The New York Times, CNN, and The Guardian topped the list for the most prominent news sites across Google Search for COVID-19-related topics during a time when a reported 92% of U.S. adults follow COVID-19 news, according to a new study.
Searchmetrics mapped Google’s trends to its ranking data to identify websites that lead organic search for topics dominating during this time of crisis, based on about 500 COVID-19-related terms such as general virus information including pandemic data, symptoms, and treatments as well as economic issues, non-pharmaceutical interventions, and personal protection and prevention.
The data was collected on April 3, 2020. For newsworthy searches related to COVID-19, the data shows that The New York Times serves stories most often, at 15.9%, in the Google News box.
The Google news boxes -- which serve headlines, images and links to featured news stories -- appear at the top of Google’s first page and above the traditional search results.
Searchmetrics estimates these articles are being displayed by Google for around half of all searches related to COVID-19.
For publishers missing out on advertising revenue, the hope is they can turn site visitors looking for COVID-19-related stories into longer-term readers to help bring in more advertising once the crisis ends, according to Stephen Bench-Capon, senior content marketing manager at Searchmetrics.
CNN is seeing new box integration at about 8.9%, followed by The Guardian at 8.2%, NY Post at 5.8%, Washington Post at 5.1%, National Geographic at 5.1%, Science Alert at 4.9%, Investopedia at 4.4%, BBC at 4.4%, and Arstechnica at 4.1%.
Results for COVID-19-related topics including data, symptoms, and potential treatments tie to a list of mostly government sources. This top 10 list includes official sources like Center for Disease Control, which took 11.3% of the Page One ranking; Word Health Organization, which takes 4.8% of Page One rankings; and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which took 4.4% of Page One ranking.
Twitter has become a leading news source for up-to-the-minute information.
People searching for keywords related to non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as school closures or social distancing guidelines, are often looking for near real-time information.
On Twitter, per Searchmetrics, the capacity to provide users with the latest news and present it credibly are important to achieving high rankings.
Removing state and federal government sites, YouTube ranks No.1 on Google Search with 4%, followed by Twitter at 3.9%. The Washington Post ranked No. 3 for the category of non-pharmaceutical interventions, taking 3.5% of the Page One ranking on Google Search.
The rest of the data can be found here.