Expert analysis: Why Google search results for “Trump news” are negative

Researchers at Comparitech.com have published an interesting analysis to help determine if, as Donald Trump has claimed, Google search results favor left-wing media outlets that publish negative news about him.

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A summary:

 

To test the veracity of Donald Trump’s claims against Google, Comparitech analyzed search results for the keyword “trump news” from June to August, 2018.

 

Of the top 20 Google results from each month, Comparitech found:

  • 55% of search results were negative toward Trump
  • 11.7% were positive
  • 33.3% were neutral

 

As Trump stated, the data shows search results were overwhelmingly negative toward him, according to Comparitech’s sentiment analysis. However, they felt this is unlikely to be due to bias on the part of Google. The more practical explanation lies in how Google ranks pages in its search results. Pages with a higher number of external links from other websites tend to appear more prominently in search results.

 

According to Comparitech’s link analysis, negative press coverage was more widely linked to, as shown by the average referring domain count:

  • Negative search results were linked to 384 times on average
  • Positive search results were linked to 247 times on average

 

Comparitech privacy advocate Paul Bischoff, author of the research post, states, “Google evaluates hundreds of different factors when determining where a web page should rank in its search results. Links from other websites are one of the dominant factors in this evaluation because they help Google determine which pages are popular and authoritative on a given topic.”

 

Full details are in the online post, Why Google search results for “Trump news” are negative: analysis