Sunday, September 16, 2018

Google doesn't love us anymore

One of the reasons we started out with and stuck with a Blogger blog for so long has to do with Google's past tendency to give priority to its own.

It took us very little time to make it to the top of Google's search results for Web surfers using the terms "PolitiFact" and "bias."

But we surmise that some time near the 2016 election Google tweaked its algorithms in a way that seriously eroded our traffic. That was good news for PolitiFact, whose fact checking efforts we criticize and Google tries to promote.

And perhaps "eroded" isn't the right word. Our traffic pretty much fell off a cliff between the time Trump won election and the time Trump took office. And it coincided with the Google downranking that occurred while the site was enjoying its peak traffic.

We've found it interesting over the past couple of years to see how different search engines treated a search for "PolitiFact bias." Today's result from Microsoft's Bing search engine was a pleasant surprise. Our website was the top result and our site was highlighted with an informational window.

The search result even calls the site "Official Site." We're humbled. Seriously.

What does the same search look like on Google today?


"Media Bias Fact Check"? Seriously?

Dan flippin' Bongino? Seriously?

A "PolitiFact" information box to the upper right?

The hit for our site is No. 7.

It's fair to charge that we're not SEO geniuses. But on the other hand we provide excellent content about "PolitiFact" and "bias." We daresay nobody has done it better on a more consistent basis.


DuckDuckGo is gaining in popularity. It's a search engine marketing itself based on not tracking users' searches. So we're No. 1 on Bing and DuckDuckGo but No. 7 on Google.

It's not that we think Google is deliberately targeting this website. Google has some kind of vision for what it wants to end up high in its rankings and designs its algorithms to reach toward that goal. Sites like this one are "collateral damage" and "disparate impact."


  1. This post is misleading for two reasons, 1. Because it implies that google is specifically down-ranking your website. (Yes, it still does, even if your little blurb at the bottom tries to tell otherwise. "One of the reasons we started out with and stuck with a Blogger blog for so long has to do with Google's past tendency to give priority to its own." and "But we surmise that some time near the 2016 election Google tweaked its algorithms in a way that seriously eroded our traffic" Prove this point) 2. Because you glossed over a simple feature google uses to sort websites.

    1. Google does not down-rank your website because it criticizes PolitiFact for it's bias. To imply that It is you would have to give evidence of intent to down-rank your website, and documentation of the down-ranking happening (i.e. Search results from long ago that show you at the top or near the top rather than in #7).

    2. You glossed over Google's correction feature, which automatically changes the search results based on a perceived spelling error on google's end. Google then does "Showing Results for: Politifact Bias" Rather than politifactbias, which is your website url (without the .com)

    Searching "Politifact Bias" instead of "politifactbias" In bing garners similar results. The Federalist is ranked above your website in bing, when you search "Politifact Bias", however when searching "Politifactbias" It runs the opposite. Does this mean that Bing has a prejudice against you and wants to shut you down? Of course not. The results (For this search) are purely algorithmic. Now, I'm not denying the possibility that google does this for other platforms. They did in the past. They had a fact checking feature implemented into their search platform, which showed up on popular Conservative searches. Search daily wire, you get fact checks "Fact checking" claims by those websites. But the pattern? Nearly every single website that was being checked were purely conservative. I digress.

    Searching on google "politifactbias" (with quotes added) shows your website at the top. If google were trying to push you down the line, why wouldn't they push results for that down as well?

    Similarly, searching "Politifact Bias" In quotes bumps your site to #3. Google has this "" feature so that you can find specific things, but their results come from an algorithm that tries to find the most relevant, most up to date, and most helpful searches for the user.

    If your post isn't about Google intentionally down-ranking your website in their search results, then what is the point of making it at all? You complain about google pushing your website down the line, yet insist that you don't think they're targeting your website. If so, then what's the point in complaining that it's lower down the list in their search results? Anyway, maybe if you spent just a little more time on promoting your website and improving it's theme, it would turn out better in search results. MediaBiasFactCheck has an Alexa ranking of 37k

    Yours has a ranking of 2,344,570. Not looking good.

    1. You make a great point, "Jobman," except the only evidence you point to in the post contradicts what you say.

      Is it even worth replying to somebody who ignores what we say plainly while focusing on what we supposedly imply to the contrary?

      Part of our work involves doing searches for cases of PolitiFact's bias. As a result, we routinely performed Google searches for "PolitiFact" and "Bias," with the site PolitiFact Bias routinely and consistently coming back as the top result. That's on Google. That changed not long after Matt Shapiro's (weak) series on PolitiFact's bias for The Weekly Standard, near the same time Google made a number of tweaks to its algorithms that flipped traffic patterns for various websites.

      Believe it don't. We don't care. We do not need to prove it to you.

      And the point of the post is entirely obvious (as well as stated): "Google has some kind of vision for what it wants to end up high in its rankings and designs its algorithms to reach toward that goal." The screenshots we provided support that premise.


    2. The evidence that I point to doesn't contradict what I say. Yes, that's my rebuttal. You haven't proven that It does contradict what I say. Maybe try again later?

      Your title, "Google doesn't love us anymore" and contents of your post prove that you believe that Google somehow wants to push your content lower, yet you give no evidence for this. Then, since you don't have any evidence, you try to brush it off and say "This post isn't about google targeting us" When every part of your post says otherwise.

      When you claim that Google has made changes that have negatively impacted your website, you DO have to prove that. For now, I'll just dismiss your claim entirely until you provide evidence that google has made these changes, and that your website was previously ranked on the top of the list.

      Every single web indexing website in the history of the internet has had the purpose of putting forth the most relevant search results. You could prove that by literally googling anything, then saying "'X' Irrelevant thing didn't show up on the search results", but you compared search results of google and other search engines In order to convey the theme that google is somehow biased in their web searches because your website isn't at the top for theirs.

      I'll repeat what I said earlier: If you want to improve the traffic on your website, you need to improve your website, and you need to promote your website. Placing the blame on google for their algorithms rather than using the algorithms to your advantage isn't helping. A good place to start with this is simply changing/adding a title for your website in html, this will show up on google's web searches and possibly bump you up.

      Also: I asked what is the point of making the post, not what the point of the post is. Yeah wow, you "proved" that google has a vision for what it wants at the top. So what? What's the point in proving this?

      Improve your website. It's not that hard. Even blogger, as ugly as it is, has options to make your website shine.

    3. We've replid to "Jobman" with a post titled "Thinking Lessons."

      We grant "Jobman" leave to answer that post using a verifiable identity. The "Jobman" pseudonym, as we explain in the linked post, has worn out its welcome at PFB.


Thanks to commenters who refuse to honor various requests from the blog administrators, all comments are now moderated. Pseudonymous commenters who do not choose distinctive pseudonyms will not be published, period. No "Anonymous." No "Unknown." Etc.