Jason Smith over at Indivigital discovered something odd when searching the term “news” within Google News. It seems BBC news returned as all 50 of the top 50 results. We also ran this test choosing our location as the United Kingdom and 18 of the top 20 results were BBC news stories. We also decided to run the same test on the United States region and yet again, BBC news dominated the results with 50% returned results.
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.
It would be easy to assume Google is giving the BBC news preferential treatment in news search results but this could be the result of a glitch in the algorithm? That’s not outside the realm of possibility as Google has had its fair share of glitches that have resulted in strange search behavior. On the other hand, if for some reason, Google is favoring the BBC news that would be unsettling. As Indivigital points out, users rely on Google search and Google news to provide a variety of news sources, not just one.
Be sure to check out Jason Smith’s full report over on Indivigital at the link below.
What do you think is happening here? Do you think it’s a glitch? Or do you think Google is purposefully promoting BBC articles above all else? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.Source: Indivigital
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