Coronavirus and Google: Guardian outranks WHO, NHS, BBC and government on search

The Guardian is the most visible newsbrand on Google for coronavirus information searches in the UK, appearing more often than the BBC and health authorities, new research shows.

Theguardian.com has the most top ten rankings on Google for searches relating to Covid-19, which means it appears on the first page of search results more often than any of its news rivals.

It appears on six per cent of page one results, more frequently than the World Health Organisation (five per cent), NHS (4 per cent), BBC (three per cent) and UK Government (also three per cent) websites.

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The Guardian also leads in the number of times one of its articles features in Google News boxes for coronavirus-related searches.

Google news boxes include headlines, images and links to news stories and appear at the top of Google’s first page, above the standard search results.

The news brand appears in more than a quarter (27 per cent) of them, more than the BBC (17 per cent), and the UK’s two biggest news websites: the Sun (eight per cent) and Mail Online (five per cent).

In the US, The Guardian appears in eight per cent of news boxes, behind only CNN (nine per cent) and the New York Times (16 per cent). The BBC features in four per cent of US news boxes.

“Google is of course many people’s go-to website when they want to find out the latest information about the virus,” said Stephen Bench-Capon of Searchmetrics, which carried out the research.

“The fact that The Guardian, Telegraph and BBC rank alongside official information sources in terms of Google visibility is a credit to the trust the search engine has in these news sites. The Guardian even makes it into the top ten sources of virus-related information in the US.”

He added: “While news publishers’ ad revenue is down because of the economic impact of the crisis and because some brands don’t want to want to advertise next to virus related stories, the hope for those publishers that are winning more traffic right now through Google is that they can turn those additional visitors into regular longer term readers which can help them to bring in more advertising once the crisis is over.”

Searchmetrics analysed the Google Trends page on coronavirus and the top ten results of coronavirus-related keyword searches on Google for both the UK and US. The data was gathered on the snapshot date of 3 April.

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