Below you will find out why Google has blacklisted (aka penalized or de-indexed) NaturalNews.com, along with input we have received directly from Mike Adams himself.
You will only get this information here, despite Gizmodo, DailyKos and other organizations trying to steal the headlines without the full story. (These websites could also be at risk for the same reason Natural News is as well – more on that later.)
If you have missed it, here is a quick recap:
- I broke the news here that Google Penalized Natrual News.
- I then pondered a Google Fake News Penalty. Could Google one day decide which sites should not display in Google Search results? Maybe. No, there is no Google Fake News Penalty. This is me thinking into the future. (Telapost’s slogan is “The future of the web” and I do a lot of out loud thinking here. Deal.)
- Mike Adams of Natural News discovered that his website was penalized and wrote about it on his site and has since wrote several articles about Google censoring his website. If you would like to read them do so and draw your own conclusion.
- Gizmodo and others try to steal the headlines while making fun of Natural News at the same time. DailyKos has an article which does the same thing.
- In this article I then posted suspicions of the true reason of the penalty being manipulative links.
- Mike Adams contacts me to give me inside information. (Thank you Mike!)
Why was Natural News Blacklisted?
When a site no longer shows up in search results it is always due to a catastrophic failure on the website’s side or a penalty by a search engine. In this case, it was a penalty. Sort of. In the SEO world we call this de-indexed, as the site no longer shows up in Google’s index.
I wrote about the reason of the penalty possibly being the links from the subdomain blogs.naturalnews.com. Mike Adams confirmed that he did receive a “manual action” for this for the subdomain and an alert in Google Search Console. He is now working on outbound link issues on a subdomain due to what he calls “unauthorized blogger activity”. Indeed, the Naturlal News author application clearly states “We ask that you link to your other interests in a contextual way or in the “about the author” section of your posts and not turn a blog post into a spammy commercial”. Unfortunately, it is tough to police bloggers. At the moment, I can see that he has added a NoFollow attribute to outbound links on the subdomain. This basically asks search engines to give those links no weight and not follow them (even though they do follow them). Still, lots of people had access to the subdomain and they were using their author status to link out to target sites in an effort to make those sites rank better.
This, however, does not explain why the root domain NaturalNews.com was de-indexed. Admittedly, I have not personally gone through posts on the site to investigate. I will be monitoring the situation and looking into it further and when I know more I will post it here. But two questions come to mind:
- Is there unnatural outbound linking taking place on the main domain? Maybe. I haven’t dug that deep. Maybe I will get to this in a day or two. If you have time and want to look please feel free to do so and comment below or email me and I will give you full credit.
- Does a manual action on a subdomain affect the root domain? No idea. I am guessing that it depends and every case is different. I mostly do SEO for businesses and their SEO issues are 100% different than these. But I can say that if a search engine like Bing or Google is looking over your subdomain they are likely looking at your root domain for issues as well.
Mike Adams on why the root domain is blacklisted
Today Mike put an article up on Natural News which says:
“With the deliberate and malicious censoring of Natural News, Google is now demonstrating it is a DANGEROUS MONOPOLY that’s now using monopoly power to silence opinions and information it doesn’t like. This is an extremely dangerous precedent and, if not halted, would allow Google to determine the outcome of every future election by simply censoring targeted websites from its search results.”
This article promotes the new Natural News White House petition on petitions.whitehouse.gov: Petition to Ban Google’s Blatant Suppression of Free Speech.
Links are sold from other news organizations as well
I do not feel these companies are at risk. Why? The sheer number of links coming from their domain. If blogs.naturalnews.com has hundreds authors spamming the place up and they likely keep popping up on Google’s radar for websites which have heavily abused every free blogging platform out there, it puts Natural News at risk. Also, more visible news websites are usually refencing real content so that it passes the sniff test of editors. I see these opportunities everywhere. I was just talking to someone about a disease German Shepherds can obtain a few hours ago and discovered Wikipedia is looking for a reference. Also, if you have a great content developer working with you they will discover REAL ways to get referenced online. For example, today alone I have received dozens of completely natural links just by being the first person out there to document the Natural News issue. Heck, I was writing about it before Mike Adams was. 🙂
Still, plenty of websites have issues with unnatural links. Heck, all of them do. Just to name a few: Forbes, Huffington Post, Gizmodo, DailyKos, BuzzFeed, Lifehack, BlogHer, etc. Over the years, I have even built internal lists of “compromised” journalists and authors (for my eyes only, no outing here, sorry). Most of these sites can’t pay journalists what they deserve. And heck if there is a good story they can cover and you slip them $250 – $1400 to cover it, lots of humans are going to accept that.
Links for sale on Gizmodo, DailyKos, and more
Today I’ll use Gizmodo and DailyKos as examples since they were nice enough to write about Natural News and completely skip over my coverage.
Gizmodo is actually a pretty nice site and attempts to keep spam to a minimum. But still, you can buy links there. In fact I have met someone who sells links there. It isn’t a secret though…
Oh wow, look at that, the DailyKos article on Natural News actually links out to a website owned by the author (SkepticalRaptor). OOPS!! lol (Here’s that article, you’ll have to cut and paste though: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/2/23/1637044/-Google-blacklisted-Natural-News-hilarity-from-the-crackpot-ensues). If you click through to the article the author is promoting on their own website you will see a site heavily infected by advertisements in clear violation of Google’s above-the-fold algorithm.
DailyKos has been heavily spammed for quite a long time. Heck, if I couldn’t get links naturally I’d spam it myself. haha
Again, this is nothing unique to Gizmodo and Daily Kos. This has been going on for decades in one form or another – probably hundreds of years! It isn’t stopping any time soon.
Does this mean Google is Biased?
I mention above my reasons for why one site may be whacked and not the next one. Just because there are a few people at one of these sites or a larger site like CNet that can link out doesn’t mean thousands of pages should be penalized. At least I don’t think so, but that is just 2 cents. Plenty of people out there think this is totally biased.
Ian on Twitter was one of the only few people out there to catch what was really going on and thinks G (Google) should ban all sorts of organizations for OBL (outbound links) (that is, if they are going to ban Natural News.)
— Ian Donovan (@optimuswire) February 24, 2017
Don’t forget, links are good
I am just babbling at this point. But, links are good. I link out and cite things all the time. This is, after all, the “web”. Lots of news organizations are scared of linking out because of penalties just like this one. They shouldn’t be. Cite your sources!
- Mike Adams confirmed the subdomain was penalized by a manual action in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines due to unauthorized blogger activity.
- Why the main domain and other subdomains is penalized is not crystal clear. They did lose indexing at the same time or near the same time as the subdomain so a manual penalty is possible. Mike says Google is attempting to silence “information it doesn’t like”.
- I will post updates here.
What do you think?
It is bizarre but I am not very familiar with Natural News (I follow all sorts of Internet entrepreneurs or am at least aware of many of them). I asked Mike earlier if he had covered things like dogs who can smell cancer, and he had. That is very interesting life saving news mainstream media does not cover that I would personally like to see more attention drawn to. It looks like there is satire along with good information on the site in places as well. I really can’t comment on the rest of the site til I’ve looked it over more.
So what do you think?
Is Mike Adams crazy to think that Google is attempting to silence him?
Will this all work out in Natural News’ favor by raising awareness of the site via articles online and the hashtag #SaveNaturalNews?
Have you looked over the site? What do you think about the content on the root domain naturalnews.com – is it filled with spam like “San Francisco locksmiths” or naturally citing contextually relevant information?
Update February 26, 2017:
Natural News has said that they have a manual action for sneaky redirects. These typically occur when someone on a mobile device clicks through to a URL and gets content different than they were expecting. These are often found on small business websites which have a mobile site. At the moment Mike Adams is unable to find any pages which do not work properly on a cell phone and Google has not lifted the penalty, keeping the site out of search results.