Editor of Search Engine Land Danny Sullivan says: “It’s not clear whether this is due to a change by Google to its ranking algorithms or by the efforts of external parties to influence the results … but my bet is on the latter.” The fact that the the denial site remains in the listings “is a sign it hasn’t been penalised,” he said.
So the demoting of the site is down to third parties — not directly influenced by paid ads, Sullivan insists, as The Guardian suggests — but instead due to an increased awareness of the issue leading to more people linking the factual sites, such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).
Taking the denial site’s place as the number one result for the search “did the holocaust happen,” Sullivan reported that Google started to rank a page from the USHMM — which confronts the denial and accuses those who deny it of antisemitism — at the top for some searches.
A video on the site’s page says:
“Holocaust denial is a form of antisemitism. The only reason to deny the Holocaust is to inculcate and foster antisemitism. The Holocaust has the dubious distinction of being the best documented genocide in the world so for anybody to disbelieve, they have got to come to it with some sort of preconceived notion.”
Explaining the change, Sullivan says: “As for that new site that’s appearing [USHMM], it was built by an SEO — someone who knows search engine optimization — specifically to do well for this search. It’s like hiring a PR firm to deal with bad publicity. PR people know how to push for good press. SEOs know how to push for good search results.”
Although not yet making it near the top of the results page, a dedicated website www.didtheholocausthappen.co has also been set up to confront the denial.
It’s awareness of that’s sparking change, Sullivan says, though we know Google is working on a solution to these issues, any specific changes are yet to be seen.