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U.S. search index: Were you one of the most visible Google News publishers December-February?

For the first U.S. search index of 2018, we look back at December through February to reveal who the top news publishers were in search visibility across U.S. news-related ranking types:

– Mobile Google News Boxes (the “Top Stories” box in the mobile Google search engine results pages, or SERPs)

– Google News (

– Mobile Publisher Carousels (looks like a Mobile News Box, but all of the articles are from a single publisher)

Examples of the Mobile News Box, Google News and Mobile Publisher Carousel.

Examples of the Mobile News Box, Google News and Mobile Publisher Carousel.

News Dashboard methodology

The News Dashboard SEO tool looks at Google search visibility. We focused only on imported keywords – Google News Topics and Google News Related – which are made up of the “trending” or top news topics on Google News at any given time during the analysis. Each Google News category – from Top Stories to Entertainment, World, Sports, Technology and more – is considered.

Finally, we used our weighted visibility score, which considers not only if a publisher has an article in a news-related ranking on the SERP for the given keyword, but also where on the SERP that ranking type is located, and where within the ranking type a publisher’s article is located. This reveals more granular information and helps publishers get a better idea about their own visibility, especially as compared to their competitors.

In addition to ranking the Top 5 publishers in all months by search visibility, we dug into the data to see which specific keyword each publisher was most visible for. When a publisher’s own name was their most visible keyword, we also listed the next most-visible keyword.

Mobile News Box

Building on the visibility data we revealed in the August-November 2017 U.S. search index, we compared the Top 5 publishers from November 2017 through February 2018. While the group stayed fairly uniform, there was quite a bit of volatility in their positions.

We continued our comparison to the next step: The most visible keywords for each publisher in this ranking type. A majority of the publishers have the same keyword throughout the 4-month period, or at least keywords in the same Google News category, with the exception of USA Today (entertainment to sports, and back again).

A blank cell indicates a month when that publisher was not in the Top 5 for Mobile News Boxes.

Google News

As we’ve seen in almost every U.S. search index from the News Dashbaord, the Washington Post dominates in search visibility here. Interestingly, USA Today not only entered the Top 5 in the last three months of the analysis – it moved into the third position, unseating the powerhouse CNN.

Mobile Publisher Carousels

These ranking types look similar to the carousel portion of the News Box (with only one text link, usually to a landing page vs. a single article), but all of the links are to a single publisher. This ranking type is usually most visible for sports, entertainment and breaking-news topics – which certainly holds true with the official NBA and NFL sites, as well as ESPN.

The Guardian and BBC News continue the “British invasion” of the U.S. news-related ranking types. It will be interesting to see if that trends holds true through March.


While a couple of publishers appear in each of the three news-related ranking types we examined, the lists usually differ, as various publishers perform better at the top factor of consideration by Google for each ranking type.

If you’d like access to this analysis data for your own news website that ranks in Google News – along with near real-time tips on Google News optimization – sign up for News Dashboard demo today.

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