SOURCE: The Search Agency

The Search Agency

December 16, 2014 08:00 ET

News and Media Sites Are Slow to Deliver the News According to New Mobile Report

The Search Agency Scorecard Finds Top 50 Print News Outlet Websites Struggle With Social in Addition to Speed on Mobile

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 16, 2014) - The Search Agency, a leading global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, today 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 5 second load time threshold; however, 30% of the sites served Google-encouraged responsive web design (RWD) sites. Additionally, social on these sites still need work; 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 media industry is struggling as evidenced by cutbacks to newsrooms across the nation but, to keep up with the demands of today's mobile and tablet consumer and news reader, websites need to step up their mobile game -- especially their use of social media buttons that can help drive more traffic to their sites," said Brandon Schakola, group director, earned media at The Search Agency. "This industry constantly generates original content to keep and lure new readers but these consumers visit a site on their phones and get turned off by thin sites with heavy pages that are slow to load. It's time to revisit how we consume our news on the go."

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. Mobile user experience best practices evaluated include those set by Google as well as other current functionality and features such as page load time, website format, social markup, social media buttons, search bar functionality, app advertisement, and sign in capability. Similarly, the SEO Ranking Scorecard also awarded a possible five points, where websites were evaluated on architecture best practices such as large page size, missing meta descriptions, missing title tag information and click depth.

Results from the study include:

User Experience Scorecard

  • The Guardian received the highest score (2.5) in The Mobile Experience Scorecard - Print News and Media report's user experience scorecard. 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.
  • How do you view your news? Of the 50 news and media sites scored, 40% served dedicated mobile sites, 30% served sites with Responsive Web Design (RWD), 22% served dynamic mobile sites, and the remaining 8% served the desktop versions of their website on mobile devices.
  • Sharing the news: 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.

SEO Ranking Scorecard

  •, The Atlantic,, and Motor Trend tied with the highest scores (5) on this scorecard.
  • Large page size handicap: 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.

To see the full rankings including methodology or to download a copy of the report, please visit:

About The Search Agency
The Search Agency is a global online marketing firm that combines high-tech and high-touch strategies to help clients engage their customers online and measure ROI beyond a reasonable doubt. With a deep-rooted history in paid search and SEO, The Search Agency understands how activity on the web intersects at search, and executes smart digital marketing strategies that drive measurable results across multiple platforms. Services include Paid Search, SEO, Landing Page Optimization, Display Media, Social Media and Comparison Shopping Management, which are strategically leveraged to maximize the efficacy of clients' integrated marketing campaigns. The company is one of the nation's largest and fastest growing search marketing firms -- named the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency by Advertising Age and among Deloitte's 2011 Technology Fast 500™. Founded in 2002, The Search Agency has grown to more than 180 employees worldwide with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, and additional offices in San Francisco, East Greenwich, Baltimore, London, Toronto and Bangalore. For more information, go to

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jennifer Conway
    Dotted Line Communications for The Search Agency
    Email Contact