“Ancient Armageddon”: How SEO Is Helping Archaeologists Debunk Conspiracy Theories

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The opinions revealed within this story are exclusively the author’s and do not reflect the viewpoints and beliefs of Online search engine Journal or its affiliates.

You might have become aware of “Ancient Armageddon”, a series in which host Graham Hancock proposes controversial theories about the origins of ancient civilizations.

It spent a week trending in the international top 10 on Netflix, accruing around 24,620,000 watch hours between November 14th and November 20th, 2022.

Netflix lends authority to the program by categorizing it as a “docuseries,” and IMDB categorizes it as a “documentary” and “history.”

But online, it’s been shrouded in debate, and search algorithms might be gratifying good-faith reviews about the show from scientists and teachers– as some working archeologists have actually deemed the show unsubstantiated pseudoscience at best, and unsafe false information at worst.

The Society For American Archaeology wrote a letter to Netflix asking it to reclassify and contextualize the program, citing the host’s “aggressive rhetoric,” the show’s “false claims,” and the associations that the theories presented have with “racist, white supremacist ideologies.”

However this is a story about the role SEO plays in the controversy– how researchers and science communicators provide their critiques of the program, and how audiences discover them.

Search algorithms get a lot of reviews for how they can be utilized to spread out misinformation.

However in this case, I’ve seen assistance for educators and scientists who have actually dedicated to pressing back on popular pseudoscience.

Creators Rebutting “Ancient Armageddon” Get A Boost From SEO

I initially discovered of the controversy from Buy YouTube Subscribers creator “History With Kayleigh,” who, while not an academic or certified archaeologist, develops educational videos about ancient history and historical sites.

She communicated with Tweets from researchers who had actually reacted and “decided to attempt and compose a reasonable rebuttal to the program,” as she informed me.

Kayleigh’s video about “Ancient Armageddon” isn’t the best-performing video on her channel. Still, it was certainly performing above the average of her recent releases in a brief amount of time, at 67,000 views on December 1st.

Screenshot from Buy YouTube Subscribers, December

2022 But then, I took another screenshot of the channel after the weekend, on December 5th

. Kayleigh launched a 2nd video, and the very first” Ancient Armageddon: Truth Or Fiction?” had actually already grown to 104,000 views

. Screenshot from Buy YouTube Subscribers, December 2022 Kayleigh wasn’t the only developer to release content about the Netflix series. Dr. Bill Farley, an archaeologist and associate teacher at Southern Connecticut State University who runs a

little Buy YouTube Subscribers channel about archaeology in his free time, made one of the earliest Buy YouTube Subscribers videos critiquing Hancock and the program. And while his reach is much smaller sized, his videos about”Ancient Apocalypse” took off. Screenshot from Buy YouTube Subscribers, December 2022 Screenshot from Buy YouTube Subscribers, December 2022 Dr. Farley shared screenshots of his Buy YouTube Subscribers analytics, showing that

his very first video about Graham Hancock drew more traffic than typical from Google searches. The listed below screenshots are from November 22nd, when

the video was still around 5,000 views. For that specific video, the” external”traffic source was around 28 %, compared to his channel average of around 10%. A third of that external traffic was from Google.

Screenshot of internal analytics of the”Archeology Tube” Buy YouTube Subscribers channel, November 2022< img src= "https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/unnamed-639a5869b100b-sej.png"alt=" A screenshot of YouTube channel"Archaeology Tube"internal analytics"/ > Screenshot of internal analytics of the “Archeology Tube” Buy YouTube Subscribers channel, November 2022

The following screenshot is the total channel data for comparison. Screenshot of internal analytics of the “Archeology Tube” Buy YouTube Subscribers channel, November

2022 He likewise shared the search terms the video was carrying out finest for within Buy YouTube Subscribers search. Screenshot of internal analytics of the “Archeology Tube” Buy YouTube Subscribers channel, November 2022 I checked in once again with his channel on December 5th. Screenshot from Buy YouTube Subscribers, December 2022 This very first video still gains the majority of its

traffic from search terms. External views on it were about 11% lower on December 5th than they were on November 22nd. This makes good sense with publications getting the story

and filling search engine results pages(SERPs ). Screenshot of internal analytics of the”Archeology Tube”Buy YouTube Subscribers channel, November 2022 The 2nd video has wildly various data, being pushed mostly by Buy YouTube Subscribers’s browse features like recommended videos. Screenshot of internal analytics of the “Archeology Tube” Buy YouTube Subscribers channel, November 2022

This time, Buy YouTube Subscribers appears to have actually acknowledged the interest in a trending topic and pushed the video accordingly. In the first video that he made about”Ancient Archaeology, “Dr. Farley resolved Hancock directly with a critique focusing on the relationship in between the theories presented in the program, and white supremacy.

In the 2nd video, Dr. Farley focused on unmasking the particular fallacies in the program.

He told me, “There is a MARKED difference in the reactions to the two videos. In video # 1, I discuss white supremacy and the history of Atlantean misconceptions with racism. That video has … hundreds of disparaging remarks [that] are misogynistic, racist, and homophobic.

The second video also has some remarks like this, but much more positive comments or positive criticisms. This video just spoke directly to a few of the frauds in the show however does not straight deal with bigotry or white supremacy.”

Even with the negative response, the reality remains that individuals enjoyed and engaged with the video, as this screenshot of the video’s engagement stats shows.

Screenshot of internal analytics of the”Archeology Tube”Buy YouTube Subscribers channel, November 2022 One could argue that this is a fluke– and that these apparently successful performance metrics are merely about capitalizing on a trending keyword.

However Buy YouTube Subscribers algorithms work differently from Google Search.

Buy YouTube Subscribers utilizes metadata about videos to approximate relevance, but it also uses user engagement signals such as watch time to evaluate the significance of videos to particular inquiries. Buy YouTube Subscribers’s leading ranking element is audience fulfillment.

“History with Kayleigh” has a big following already that most likely offered her videos an increase. However Dr. Farley does not have a large following, and the reach of his videos comes down to natural discovery.

People Look For Info About “Ancient Armageddon” And Discover Critique

Other scientists, with little and large followings, have also seen unusually high traffic about this topic on other platforms.

Dr. Flint Dibble, an archaeologist at Cardiff University, composed a rebuttal for The Discussion and noted the popularity of the piece on Twitter:

Screenshot from Twitter, November 2022

I reached out to Dr. Dibble for his point of view. He specified: “I have actually gotten a wide variety of reactions to my thread. Plenty of abuse, and plenty of praise. A number of individuals clearly found it while searching for more details on the show.

Some, specifically within the very first week of release, mentioned they were searching Twitter to find responses to it either prior to enjoying or mid-watch.

The people who pointed out finding the thread through a search were all glad for rapidly getting a clearer context for the program.”

He shared an example of a Twitter user who went searching for information about the show while they were viewing it and appreciated the critique he published on the platform:

Screenshot from Twitter, December 2022

Dr. Andre Costopoulos, an archaeologist at the University Of Alberta, wrote about the program on his individual WordPress blog and shared his blog analytics with me in late November.

The content he discussed “Ancient Armageddon” became the best performing on his website in a matter of days, with Google Search making up the clear majority of traffic.

Screenshot of internal analytics from archeothoughts.wordpress.com, November 2022

General, this isn’t a huge quantity of traffic. What’s fascinating here is how the material about the program compares to other content by this developer, specifically due to the fact that the site is fairly little.

Dr. Costopoulos believes that researchers can reach audiences starving for information if they learn the tools.

“Scientists can utilize these tools just as well as our pseudo-alters,” he told me, “and frequently to better effect, due to the fact that we really have proof to support our claims.”

How SEO Can Be Used To Spread Out Misinformation

Browse algorithms are hotbeds of misinformation.

Dissemination of conspiracies and misinformation has been a hot topic on several platforms, from Buy YouTube Subscribers to Buy Facebook Verification Badge.

Google has been considering misinformation and how finest to fix it for years.

People who market conspiracy theories and pseudoscience know this. They’re skilled online marketers and storytellers, and they’re proficient at SEO.

That can make it a lot more difficult to interact good science than misinformation. Researchers have requiring tasks outside of marketing and publishing, and their conclusions are frequently challenging to interact efficiently.

They’re not trained to do it, and academic community is sluggish to adapt to digital trends.

That paves the way for a conspiracy theory to take off with little more than a great story and great marketing.

Dr. Farley stated: “By and large, I believe academics have no idea how to do SEO (I’m simply stumbling around in the dark myself), and false information folks are much, far better at it. Academics, honestly, do not have the time to learn this stuff.

It would be truly cool if our universities would help … however I’ve found the media departments at unis are older school. If I brought this to them, they ‘d pitch a media declaration to the local paper.

Our media department is fantastic and has excellent objectives, however by and large, they’re early in the game on utilizing social networks as a media tool.”

So we have a problem where researchers, who aren’t necessarily trained in communications and marketing, take on against professional marketers of concepts. And they’re doing it with personal passion tasks on top of their existing jobs.

When it pertains to organic reach, scientists need allies.

Is Review Of “Ancient Armageddon” Having An Effect?

The results do not seem as encouraging when you zoom out and have a look at the SERPs for “Ancient Armageddon.”

I opened an incognito window in Chrome and ensured my VPN was turned on (United States area), then looked for [ancient apocalypse]

The results here are a little a mixed bag. The very first outcome is simply a link to the show. That’s to be expected.

Instantly listed below are the video results. The 2nd video outcome appears to support the program. It had around 60,000 views when I took the screenshot. That’s a substantial amount of reach compared to the examples we took a look at above.

The 3rd video result has much less views however critiques the program.

We can also see, on the information panel, that the critiques from the clinical neighborhood may not be having a widespread impact. Audiences examine the program well.

Below the video results, we do see critiques from The Guardian and Slate. Let’s flip over to the news outcomes.

These are mainly reviews of the program published on large media platforms. Reporters are assisting researchers get their message out.

I signed in again a few days later on, utilizing an anonymous guest Chrome web browser with my VPN switched on (United States location). There was an intriguing change in the SERP:

It looks like Google detected the debate and the newsworthiness of the search. The video outcomes were gone, replaced by a “Top Stories” search feature that appears above the organic results.

So, what’s the takeaway here?

Archaeologists Saw An Increase From SEO With Limited, However Important, Effect

Archaeologists did see an increase from SEO on this subject. But we can see from Google results that the show is popular, and the program’s advocates have a lot of traction too.

The limited impact of this collective effort demonstrates the obstacles dealing with science communicators. The effect of their review appears to be a drop in the pail compared to countless individuals who enjoyed the program.

However we should not mark down the success of these researchers and teachers, either.

They’re developing neighborhoods, providing details for individuals who search for it, and changing minds. When you look closely, you can clearly search algorithms rewarding these creators for their efforts.

Interested users do discover legitimate clinical research study when they check out the series. The content is reaching people, and it’s inspiring them to examine the show seriously.

This is motivating news for the general quality of search.

I think marketers can help here.

SEO specialists have the understanding and resources to help magnify these messages. Maybe we might consider it a bit of search social work.

More resources:

Featured Image: Elnur/SMM Panel