The Search Agency Scorecard Finds Top 50 Print News Outlet Websites Struggle with Social, Speed on Mobile

Dec 18, 2014

The Search Agency, a leading global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, released findings from the latest edition of its quarterly report, "The Mobile Experience Scorecard - Print News and Media" which found that none of the most visited print news and media sites scored were able to pass Google's recommended five-second load time threshold, however, 30% of the sites served Google-encouraged responsive web design (RWD) sites.

Additionally, only 56% provided social media options directly on their homepages. The report was compiled by The Search Agency's team of mobile experts, who analyzed which top 50 news and media websites best aligned with established mobile marketing best practices.  

The Search Agency's Mobile Experience Scorecard includes two components, a User Experience Scorecard, measuring a series of different user experience features on mobile, and an SEO Ranking Scorecard, which reviews technical SEO elements of the mobile sites. For the User Experience Scorecard, The Search Agency calculated a total score out of a possible five points - a score of zero being the lowest and a score of five being the highest possible - for each of the sites.

The Guardian received the highest score (2.5). TIME (2.3), New York Post (2.3), Rolling Stone (2.3) and Tell Me Now (2.25) rounded out the top five. The Christian Post (0.7), Mental Floss (0.7) and Sports Illustrated (0.6) ranked as the bottom three.

Of the 50 news and media sites scored, 40% serve dedicated mobile sites, 30% served sites with Responsive Web Design (RWD), 22% served dynamic mobile sites, and the remaining 8% serve the desktop versions of their website on mobile devices.

While 100% of the print news and media sites evaluated in this study exhibited some level of social markup optimization for popular sharing sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter, only 56% of reviewed sites featured social sharing buttons directly on their homepages., The AtlanticPhilly.comand Motor Trend tied with the highest scores (5) on the SEO Ranking Scorecard. Of the crawlable sites scored, 89% were missing meta descriptions, 51% signalled large page size error warnings, 24% suffered from missing title tags, and 4% showed some form of click depth greater than three pages.