From ‘Author Stats’ in Webmaster Tools to Newsknife’s Top Journalists

Last week, the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog introduced “Author Stats” in Webmaster Tools. And yesterday, Newsknife posted its list of top news sites and journalists for 2011.

Whether you are focused on SEO or analytics, you will want to connect these dots.

According to Javier Tordable, a Google Software Engineer, “With the latest improvements to the way authorship annotations look in search and the addition of authorship to Google News, authors have been really excited about getting more visibility, and users benefit from seeing the name, photo, and way to connect with the person who created the content.”

That’s why Google introduced “Author Stats” in Webmaster Tools to show authors – including journalists and bloggers – how often their content is showing up on the Google search results page. If authors associate their content with their Google Profile either via e-mail verification or a simple link, they can visit Webmaster Tools to see how many impressions and clicks their content got on the Google search results page.

If you are a journalist or blogger, go to and login with the same username you use for your Google+ Profile to see your information. On the left hand panel, you’ll see “Author Stats” under the “Labs” section. This is an experimental feature, so Google software engineers are continuing to iterate, but they wanted to get early feedback.

Author Stats Example

Meanwhile in New Zealand, Neil Pharazyn posted Newsknife’s Top News Sites for 2011. Compiled by Newsknife from its analysis of more than 202,000 listings by 3847 news sites at the Google News U.S. site during 2011, this is the tenth year of Newsknife’s “Top News Sites” ratings.

For 2011, the Top News Sites were:

    1. Los Angeles Times
    1. Reuters
    1. New York Times
    1. Wall Street Journal
    1. USA Today
    1. Washington Post
    1. ABC News
    1. Bloomberg
    1. MSNBC
  1. Christian Science Monitor

Newsknife also announced the Top News Sites of 2011 within Google News U.S. categories. They were:

  • Business: Wall Street Journal
  • Entertainment: Los Angeles Times
  • Health: Washington Post
  • Science:
  • Sports: ESPN
  • Technology: CNET
  • Top Stories: Washington Post
  • U.S.: Washington Post
  • World: Washington Post

Finally, Newsknife announced its list of Top Journalists, compiled from its analysis of more than 946,000 listings attributed to 69,722 journalists at the 22 English-language Google News sites through to November 2011. They were:



So, what does all this mean to marketers? If your PR people pitch a story (or leak some information) to one of these news sites, then the story has a better chance to appear on the home page and first subpage of Google News, which got 9.2 million unique visitors in November 2011 in the U.S., according to Compete.

Now, your PR people are probably going to tell you that they kinda, sorta knew that already. But I’ll bet they wouldn’t have listed the Los Angeles Times and Reuters ahead of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. And I’ll bet dollars to donuts that they didn’t have the Christian Science Monitor on their list of top 10 news sites in the U.S.

And if you want to tell your PR people something that probably they don’t know, then show them Newsknife’s list of top news sites by category. I’ll bet dollars-to-dumplings that they didn’t know the Washington Post was the top news site for health-related stories or that was the top site for science-related stories.

Finally, tell your PR people to look over the list of top journalists. They’ll tell you that they already have an “A-List” of journalists who get pitched stories (and get advance knowledge of details under a news embargo). But if you analyze their A-List, I’ll bet they are based on the print circulation of newspapers and magazines, and not the unique visitors to their websites – and almost certainly not the odds that their stories will get a high ranking in Google News.

And with more and more top journalists and influential bloggers checking the “Author Stats” in Webmaster Tools, now is the time to rethink who can actually help you (or hurt you) the most. Now, there’s a memo worth writing to your PR people at the end of year — to ensure that 2012 gets off to a much stronger start than 2011 did.

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