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Google Search Takes A Change


Google recently took a look at their search terms and how they’re used in drug and alcohol research

Google is changing the way searches are conducted when it comes to certain controversial topics and companies that use Google’s AdWord’s are concerned that all the money they put in is not being put to good use. One industry in particular was hit especially hard: the addiction treatment industry. Overnight, many of their ads that could be found with the searches “rehab near me” or “alcohol treatment” and thousands more were completely gone. Google’s explanation is that they’re trying to weed out the misleading experiences that can come from certain searches. In the past, many searches have led users to incorrect treatment centers and healthcare professionals which Google is trying to eliminate by this recent change. However, Google is the largest source of patients for rehab centers so companies are concerned they’ll lose out on patients because their center cannot easily be found.

AdWords works by having advertisers tell Google how much they’re willing to spend each month on ads, which keywords they want associated with their ads, and then Google gets paid each time someone clicks on their ad. So it is only natural that advertisers were confused as to why Google would let go of so much money. It seems as though Google really is looking out for the greater good of its’ users. The purge is affecting large rehab companies seemingly without notification and very suddenly. Advanced Recovery Systems, which owns a line of seven treatment centers under the name The Recovery Village, spends millions of dollars each year on Google ads. They lost 40% of their ads due to Google’s recent purge. Their only issue with the purge is this: those who no longer can find rehab centers via Google search may turn to Google Maps business listings which have similar problems but were unaffected by the AdWords purge. In fact, many rehab listings on Maps are purely spam.

But what other searches are being affected by this recent purge? Recent reports also suggest certain racist and slanderous terms have also been removed eliminating many of the ways users can search for racist literature. Google has said that during their filtering of racist material, they informed advertisers when their ads were offensive and rejected those ads from being allowed on the site at all. They also announced that certain racist and slanderous terms are now not allowed for purchase at all. All of these changes came after both Facebook and Google were accused of allowing such terms to be sought after, thus empowering hate culture.

As the number one search tool in the world, Google often faces scrutiny so they’ve truly left users everywhere wondering what changes will come next.


Sara Cormier

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