Some people believe that the Search Engine giant Google has been prejudiced against conservative websites, and it has been circulated in the news again and again. The controversy has peaked in the last few years.
The claim for the biasness usually in progress with the President, but eventually, it made its way all the way to Congress.
Google is also asked to appear in Congress again to answer the accusations related to the censorship of conservative websites.
The session “Google and Censorship through Search Engines” will be led by Senator Ted Cruz.
The ultimate theory behind the rumors is that Google has manually tweaked the overall search results to ensure that conventional news does not get maximum exposure equivalent to liberal media just to drive their left-leaning memo.
Being a tech-savvy and someone who seeks great interest in SEO and also have insights on how does Search Engines work, it was somewhere important to explore the alleges bias against the conservative websites.
People those who don’t understand much about SEO – SEO is extremely vital for the success of the online industry.
Platform Vs. Publisher
IT-tech giants like Google (and even Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have got the protection by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which is a Provision of the Communication Decency Act. As per the standings of this act, it protects these businesses from facing any lawful exploit that might because of everything available on the sites.
The important thing to note here is that the act presents these companies as platforms and not as publishers.
In case Google was encouraging any given program proactively and censoring the political lookouts that diverged from their ideology, that particular action could have been used as a groundwork to annul its defense under the act.
In such a scenario, they will no longer be a platform but will become a publisher. And the designation of the publisher suggests that they would be lawfully accountable for any info, fact or statistics a user puts on the platform.
But this cannot happen, right?
Let’s have a look at the insights of Senator Josh Hawley and the “Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act.”
Tech trade organizations on Wednesday lashed out at a newly proposed bill by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., that would fundamentally alter the business models of tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube.
The new bill, titled the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, would remove the immunity provided by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that protects major tech companies from liability for the content posted by their users. Under the new bill, companies would have to submit to audits every two years to prove their algorithms, and content-removal practices are “politically neutral” in order to maintain their immunity.”
If the Senate Committee can showcase Google and others like Facebook, Twitter, etc., that they are prejudiced against conventional broadcasting partner by quieting their voices, they will have the grounds to pass this bill or something similar to it.
If this happens, it will eliminate protections of third party content for all the websites presently working as platforms.
“This bill forces platforms to make an impossible choice: either host reprehensible, but First Amendment protected speech, or lose legal protections that allow them to moderate illegal content like human trafficking and violent extremism,” said Michael Beckerman, president, and CEO of the Internet Association, in a statement.”
In case the protection through Section 230 goes away, these companies will be left with two choices.
Moderating content at this point of time would be an extremely difficult task, especially when considering the companies with more than billions of users and counting every day.
What is the Need to Do This?
There are more than hundreds of possible reasons behind this, and most interestingly, most of them are just hypothetical in nature.
In most of the analyses or reports have confirmed that conservative policymakers panic the power of “big tech” as well as their capability to regulate most of the things over the internet. This has never been an idea without worth, the idea based on which they target conservatives is mainly founded as well as fuelled with the lack of comprehension on how content gets textured in the top position.
One More Time, Is Google Prejudiced?
Let’s have a look at some facts before answering the question, and that has been made to build the case that it is. Numerous groups and intended parties that have strived producing their own “investigation” into the already professed bias of Google.
No, there will be no examination for each of the cases, but it will indeed take a little amount of time to go over the general conclusions as there are no massive alteration between the allegations or conclusions, only in the commitment they allocated behind their assumptions.
“Proof of Prejudice”
There were some attempts made to discriminate whether Google is modifying their algorithms manually to overpower traditional voices.
All these investigatory procedures have arrived from the study conducted by two researchers at the highly appreciated Computational Journalism Lab at the North-western which is down to the exceptionally discredited Project Veritas – conversing with a figure in the shadows regarding the ‘proof’ coupled with edited videos with an employee from Google supposedly accepting to the “conspiracy”.
Irrespective of the fact, no matter looked into this they all left a very vital constituent out of their examination.
What Was Left Out?
They usually left out the SEO part (Search Engine Optimization) along with how it marks which particular sites get seen in Google’s search results first. The concept of Search Engine Optimization is not an addition or something that any just tack on at the end. It is also known as the carter of all assignments in the organic search of Google.
There is nothing that gets a noticeable spot in Google without fulfilling the factors required to get rank. So if someone ignores SEO as a part of the research, the most one will get is a correlation and not causation.
All Ranking Factors and News Sites of Google
As of now, nothing official, but more than 200 ranking factors are in use to get organic search results in Google. All these factors are essentially the part of the algorithm a website needs to “hit” for Google to rank it well. In case you fail to hit these features at the right verges, it gets difficult to get rank like someone else.
Not those 200 factors are the only ones that affect the way News content gets placed on Google. There are many others where one needs to get in.
Google News: Getting In
Before anyone gets a dedicated ranking for the news site, search engine Giant has to receive the site into Google News. The entire process is done manually, where one needs to send in the site to the Publisher Center of Google, and then they review it for the newsworthiness as well as alongside the requisite technical guidelines.
The site needs to fulfill all the criterions, or it will be prohibited – none of them should be related to the political ideology of the site. So, before a site is seen in Google News, one needs to get into News.
Another Factor – AMP
Abbreviated as Accelerated Mobile Pages – it is a modern framework created by Google to make the pages of the site load quicker on mobile gadgets. AMP implies a whole lot of additional workload for the developers, so if you don’t get a reason where you actually need it, they are not likely to embrace it that easily.
Google brings new carousel.
Let’s comprehend it properly –
TO won this featured placement of Google’s search results, the site should not only have to be encompassed in the Google News, but it is also important to have AMP pages. Site that does not have AMP connected will get to see their site into news carousel.
The biggest reason is that the featured placement position in the News Carousel has the potential to get endless of clicks to the site of the news publishers. It the foremost thing that comes into the notice of the people, and most of them click on it.
So, now you have the site in the Google News, added with AMP, you must be confident that you are done, right? Wait, it’s not over yet!
Google Search vs. Google News
The entry of a website into the news section of Google is only guaranteed when it is in the Google News.
It’s neither the regular Google Search Results nor the area where News Carousel is!
You must be thinking about how to get to the news carousel or steady Google Search pages?
Here comes the importance of the so-called rules, i.e., ranking factors we have discussed earlier in the post.
In case a website aspires to be on the regular organic search results, it gets imperative for the same to encounter the ranking factor measures successfully that Google considers in a quality site.
Google is very particular about the kind of results it brings for the users and believes in delivering quality results. With the help of fulfilling all the requirements for the site, the owner ensures that Google can easily show the site on the first position for a particular query or the first page of the search results – no one wants to be on Page 2.
Certain ranking factors are:
The list continues with more than 200 primary factors and many other sub-factors.
If someone changes the liberal site to conventional and conservatives looked for what was there on the site, it is better to maintain the traffic as well as rankings. All you need is to switch out your target audience.
Considering the fact that if the newly conservative site does not have enough user searching for the terms that match the content available, the chances are high that you will lose potential visitors and ultimately positions for the site.
In addition, if the site fails to match the inquiry of the user, Google will never bring the pages back; irrespective of the fact how well the site fulfills the ranking factors as well as practices.
It is somewhere true that traditional sites do not improve their pages for the similar terms that liberal prefers to do. So, every time a user comes with a query and a liberal site comes back; it is clear that there is no content counterpart in Google from a conservative site.
Liberal sites are popular to create more content, and there are numerous sites marked with top-notch quality. So, as per the database of Google for prospective matches, the liberal sites with maximum pages get better exposure to appear in the search results for a specific query.
Hold on! Weren’t We Talking About Any Bias?
Yes, somewhere we were discussing about the biased nature of the Google.
It is dreadfully difficult to discover, why a particular site is positioned without doing a proper audit for the site to define how fine every site abides by best practices. Somewhere down the line, it also displays that one need to encounter the inflexible standards before a site can even get into Google News or its Carousels – measures or standards that are frequently used imperfectly to look out for bias.
Make sure to dig out some useful information even before reaching out to a decision to assert whether the site is biased or not –
Rumours are there that Google has been biased to its own offerings in the search results, but on the contrary, the organic search results are not liberally or conservatively biased.
As of now, you can’t have any factor to get rankings just by accumulating copious content to the pages or for trailing positions by toting conservative content. And if there is a ranking factor, it must have an impact on all the pages and not just only on one or two. Be it for good or bad; ranking factors can never be smeared at the domain name level.
Do you think that the conservative site is not doing well and getting beaten up by everyone else?
It might happen, and possibilities are there that the site has been suppressed for the views, but at the same time, the site lack SEO.
No, it does not mean or suggests that the SEO team is not living up to the mark. Remember, Newscast is a hard-hitting genre in which every site is in its best form. But if you aim to make it big and work well, you will certainly find getting site audit and resolving the errors way more valuable for the site, rather than waiting for some law to become mandatory for business practices.
Yes, it is not the bias that hurts you the most – it’s pure competition!