Local search: Seeing the UK's regional press through the eyes of Google

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 11 January 2009

I've been writing a series of posts looking at site search across some of the UK's leading regional papers. Yesterday I published a table of their features.

In this last part of the series, I want to take a slightly different approach. I'm looking not at how people can search for content on the sites themselves, but how the sites appear when people search for them in Google.

Google

Google 'Search-in-search'

Norfolk's Eastern Daily Press site was the only site out of the twenty I searched for to have a 'Search within search' box provided for them in the Google results.

Google results with 'search-in-search' for EDP24

From a distance it is unclear whether all the other sites have asked Google to 'opt out' of having a search box provided for them, or whether Google has not deemed them worthy of the, for some, dubious accolade. It makes sense for EDP24 to allow Google to persist with this interface however, since their own site search urges users to try their search terms on Google News search.

Google site links

The Dundee Courier is notable as it is one of the few sites amongst the 20 that Google does not give 'site links' to - the selection of up to 8 supplementary links that appear underneath popular search results.

Search results for the Dundee Courier on Google

The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Evening Chronicle and Teesside Evening Gazette are also missing the extra links.

The Aberdeen Press & Journal is also unusual. Google only lists seven site links for this paper, instead of the maximum of eight.

Aberdeen Press and Journal's seven Google site links

Google maps

Some of the newspapers have maps to their headquarters inserted by Google into the top of the results. These include the Aberdeen Press & Journal and Evening Express, Belfast Telegraph, Leicester Mercury and Nottingham Evening Post.

Curiously, the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Evening Chronicle has a map and a link to their "Sunshine Fund" ranked higher by Google than their homepage.

Chronicle Sunshine Fund map result

Summary

The table below shows some of the data I gathered about how these 20 regional newspapers are listed in Google. The icons and numbers indicate whether the newspaper's listing featured a 'search-in-search' box, the number of site links appearing, whether a 'More results from $title >>' link appeared, or whether a map appeared. The text in the table represents the title and snippet of the website as presented by Google.

This research was carried out on the morning of Monday 5th January. Please note that I was searching for the name of the printed newspaper associated with a site, not the online brand, and that due to the increasing personalisation of the Google SERPS, other results may be available.

    Title Search-in-search Site links More results link Map Result title Result snippet
Manchester Evening News Yes 8 Yes Yes Manchester Evening News News, sport, entertainment, lifestyle, jobs and property.
West Midlands Express & Star Yes 8 Yes Yes Midlands News – West Midlands Local News - UK News : Express & Star Read Midlands and West Midlands local news including the latest from sport, business, community, weather, lifestyle, picture and video galleries.
Liverpool Echo Yes 8 Yes Yes Liverpool Echo - Liverpool news, Everton FC, Liverpool FC & more 5 Jan 2009 ... Visit the brand new Liverpool Echo site for the latest UK, Merseyside & Liverpool news. Liverpool FC, Everton FC, 2008 Capital of Culture ...
Aberdeen Press & Journal Yes 7 Yes Yes North of Scotland - Aberdeen News - Press and Journal The Aberdeen Press and Journal and Evening Express.
Belfast Telegraph Yes 8 Yes Yes Belfast Telegraph Online northern ireland, uk and world news plus sport, business & entertainment.
Glasgow Evening Times Yes 8 Yes Yes The Evening Times - Scotland's top selling evening newspaper. The Evening Times is greater Glasgow's only evening newspaper, published Monday to Saturday. Nobody knows Glasgow better.
Dundee Courier & Advertiser Yes 0 Yes Yes The Courier: Taking you to the heart of Tayside and Fife 05 January 2009, The Courier latest News and Sport ... The home of suspended Dundee teacher Michael Barile was targeted in another vandalism attack last ...
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Evening Chronicle Yes 0 Yes Yes Chronicle Live 5 Jan 2009 ... ChronicleLive, the Evening Chronicle newspaper online. Latest Newcastle news, North East and national news. Newcastle United, Sunderland AFC ...
Shropshire Star Yes 8 Yes Yes Shropshire News – Midlands News – Breaking News UK : Shropshire Star: Find Midlands breaking news online from Shropshire including the latest from sport, business, community, weather, lifestyle, picture and video galleries.
Leicester Mercury Yes 8 Yes Yes This is leicestershire - news, sport and entertainment See Monday's Leicester Mercury for a full report and reaction. ... The Leicester Mercury Sports Awards 2008 give you the chance to nominate your favourite ...
Birmingham Mail Yes 8 Yes Yes Birmingham Mail - Birmingham news, Birmingham City, Aston Villa, jobs 5 Jan 2009 ... Visit the brand new Birmingham Mail newspaper website. Read Birmingham news, updates on Birmingham City and Aston Villa, find jobs in ...
Eastern Daily Press Yes 8 Yes Yes EDP24 - Eastern Daily Press - Norfolk news, sport, homes, jobs, cars 5 Jan 2009 ... Eastern Daily Press - Norfolk news, business, leisure, property, sport, employment, and community news. Published by Archant Regional.
Stoke & Staffordshire - The Sentinel Yes 8 Yes Yes Stoke & Staffordshire: local news, sport and entertainment Get The Sentinel delivered straight to your door. Click here to subscribe to The Sentinel ... Like what you see? Click here to buy a copy of the Sentinel. ...
Hull Daily Mail Yes 8 Yes Yes This is hull and east riding - news, entertainment, jobs, cars and ... Find the latest news, sport and what's on information in Hull and East Riding and search for jobs, homes and cars, with the Hull Daily Mail and East...
Nottingham Evening Post Yes 8 Yes Yes Nottingham Evening Post Northcliffe newspapers regional portal. Arts and entertainments listings, bulletin boards, local history, chat rooms, jobs, motors and property sections.
Yorkshire Evening Post Yes 8 Yes Yes Yorkshire Evening Post: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars ... Absent Yorkshire parents owe £42m ABSENT parents in West Yorkshire owe £42m in support payments to their children, .... Yorkshire Evening Post Online Shop ...
Portsmouth News & Sports Mail Yes 8 Yes Yes Portsmouth Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars ... Online version of the daily newspaper. Sport, community, lifestyle and business categories.
Aberdeen Evening Express Yes 8 Yes Yes Scotland News – Scottish, UK and International News Online ... SHARP EXIT: The Aberdeen squad, including Kyle Macaulay, second from left, are ... Casino Cash-in! Game Card Coming soon in your Evening Express ...
South Wales Evening Post Yes 8 Yes Yes Swansea, South Wales, Latest News, Jobs| This Is South Wales Weather; Hello Guest: Login / Register · Contact Us · Sitemap · Text Version · Archive · This is Swansea/This is South Wales. South Wales Evening Post ...
Teesside Evening Gazette Yes 0 Yes Yes Evening Gazette 5 Jan 2009 ... Latest news from Teesside, Middlesbrough & across The Tees Valley from The Evening Gazette. Updates on Boro FC and lots more.

And finally...

That concludes my look at regional newspaper site search. Over the rest of this month I hope to publish a series on my own ultra-local media environment, and a series taking a wider look at contextual help around social bookmarking.

Keep up to date on my new blog