Evidence Based

SelfHacked and Other Health Websites Accuse Google of Censorship

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Numerous reputable health information websites have noticed significant declines in website traffic as a result of Google’s recent updates. Prominent figures in the alternative health industry are convinced that Google has gone beyond censoring anti-vaccination information and is starting to censor credible and science-backed alternative health websites.

Recently, the health website community came together to voice their concerns about the new Google updates which took place on June 3 and July 12 that penalized health websites.  Four prominent health websites have published responses to their plummeting search traffic and visibility and have called Google out on their methodologies. Selfhacked.com, Examine.com, and Nootropedia.com have published articles about their unexplained fall from the areas in which they used to rank.  

In their places, websites with inferior quality content posted on big brand websites are now in Google’s favor.  The websites which took the biggest hit present health and alternative health information regarding supplements, but the most puzzling is the penalty that affects sites like Examine.com and Selfhacked.com.  Selfhacked.com is HONcode Certified by Health on the Net, an organization involved with the WHO (World Health Organization).  HONcode is a rigorous certification for health websites to ensure transparency and reliability.

Both Selfhacked.com and Examine.com have incredible, quality content that is well-researched and uses credible scientific resources—a common theme between all the websites that were affected.  Examine.com and Selfhacked.com each have a team of thoroughly educated and credentialed authors creating content which goes through an extensive editorial process to scientifically and medically review the content for accuracy and quality.  Both websites follow Google’s Search Rating Guidelines and, on paper, follow the Google qualifications of E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trust). These were sites that were well and appropriately represented in Google’s search engine results—until the recent updates.

Now, these sites have been buried to the very last pages of Google for no apparent reason.  There were numerous sites affected by the updates, but Selfhacked.com and Examine.com have consulted with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts, and so far, there has not been a satisfactory explanation provided.

This mystery has led many of the health websites to question if Google is now censoring health information and alternative health information as an extension to the areas that Google is currently censoring.  It’s already well known that Google has been censoring websites that promote anti-vaccine and natural cancer remedies (such as Greenmedinfo.com), and recent document leaks verify this.

But now Google is taking their censorship to the next level and penalizing every reasonably sized health website that isn’t considered ‘mainstream’ enough for them. Google is equally penalizing websites that provide pinpoint citations from mainstream science publications to every statement or claim made.

Joe Cohen, the founder of Selfhacked.com, gives detailed information about how we can see this censorship occurring with real-time examples in his article “Google is Taking Censorship of Health Websites to the Next Level”.  Nootropedia’s article “It’s Your-Money-Your-Life—Not Google’s” expresses concern about Google’s recent involvement in Antitrust Hearings and whether Google should be considered more like a publisher given such biases. Google’s current status as a content discovery platform gives it legal immunity for the content found through its platform, but by deciding to censor the content, they are acting more akin to a publisher (that is not afforded such legal protection).

It’s clear something is going on, and censorship of health information ultimately serves no one—but Google.

Response From Press Release Service (PRWeb)

We initially tried to get this exact post published in PRWeb, a press release service that is a subsidiary of Cision, but we were not allowed to post this. That’s when we decided to publish this on SelfHacked.

This was their response:

“As PRWeb does NOT publish press releases that intend to harm an individual or group, we require that you focus your press release on your news announcement.

ALL mentions of the Google censorship MUST be REMOVED and ANY information that implicates them is wrong for doing so.”

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