Univeral Amplifier

Universal Amplifier

Amplifying the topics that power today's PR professional

President Trump Has A Problem with Google?

How Do Google Search Results Work?

This week, President Donald Trump claimed the famous search engine Google was aggregating more negative coverage of his presidency than positive coverage. Google has addressed this matter over the last two years, since a very rocky 2016 election cycle, it seems the President is still not happy with the search engine’s results.

Universal Information Services firmly stands neutral in all political conversations, but with some statistical certainty we can say that it’s not Google’s fault. It’s as simple as looking at the facts and understanding how different search engines index media outlets’ content.

First, it’s important to understand how Google showcases its news and the processes in place to ensure quality content hits your web browser. Look at this flowchart we created, it gives a basic understanding of how Google completes the indexing process.

Google censorship or the impact of Fake News?

It’s no secret that the “Fake News” epidemic has rocked our country since the 2016 election. President Trump’s latest allegations create an interesting narrative for the White House, which is now claiming censorship after months of dealing massive blows to the mainstream media regarding credibility. Google has taken proactive steps in not allowing political bias to enter in to searches and has repeatedly stated it doesn’t bias its results.

PJMedia.com did a pretty good job at analyzing the results Google spits out re: “Trump News.” In their analysis, there were only two “right-leaning” websites that were  published in the first 100 results (The Wall Street Journal and Fox News) when searched via Google, then went on to list a few other “right-leaning” websites they felt should have been showcased – such as National Review, Breitbart, The Blaze, and Red State.

However, there seems to be a credibility issue on some of these “right-leaning” websites that PJMedia.com feels should be showing up more frequently. Take a look at the screen shot below from one of the websites PJMedia.com felt should be popping up more in Google searches. The headline screams bias and obviously has questionable reputation.

Fake News and media measurement

Look at these right leaning websites. What do you notice? No particularly large focus on the Trump presidency.

Measuring the news from the rightAnalyzing right political websites

Furthermore, there are no mentions of positive news concerning President Trump on these websites. During a busy day for the President, Tuesday, August 28, 2018, (McCain news, Google controversy), these specific news outlets chose to focus on issues that don’t necessarily count as “trending news.” Simply by looking at CNN, and the amount of times they cover Trump per day, Google would certainly improve CNN’s position in the “freshness” and “relevancy” qualifications outlined in the flowchart above. A simple look at CNN’s front page will help you visualize just how much Trump coverage they churn out. Five total mentions on the front page that were all published on the website within 12 hours.

PR Measurement of CNN website and President Trump

Earned PR isn’t the same as expected PR

It seems that President Trump is unhappy with his earned media results, a problem not uncommon to clients that use a news monitoring and measurement service. In this case, the client/President, believes he should be receiving more news with a positive sentiment. Unfortunately, a true media monitor can’t skew results for a client because “expectations” are not an objective or goal to plan around.

When a public relations firm or organization uses a media monitoring firm to track their exposure comprehensively, understanding goals and objectives is part of the process. The client may have hopes and aspirations for their efforts, but their actions and words ultimately will steer the outcomes, which, in this illustration, are media results.

An unbiased analysis of President’s Trump campaign and presidency has an over-preponderance of media results (articles, stories, broadcasts, posts) that are negative in tone or sentiment. To invert the analysis, you would say there is a lack of positive news related to President Trump. All of this shows the outcome of media exposure, but how does this reality reflect a bias from Google? It doesn’t.

Real media measurement matters

News monitoring analysis looks at all coverage, then analyzes every story. Services like Universal Information Services use trained analysts to code the sentiment and understand the message points. Unbiased inferences are determined by people because automated sentiment analysis is only about 55% accurate – some might say as inaccurate as an election suffering from interference.

How do you view these search result allegations from our President? Is Google stacking the chips against him? We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Feel free to respond in the comments.

Austin Gaule PR measurement director Universal Information Services

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