If news organizations blocked Google this morning

The idea of newspapers blocking Google from indexing their sites has become quite a topic of discussion recently, so I used the search engine this morning to look for some popular items. These screenshots help to illustrate how much Google relies on news sources for its best search results.

Obama China

Almost every entry for Obama China came from a  news organization.

Google search results for Obama China

Shuttle Atlantis

Aside from the block of news results at the top of the page, no news organizations ranked near the top of this search.

Google search results for shuttle Atlantis

Edward Woodward

This time the block of news results were lowered to the fifth listing on the page. Aside from that, no news organizations appeared.

Google search results for Edward Woodward

Groats disease

News companies didn’t appear on this page at all. Google didn’t even include a block of news results this time, which makes sense for this made-for-TV fictional medical condition.

Google search results for groats disease

Google wouldn’t lose much

Shift your eyes away from the main search results and look to the right side of those screenshots. That’s where Google makes it’s money with AdWords … and that spot is blank in three of the four examples above.

Of course, this is just one set of randomly chosen samples, so please take it all with a large grain of salt and share comments below to explain how Google’s business would suffer if it couldn’t link to news sites.


These recent developments prompted this post:

  • Rupert Murdoch might start blocking Google from indexing News Corp sites.
  • Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis agrees with Murdoch’s logic and thinks top news sources should also charge Bing for exclusive rights to index their content.
  • TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington says Calacanis’ idea “would shift the balance of power away from search engines and to the content sites – if they could pull it off.”
  • CUNY journalism professor Jeff Jarvis thinks other news publishers wouldn’t join Murdoch’s efforts. Instead, they would “celebrate the chance” to pick up some of the Google rankings that News Corp would sacrifice.
  • Back a TechCrunch, Mike Butcher reports that Microsoft recently held a “secret meeting” with newspaper publishers. Details of that meeting were not known.

For some Google perspective, make sure to read Danny Sullivan’s interview with Josh Cohen of Google News.

Sites link to Twitter more than three top newspapers combined

According to Google, 77,400 web pages link to Twitter.com.

You can find links to a particular web site — the USA Today site for example — by searching for Google for “link:usatoday.com“. Results for Twitter look like this:

Google search results for sites linking to Twitter

I ran that same kind of search for the top three U.S. newspapers (by circulation), and found 71,200 links to their sites. That’s 6,200 less than Twitter.

Here is a list of the top ten U.S. papers and the number of web pages Google found linking to their sites. Click on a publication to visit its site. Click on a number to get the most recent results from Google: 

[Update, June 5: The list is now ordered according to the number of incoming links. Numbers have not been changed.]

  1. The Washington Post40,400
  2. USA Today: 29,500
  3. The Wall Street Journal: 29,300
  4. Los Angeles Times: 22,900
  5. The New York Times12,400
  6. Chicago Tribune11,600
  7. New York Post10,700
  8. Daily News (New York): 6,150
  9. Houston Chronicle: 5,220
  10. The Arizona Republic: 2,550

Related Almighty Link posts:

Journalists retweeted more than top newspaper sites

Patrick LaForgeLast week, we saw that The Wall Street Journal’s main Twitter account was retweeted more “per capita” than the other four top newspaper web sites in the U.S.

This week, I’ve compiled a list of 13 journalists, many of whom work for those newspaper sites, who were retweeted up to 5 times more than @WSJ. The number next to each journalist is his or her “retweets per thousand followers” (RTPMF).

  1. Patrick Laforge, The New York Times: 34.86
  2. Barbara Delollis, USA Today: 27.33
  3. Chris Gray Faust, USA Today: 26.64
  4. Linda Thomas, freelance journalist: 25.85
  5. Veronica Stoddart, USA Today: 20.30
  6. Greg Linch, Miami Hurricane: 19.74
  7. Peter Kafka, Wall Street Journal: 19.54
  8. Laura Bly, USA Today: 18.03
  9. Howard Weaver, Formerly The McClatchy Company: 14.27
  10. Del Jones, USA Today: 12.76
  11. Jay Rosen, NYU: 11.82
  12. John A. Byrne, BusinessWeek.com: 10.79
  13. Ryan Sholin, Publish2: 10.35 

RTPMF was calculated by  dividing a user’s retweets in the last 7 days (April 21-27) by her current amount of followers. Retweets and number of followers came from Retweetist, which used the same methodology to calculate the numbers included in last week’s list.

Unfortunately, Retweetist now seems to be using a different formula to derive its RTPMF, which explains why the spreadsheet-calculated numbers above link to conflicting numbers.

Yes, Retweetist sometimes includes Twitter messages that aren’t really retweets. And it sometimes misses legitimate retweets altogether. The tool isn’t perfect, but it does much more than just calculate RTPMFs, and really is worth checking out.

More about RTPMF:

How frequently are top newspaper sites retweeted?

Editor & Publisher shared a list of top newspaper web sites in March, ranked by unique audience. Here is the top of that list, along with each site’s main Twitter account, its RTPMF as calculated by Retweetist, and the number of times it has been retweeted:

  1. NYTimes.com (@nytimes): 1.1 RTPMF, with 761 retweets in the last 7 days
  2. USATODAY.com (@USATODAY): 5.2 RTPMF, with 47 retweets in the last 7 days
  3. washingtonpost.com (@washingtonpost): 2.7 RTPMF, with 28 retweets in the last 7 days
  4. Wall Street Journal Online (@WSJ): 6.9 RTPMF, with 269 retweets in the last 7 days
  5. LA Times (@latimes): 5 RTPMF, with 81 retweets in the last 7 days

Of course, if a newspaper want to use Twitter to drive traffic to their sites, it would be wise to build a community of individuals who independently share links (to the organization) with each of their followers.

So tell me, who do you retweet frequently and why? What makes a tweet RT-worthy? When (what time of day) are you more likely to RT?