No, Google Didn't Remove NaturalNews.com Because Of Fake News

Feb 24, 2017 • 8:01 am | comments (85) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

I wasn't planning on covering this story over here, but I keep getting people asking me on Twitter about why NaturalNews.com was deindexed by Google. People are saying it was because of "fake news" but that is not the case.

I covered the story yesterday afternoon at Search Engine Land where Google told us they are violating Google's webmaster guidelines. Fake news is NOT a violation of Google's guidelines. Yes, Google may drop AdSense publishers from making money with fake news or they may have tweaked their news algorithms but they would not delist a site for fake news.

Why not delist a site for fake news? Well, some people like these sites and they want to read and be part of a community around this stuff. It might be known as alternative facts or whatever. I don't judge or care what people read and Google wants you to find content on these sites when you search for those topics. But it doesn't deindex, at least today, sites for fake news or sites for being pro-Trump as the site said after it was deindexed.

Google's statement to us read:

We don’t comment on individual sites, but if we find that a site violates one or more of our Webmaster Guidelines we may take manual action against it. For webmasters who have questions about their own sites, our Webmaster team provides support through platforms such as the Webmaster Forums. Once a site has remedied the problem, the webmaster can submit the site for reconsideration.

So what was the issue if not fake news? Who knows, it could be tons of things. The site claimed they did not get a notification in the Google Search Console. I am not sure I believe that but it doesn't matter - Google does penalize sites without notifying them of the penalty in Google Search Console often enough.

The one thing that was weird to me that during all this talk about this site being delisted, Google's John Mueller tweeted about an old penalty from 2015:

The sneaky mobile redirects penalty from 2015. Could it be that? Possibly but only Google knows.

Forum discussion at Twitter & Google Web Search Help.

UPDATE: John Mueller from Google posted in another Google Webmaster Help thread that the site was due to sneaky mobile redirects and also added on Twitter that site was notified via Google Search Console.

Here is the post in the forum:

Hi! I work with the Google Search team. We're seeing a bit of confusion & incorrect stories circulating about what's happening here, so just to be super clear -- Natural News is using a sneaky mobile redirect, which is prohibited by our webmaster guidelines (there's a bit about this kind of issue at https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2015/10/detect-and-get-rid-of-unwanted-sneaky.html ). These redirects aren't always easy to reproduce, they're sometimes in widgets or served by ad networks, and can target specific devices, browsers, or user locations. When we last checked, there was one on http://blogs. naturalnews. com/bentonite-clay-a-natural-medicine-cabinet-must-have/ . As soon as this is cleaned up, the site can submit a reconsideration request through Search Console, and once that's reviewed things will return to normal. No action has been taken based on the editorial content of this site.

Here is the tweet:

Update 2: Here is an SEO view of what went wrong in more detail.

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