After six days of being blacklisted by Google, the NaturalNews.com website has been restored to Google’s search results. The action by Google follows the largest and most vocal backlash against Google’s de-listing of any website in the history of the company, and it has sparked many new discussions and debates about search engines, censorship and free speech.
All of us at Natural News — as well as our many millions of fans — are grateful for Google’s decision to restore the NaturalNews.com website, but we are also deeply troubled by the unjustified blacklisting of Natural News and what it means for free speech across the ‘net.
For the record, there was never any allegation or evidence that Natural News had intentionally violated Google’s webmaster guidelines. While Google said we were being flagged for a so-called “sneaky mobile redirect” on a very small number of pages in a subdomain (blogs.naturalnews.com) which were created by outside bloggers, Google went to the extraordinary step of banning the entire NaturalNews.com root domain and all its subdomains — a step that would never have been applied to CNN, Huffington Post or other popular news websites. In fact, a Natural News investigation showed that violations identified involving websites like HuffPo, Forbes and CNN did not result in the same kind of blacklisting that was applied to Natural News.
Furthermore, while Google did make an effort to provide us with one URL that they said flagged this mobile redirect, to date there hasn’t been a single SEO expert or engineer who could reproduce the supposed redirect issue.
Even more disturbingly, when we went to the Google product webmaster forum to ask for help identifying this issue, we were insulted, mocked and accused of lying by Google’s supporters who behaved like a pack of jackals rather than search engine professionals.