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The Top 25 U.S. Newspapers According to Google

Clicks is one thing, credibility is another. When it comes to online credibility, Google PageRank rules over all. Few metrics illustrate true authority on the Web more than Google’s PageRank. PageRank is the accepted standard for authority on the Web. If you ranked the top 25 U.S. newspapers by PageRank instead of circulation, the list looks like this:

  • 9/10 - The New York Times stands alone as far as Google concerned – it has the highest PageRank of the top 25 U.S. newspapers
  • 8/10 – The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, NY Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle and StarTribune have equal authority at 8/10
  • 7/10 – The Dallas Morning News, The Chicago Sun-Times, Detroit Free Press, Houston Chronicle, The Arizona Republic, The Oregonian, The Star-Ledger, The San Diego Union-Tribune and Newsday are tied for third place with a PageRank of 7/10
  • 6/10 – The Seattle Times, The St. Petersburg Times and The Plain Dealer share fourth place at 6/10
  • 5/10 – The New York Post, The Oakland Tribune and The San Jose Mercury News are tied for fifth place at 5/10
  • 4/10 – Rounding out the bottom is The Denver Post and Contra Costa Times – each share a PageRank of 4/10

When comparing newspaper to newspaper, PageRank seems like a good measure of a newspaper’s authority. Once you get outside of an apples to apples comparison – or in this case, newspaper to newspaper – it gets harder to determine influence or authority. Take popular blogs like The Huffington Post or TechCrunch for example. Both blogs have a Google PageRank of 8/10 – do those blogs have the same authority as The Wall Street Journal or USA Today? As far as Google is concerned they do.

But enough about the PageRank stuff – how popular are the top U.S. newspapers on social media? My next post will focus on the top U.S. newspapers’ Facebook Pages and the number of Facebook Friends (‘Likes’) each newspaper has.

What do you think? Is PageRank a good gauge of a newspaper’s authority? How do you determine the authority of a newspaper?

(Image Credit: Google Classic by dullhunk)

About Jeremy Porter

Jeremy Porter is co-founder and editor of Journalistics, a lively blog about public relations and journalism topics.

  • http://searchenginewatch.com/3641360 Aussiewebmaster

    Google Page Rank comes from links to the papers’ website – NYT is used as a reference for other articles more often than they reference others – thus their higher PR. But USA Today wins for traffic numbers which converts to higher circulation the true measure of a papers’ success.

    The Huffington Post ranks high for PR because their editorial columns are also highly linked to – but also because they have good internal linking and smart site architecture .

    PR reflects authority, traffic shows popularity.

    • William P. Davis

      Actually, nytimes.com gets much more traffic than usatoday.com, according to Alexa:
      http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/usatoday.com
      http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/nytimes.com

      • Jeremy Porter

        I’d like to see the Nielsen numbers on this too, as I was surprised. Sadly, none of these traffic estimators are incredibly reliable.

    • http://www.mercabusca.com Luis

      I’d be interested in getting your thoughts on how to compare offline and online news sources in an objective way (ex: how does the New York Times compare to the Huffington Post), but expand the comparison to 10 leading print/10 leading online. Any ideas?

  • http://jonathanstray.com Jonathan Stray

    Interesting. But the majority of online news consumption doesn’t happen at “newspaper” sites. Yahoo, MSNBC, AOL, and CNN all serve more news than any of the sites you listed. (See e.g. http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2010/online_nielsen.php).

    – Jonathan

    • Jeremy Porter

      I agree Jonathan, but the purpose of this post was to look at how the Top 25 newspapers with the top U.S. circulation would stack up if I ranked them by PageRank. I think there’s a good follow up post in your suggestion – thanks for sharing the idea and resource.

  • Chris Stanford

    The Washington Post doesn’t make the list?

  • http://twitter.com/Aine Aine

    No ranking for the Washington Post? Strange.

  • http://www.pressthink.org Jay Rosen

    I would check to see where the Washington Post and the Boston Globe went.

    • http://www.kingkaufman.com King Kaufman

      According to PRChecker.com both the Washpost and Boston.com are 8/10.

      • Jeremy Porter

        You are correct. I made the update.

    • Jeremy Porter

      You’re right on WashingtonPost.com, but I didn’t see Boston Globe in the top 25 (it’s 26 in the March 2010 numbers).

  • Chris Stanford

    And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  • http://twitter.com/its_gail Gail Gedan Spencer

    If you’re checking the top 25 newspapers by circulation, you left out:
    8/10: WaPo and Boston Globe
    7/10: AJC

    • Jeremy Porter

      I added WashingtonPost.com to the list (error on my part). The AJC and Boston Globe weren’t on the ABC’s Top 25 as of the March 2010 numbers. If you have access to more current numbers, I’d be happy to share. Thanks!

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  • http://paidcontent.org Staci D. Kramer

    I’m getting 8/10 for washingtonpost.com using two services. Why leave it out along with equally ranked Boston.com?

    • Jeremy Porter

      Oops. WashingtonPost.com should have been on there – clerical error on my part. While Boston.com does have 8/10, The Boston Globe wasn’t on the Top 25 list by circulation (the papers I re-sorted by PageRank for this series). Boston.com is a great news site though.

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  • Bob Powers

    Looking at the list of newspapers in the ABC report, it appears that The Boston Globe is in the top 25 newspapers. It ranks#24 M-F and #18 on Sunday. Am I missing something?

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  • http://www.pressthink.org Jay Rosen

    Jeremy’s right: The Globe always had been a top 25 newspaper by circulation, but this explains how it fell out of the top 25:

    http://www.boston.com/ae/media/articles/2010/04/27/globe_newspapers_across_us_see_circulation_fall/

    • Jeremy Porter

      I might save your comment and hang it up – It’s not everyday that Jay Rosen would say “Jeremy’s Right”. If I had known this topic would be this popular, I would have expanded the research to the Top 100. Perhaps next time.

      I’d be interested in getting your thoughts on how to compare offline and online news sources in an objective way (ex: how does the New York Times compare to the Huffington Post), but expand the comparison to 10 leading print/10 leading online. Any ideas?

  • Chris Chow

    How is PR computed?

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  • http://www.sacbee.com Matt Weiser

    Did you look at any of the McClatchy Newspapers? The Sacramento Bee gets a 7/10 pagerank by my reckoning and is not listed here. Nor is the Bee listed in any of your other rankings, when apparently it should be (Twitter, Facebook, etc).

    • Jeremy Porter

      I only looked at the Top 25 U.S. newspapers by circulation, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

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  • http://www.balanceagency.com Steve Dossett

    This measure of PageRank is not accurate and is a nearly worthless metric.

    • Jeremy Porter

      Why is the PageRank metric not accurate? As far as worthless goes, you’re entitled to your opinion.

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  • http://www.hotelcomentarios.com Carmen

    I think the strength of the Web has nothing to do with PageRank. Pagerank pages 7, may have less force than one that only has 5. That is a function of the links that point and quality.

  • http://www.alquilerdeyatesenibiza.com Ibiza

    agree Jonathan, but the purpose of this post was to look at how the Top 25 newspapers with the top U.S. circulation would stack up if I ranked them by PageRank.

  • http://www.alquilerdeyatesenibiza.com Ibiza

    The Washington Post doesn’t make the list?

  • http://www.barcosbarcelona.com Barcos

    I added WashingtonPost.com to the list (error on my part). The AJC and Boston Globe weren’t on the ABC’s Top 25 as of the March 2010 numbers. If you have access to more current numbers, I’d be happy to share. Thanks!

  • http://www.barcosbarcelona.com Barcos

    Did you look at any of the McClatchy Newspapers? The Sacramento Bee gets a 7/10 pagerank by my reckoning and is not listed here. Nor is the Bee listed in any of your other rankings, when apparently it should be

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