Tag Archives: Independent

@Guardiantech accounts for 78% of the growth in national newspaper Twitter accounts

National UK newspapers had 1,665,202 followers of their Twitter accounts at the start of October – an increase of 193,266 on September 1st (when they had 1,471,936).

The rate of growth has slowed, however. This is a monthly increase of 13.1%, compared with 17% from August 1 to September 1, and also from July 1 to August 1.

What’s more, 151,555 of the increase (or 78% of the total) is down to just one account – that of @guardiantech (which owes its popularity to its place on the Twitter Suggested User List). Indeed, of the 131 accounts I’m tracking, 51 have fewer followers than me (@malcolmcoles)!

You can see the full table here, or below (although the iframe isn’t behaving properly, so you’re better off clicking here).
Continue reading

Cervical cancer jab: how the newspapers have learned nothing from MMR

The UK media have learned nothing from the debacle over the MMR vaccine – where they relentlessly covered stories doubting the safety of MMR, putting the lives of children at risk (this is cross-posted from my blog).

They are continuing their habit of undermining public-health initiatives with their latest scare story about the safety of the cervical cancer jab, after the tragic death of a schoolgirl who had the vaccine the same day.

I’ve given each of the mainstream media an irresponsibility rating below – the Mail and Express are the worst scaremongers, followed by the Mirror and Times.

It’s calculated as follows:

  • A headline suggesting a causal link between the vaccine and the girl’s death – there is no evidence of this so far, the two events just occurred on the same day: 20 points
  • The use of a photo or words in the headline casting doubt on the safety of the vaccine itself (as opposed to, say, this being a one-off allergic reaction): 20 points
  • Calls for the vaccine to be banned: 20 points
  • No mention of how many lives the vaccine will save: 20 points.
  • Separate comment piece doubting the safety of the vaccine, or emphasis of other stories about vaccine problems: 10 points
  • Ill-informed user comments adding to the suggestion of unsafety. 10 points

Daily Mail: 90% irresponsible

Headline: First picture of girl, 14, who died after being injected with cervical cancer jab from ‘rogue batch’

  • The headline suggests a causal link. It makes claims of a ‘rogue batch’ in quotes where the only use of those words in the story are the journalist’s own.
  • It’s running a poll: “Should the cervical cancer vaccination be suspended”.
  • There are a lot of figures about side effects – no mention of actual lives saved.
  • The best rated comment is currently “Chemical experiments on our children.” The worst rated is “Many more deaths may occur without the vaccine to guard against HPV.” The comments section is appalling, frankly – full of ill-informed anti-vaccine scaremongering.

Express: 80% irresponsible

Headline: Girl, 14, dies after taking cervical cancer vaccine Continue reading

How newspapers SEOed Patrick Swayze’s death

When news breaks, if you want to do well in Google for relevant searches, publish early, publish often and put your keywords at the front.

The Guardian's Patrick-Swayze tag page

The Guardian's Patrick-Swayze tag page

From an SEO point of view, the more stories you can pump out targeting different (or even the same) keywords, the more chance you have of appearing at the top of Google’s search results – and scooping up the traffic.

Get it right, and you can appear twice in the web results – and twice in the news results that Google often shows above them for breaking-news-related searches.

Some of the newspapers may have taken this a little bit far with news of Patrick Swayze’s death

  • The Guardian published 15 stories today (Tuesday 15th), all available from its existing Patrick Swayze tag page. Do we really need 15 stories on this?!? About half had a title that began with ‘Patrick Swayze’.
  • The Telegraph published 10 pages, and while it doesn’t have as many tag pages as the Guardian, it did feature one of its two obituaries (here and here) as a link from its ‘hot topics’ list on its home page, giving it a boost in Google’s web-result rankings. The screenshot, below, shows that it may have run out of ideas to get to 10 pages – the two bottom ones shown are very similar. Also, nine out of 10 of these stories have a title beginning with ‘Patrick Swayze’. The other is just called ‘Dirty Dancing – time of your life’. Now that is front-loading keywords.
  • The Mirror pumped out 5 pages today, and also set up a tag page at some point during the day (they didn’t have one before lunch), hoping to target the searches for ‘patrick swayze’ (yes, they forgot to capitalise it in their haste to set it up). The titles of all 5 begin with ‘Patrick Swazye’.
  • The Independent published 4 pages.
  • The Times managed just 3 pages – maybe with a paywall coming they are less interested in SEO these days ..
  • The Sun published only 2 pages.
  • The Mail published just 1 massively long story – on top of its  existing tag page for the actor. Interestingly, the paper recently claimed it wasn’t interested in celeb stories to drive traffic (although I claimed Michael Jackson was behind its June ABCe success).

The papers weren’t all that successful in their SEO efforts.

The 4th and 5th most viewed stories seem a little bit similar ...

The 4th and 5th most viewed stories seem a little bit similar ...

US sites dominated Google’s results for a search on ‘Patrick Swayze’ and ‘Patrick Swayze death’. The Telegraph did though take the top two web search spots for a search on ‘Patrick Swayze obituary’.

Keith Floyd has also died – and it was a similar story in terms of volume of stories. The Telegraph, for instance, has published 8 stories and the Guardian, via its tag page, published 9. The Guardian pipped the Telegraph to win the results for a search on ‘Keith Floyd obituary’.

If you ever want to target what people are searching for around breaking news, I recently compared the different Google tools for a search on X-factor related terms. And if you want to see SEO taken to the dark side, check out this method of newspapers and paid links.

UK newspapers add 213,892 Twitter followers in a month

National UK newspapers had 1,471,936 Twitter followers at the start of September – up 213,892 or 17% on August 1 (when they had 1,258,044 followers).

You can see the September figures (orignally posted here) below or here.

I have more Twitter statistics here.

Guardian the most bookmarked newspaper on delicious

The Guardian has more URLs bookmarked on Delicious than any other UK newspaper, as I first revealed here (with the original video here)

There are 10,914 Guardian URLs bookmarked, with the Times coming 2nd (3,944) and the Independent in 3rd place (3,196).

Newspaper
website
Bookmarks on Delicious
Guardian 10,914
Times Online 3,944
The Independent 3,196
Telegraph 2,258
The Sun 1,409
FT 1,303
Daily Mail 785
Mirror 624
Express 197

Quarkbase must be using the Delicious API but it doesn’t say where it gets the number. Click the papers’ name to see the Quarkbase figures (and more).

The stickiness of UK newspaper sites compared

Visitors to UK newspaper sites look at an average of 2.5 pages a day, according to data from Alexa. But 62.8% of users look at just one page (figures originally posted here).

In terms of daily page views per user, the Sun (4 pages), Guardian (3.1) and Telegraph (2.9) are above average. Visitors to the Mail site look at just 2.4 pages a day – so while the Mail may have come top in the July ABCe figures, maybe its large number of overseas visitors aren’t staying to look round the site.

Stickiness of UK newspaper sites

Newspaper Daily page views
per user
Bounce
rate (%)
The Sun 4 48.5
Guardian 3.1 59.2
Telegraph 2.9 65.2
Daily Mail 2.4 60.7
Times Online 2.4 59.7
Independent 2.2 70.4
FT.com 1.9 66.8
Mirror 1.7 67.5
Express 1.7 66.7
Average 2.5 62.8
  • Better than average figures are in bold.
  • The bounce rate is the percentage of visits that consisted of just one page (so a low number is good).
  • These figures are 3-month averages. These change on a daily basis at Alexa – so they may have altered slightly by the time you check. Click the papers’ names to see the current data.
  • The overall average at the bottom is a simple average – it has not been weighted by traffic.

Page views vs bounce rate

The table is ranked by daily page views per user. The bounce rate is another measure of stickiness. It doesn’t exactly correlate with page views, as papers may have differing proportions of loyal, engaged users who visit lots of pages. The more pages that these users visit, the better the page view figure – but they won’t affect the bounce rate.

The Telegraph has a worse bounce rate than the sites near it in the table, perhaps because the great success with its Digg tool doesn’t always lead to multi-page visits?

Using Alexa data

There are issues with using Alexa data like this as it underrepresents UK users, who may have differing usage patterns to other visitors. However, as it seems to underrepresent them more or less equally, the rankings should be OK even if the absolute figures are all out by the same margin.

Who links to the report they’re reporting on?

This week the UK government released a report into social mobility. While mainstream reporting focused mainly on the broad picture, I wanted to read the original government report itself. Which publishers linked to it?

I’ve written and spoken extensively on the importance of linking, but it comes down to 2 core reasons:

Firstly, Google will rank a page more highly if it includes more outgoing links.

Secondly, people will return to your site more often if they know they can expect useful links.

So, get your act together, please what are news organisations doing to address this?

Guardian winning newspaper-URL tweet war

Other people have tweeted (or retweeted) the Guardian’s URLs 328,288 times over the last 4 months – way more than any other UK newspaper, according to my full analysis here.

The FT and Times have more followers on Twitter than the Telegraph and Mail – but they’re not tweeted about as often. The Telegraph is in second place: 120,731 tweets by other people (ie excluding the Telegraph’s own accounts) have included a link to one if its URLs. The Daily Mail is 3rd with 95,851.

How many times each newspaper has had a URL tweeted by someone else

  • Guardian: 328,288
  • Telegraph: 120,731
  • Daily Mail: 95,851
  • The Sun: 33,580
  • Independent: 24,423
  • Times Online: 23,329
  • Mirror: 13,881
  • Express: 2,818
  • FT.com: 691

Continue reading

The Independent’s experiments with debate visualisation tool: Q&A

For several months The Independent has been experimenting with Debategraph – a mindmapping tool that allows you to visualise various perspectives on big issues, and add new ones. From ‘What should the Labour Party do next?‘ to ‘The Future of Newspapers‘, the tool branches out from the initial question to sub-questions and responses.
Continue reading

Which news sites do and don’t get a ‘last updated’ time in Google

Some news sites get a last updated time stamp in Google – and some don’t. It’s a bit of information next to the URL that says XX minutes ago and shows when the most recent story was published.

Not all news sites get it – although I can’t see any rhyme or reason (originally posted here).

Sites that do have it

The sites that do have it are: Times, Telegraph, BBC News, Express, ITN, Guardian. (Click the picture for a bigger version).

News sites with a time stamp

News sites with a time stamp

The Express could probably live without it, as I recently showed that they don’t update their site after 8am on a Sunday. Continue reading