Google News and Swansea Letter Bomb

Dafydd Vaughan on 7 February 2007

Google News UKAs part of the major upgrades we put into place on the Waterfront website two weeks ago (link), we submitted the website for inclusion on the Google News index. For those that don’t know, Google News scans news websites from across the world and aggregates them into one system. This is a fantastic resource for both the public and news organisations – enabling us to see the latest news from all media organisations on one page. Google can pick up an article posted on one of the registered websites within about 10 minutes and gives it an appropriate ranking in relation to all the others. The Waterfront’s inclusion in this list was confirmed about a week ago.

Today, a letter bomb exploded at the DVLA headquarters in Swansea, injuring one person. With this major story occurring within our primary catchment area and the possibility of student’s parents being involved in the incident, it was essential that the Waterfront publish something on their website. Andrew Gwilym, our editor put together a quick story and we posted it on our front page at about midday.

Within 10 minutes, it had appeared within the Google News index. This we expected. What we did not expect was for the article to be include alongside (and sometimes above) articles from major news sources such as Reuters, The Guardian and the BBC. For most of the afternoon, our article has been in the top 4 results for the keywords ‘DVLA’, ‘Swansea’ and ‘Letter bomb Swansea’. While this surprised us, we were even more amazed to discover that for a short period, we were also included on the Google News front page, sandwiched between Reuters UK, BBC, Bloomberg and Guardian Unlimited. For anyone who want’s to see this, I have taken a screenshot.

We are amazed at the level of visibility that our small article has been given. Our only explanation is that our new website is easy to navigate, contains a lot of content and is regularly updated so Google counts it as a good source of news. If anyone can offer us a good explanation, feel free to leave us a comment!

Dafydd Vaughan
Web Editor, Waterfront Online

Any views stated here are my own and not those of my employer unless otherwise stated.