What Draws Google to Negative Information on the Internet?
You might be wondering how and why that negative content in your search results was able to rank so high in little time. Why it is even ranking higher than other longer-existing search results. We asked ourselves the same thing, and we suspect that Google’s algorithm is drawn to negative material online.
New negative content ranks high
Google tests all new content to determine where it should rank. When Google detects fresh content, Google crawls it. This explains why sometimes you’ll see new content appearing at different ranking in search results. Sometimes the new content ranks on the first page and disappears to the second or third page. And sometimes it stays on the first page.
Google wants to display variety in search results. This desire for variety in search results is not only for the people who use the search engine, but Google also wants to minimize duplicate content. They stated: “Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information.”
Google’s ranking also depends on other relevance signals, like backlinks, etc. But there are a few more essential elements.
Number of Clicks
Google’s ranking also depends on clicks; the number of times people click on a URL. And that’s where people start asking questions. Because it implies that content on the first page get the most clicks, or close to. But when content that’s recently published, shows up on the first page, the click theory starts to look unreliable.
We’re not saying that results on page 1 of Google in most cases have the most clicks. But we do have questions. Why does this brand new content get more clicks than other material that has already been on page one for much longer? We noticed that the headline of the displayed content in search results plays a big role.
Clickbait headlines are designed to trick people to click them. In most cases, it has a negative tone, bizarre questions, disturbing message or any other type of title that makes people want to know more. Often, the actual information does not adequately represent the headline. Clickbait tricks you into opening a search result with much higher expectations. Why we fall for it? Because we have something called a “negativity bias.”
Our behavior influences Google
Just like Google, our brains highlight things that stand out. Anything with a negative nature like Things with negative nature, such as troublesome thoughts, feelings, and social interactions, have more effect on us than natural or positive things. This negativity bias is taken advantage of by the media to increase profits. They know that by publishing more clickbait headlines, more people will notice and click it, which means more profits.
Because we are drawn to harmful content, we click on the negative titles in Google’s search results. The higher the search result ranks, the more people see it, the more people click on it. Which increases the ranking of the damaging article even more. It’s a cycle of human behavior and Google which makes search results seem more negative than they might be.
Google’s desire for variety in sentiments
Google seems to have the same negativity bias. Chris Smith from MarketingLand noticed another element in Google’s algorithm that might explain why Google is drawn to negative content. Chris thinks that Google prefers to offer search results with multiple sentiments. He didn’t proof it, but we can see where he’s coming from.
Negative Bias in Google’s AutoComplete
This negative bias seems to not only affect the ranking, but also the Google AutoComplete. Recent research from the Observer, showed for example that Google’s search engine prominently suggests neo-Nazi websites and antisemitic writing. When searching Google for “are Jews,” Google suggested “evil.” Type in “are women,” and you will see Google suggesting “evil” and for the phrase “are Muslims” the search engine suggested “bad.”
Confirming this research, the Guardian revealed many more examples of biased search results.
This information implies that Google’s search algorithm isn’t as objective and neutral as Google says. On the contrary, the Google algorithm appears to be increasing the ranking for content that is infused with negativity.