get Ready for Brexit campaign. Other advertisers include ft.com.

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