A report from RealClearPolitics has found that Google pushes conservative news sites far down in search results. The RealClearPolitics investigation confirms Breitbart News’ own reporting on Google’s suppression of the site in search results, illustrated by the nearly complete disappearance of Breitbart articles in the results for a search of “Joe Biden.”
RealClearPolitics claims in a recent report that data demonstrates that conservative mediasites including Breitbart News, the Daily Caller, and the Federalist have seen their Google search listings reduced dramatically. The data was provided by the search consultancy firm Sistrix which tracks a million different Google search keywords and keeps track of how highly different sites rank across all the search terms.
Real Clear Politics reports:
Googling the name “Breitbart” still pulls up the website, but it is nearly eliminated from any searches that don’t explicitly name it. For example, Googling the names of Breitbart’s reporters sometimes forces users to click through page after page of less-relevant results before hitting a Breitbart link. In the case of Joel Pollak, the first Breitbart link appears on the bottom of page 7 of Google search results. In comparison, a search on the small Google competitor DuckDuckGo gives multiple links to Pollak’s Breitbart work on the first page.
Breitbart saw that stark reduction in search, even as little else in the news outlet’s reporting model changed. Other conservative news sites, such as the Daily Caller, also were de-ranked at similar times.
The report from RealClearPolitics backs up a previous report from Breitbart News about the downranking of Breitbart in Google Search results. In July, Breitbart News reporter Allum Bokhari wrote:
Search visibility is a key industry measure of how findable a publisher’s content is in Google search. New data shows that Google has suppressed Breitbart’s search visibility by 99.7 percent since 2016.
On April 4, 2016, Breitbart ranked in the top ten search positions (i.e., on the first page of Google search results) for 355 key search terms; but now, as of July 20, 2020, Breitbart ranks in the top ten search positions for only one search term. And, on April 4, 2016, Breitbart ranked in the top 100 search positions for 16,820 key search terms; but now, as of July 20, 2020, Breitbart ranks in the top 100 search positions for only 55 search terms.
Moreover, organic Google search traffic to Breitbart (measured by unique visitors) is down 63 percent when comparing the first half of 2016 with the first half of 2020.
A peer-reviewed study from 2015 published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that a search engine such as Google could sway more than 10% of undecided voters in an election. The paper states: “Such manipulations are difficult to detect, and most people are relatively powerless when trying to resist sources of influence they cannot see. When people are unaware they are being manipulated, they tend to believe they have adopted their new thinking voluntarily.”
The paper further concludes: “Because the majority of people in most democracies use a search engine provided by just one company … election-related search rankings could pose a significant threat to the democratic system of government.”
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org