Script / Documentation
Welcome back to Just Facts Academy, where you learn how to research like a genius.
Remember, you don’t have to be an Einstein to be a great researcher. Just apply the 7 Standards of Credibility from our first video series, and you’ll be head and shoulders above the rest.
Now, we’re taking it up a notch!
In order to research like a genius, you need to know how to search like a genius.
Thirty years ago, that meant going to the library, using the Dewey Decimal system, and pouring through books, old magazines, and microfilms.
Today, we have the internet, which can release an avalanche of information with a click. But as savvy researchers know—it’s not all reliable. In fact, the top search results for important issues are manipulated by corporations’ opinions of what’s credible and what’s not.
Need a disturbing example? Google released a document in 2019 revealing that it has been rigging its algorithms since 2014 under a program called “Your Money or Your Life.” In the words of Google, this program covers any issue that “could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.” For such searches, Google wrote, “We will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.”   
So, if you use basic search terms and don’t look beyond the first 10 results—like most people—you’re blindly trusting your money, your life, and the money and lives of your loved ones to corporate executives who may not be competent, honest, or even decent. 
As more people have realized this, trust in search engines has plummeted all the way from 73% in 2012 to 45% in 2021. 
So, how can we find reliable information? Well, it’s gonna take some effort, because it’s not as simple as just getting away from Google. Other search engines have the same problems. Furthermore, other engines don’t yet work properly with some of the hacks we’re about to show you.
Use these tips to supercharge your search:
1) Look beyond the first page of results. Many searches yield millions of results, so if the issue is important, why settle for what other people want you to see? Ever notice how Google frequently presents a Wikipedia page among its top results? Yet, even Wikipedia admits that “Wikipedia is not a reliable source….”
2) Perform tightly focused searches. You can do this by using:
- quote marks to find exact words or phrases
- operators like “OR” and “NOT” to expand and limit options.
- domain limiters to search for specific types of sites.
- date limiters to search for materials published in specific timeframes.
Not too sure how to do this? Check out our handy notes that will quickly show you how.
3) Modify your searches. If your first search results don’t produce what you’re looking for, ask yourself, “What is wrong with these results?” and then change your search terms. If that doesn’t work, keep refining until you find that pot of gold.
4) Use Google Scholar. Currently, the order in these rankings isn’t as manipulated as Google’s main search. Also, it cuts out a lot of the junk that is on the net, but sadly, it often cuts out some quality content as well.
5) Quickly search through the sources you access with this simple trick. Use the FIND function (Crtl+F on PCs and Command+F on Macs).
6) Be super skeptical of search engines and other platforms that censor and bury what they deem to be “misinformation.” Einstein warned, “Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech.” Some big tech execs may say otherwise, but I’d trust Einstein on this one.
7) Learn from your experiences. Bookmark and record websites that deliver provable facts, and kick those that don’t to the curb.
Finally, take everything with a grain of salt and vet it with the Standards of Credibility we share in our first video series. There is no substitute for this, especially when lives are on the line.
Applying these principles will supercharge your searches, allow you to quickly find what you’re looking for, and help you to research like a genius.
 “How Google Fights Disinformation.” Google, February 2019. <www.justfacts.com>
Our Search Quality Raters Guidelines acknowledge that some types of pages could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users. We call those “Your Money or Your Life” pages or YMYL. We introduced the YMYL category in 2014. They include financial transaction or information pages, medical and legal information pages, as well as news articles, and public and/or official information pages that are important for having an informed citizenry. This last category can comprise anything from information about local, state, or national government processes or policies, news about important topics in a given country, or disaster response services.
For these “YMYL” pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.
Similarly, we direct our Google Search evaluators to be more demanding in their assessment of the quality and trustworthiness of these page than they would otherwise. Specifically, in 2016, we added additional guidance to our Search Quality Rater Guidelines advising evaluators to give lower quality ratings to informational pages that contain demonstrably inaccurate content or debunked conspiracy theories. While their ratings don’t determine individual page rankings, they are used to help us gather data on the quality of our results and identify areas where we need to improve. This data from Search Evaluators also plays a significant role in determining which changes we roll out to our ranking systems.
Beyond specific types of content that are more sensitive to users, we realize that some contexts are more prone to the propagation of disinformation than others. For instance, breaking news events, and the heightened level of interest that they elicit, are magnets for bad behavior by malicious players. Speculation can outrun facts as legitimate news outlets on the ground are still investigating. At the same time, malicious actors are publishing content on forums and social media with the intent to mislead and capture people’s attention as they rush to find trusted information. To reduce the visibility of this type of content, we have designed our systems to prefer authority over factors like recency or exact word matches while a crisis is developing.
In addition, we are particularly attentive to the integrity of our systems in the run-up to significant societal moments in the countries where we operate, such as elections.19
NOTE: Google originally posted this document here but has since removed it from Google’s website. This is evidenced by the fact that a search performed on 12/13/22 for the first sentence of this document on Google’s website produced zero results. In keeping with Just Facts’ standard of rigorous documentation, we saved Google’s document and posted it here.
 Search: “Your money or your life”. Google, December 13, 2022. Domain delimited to google.com. <www.google.com>
NOTE: This search produced 3,200 results, 226 of which were unique results that used the term “Your money or your life.” The bulk of the results were from Google’s index of books, and the few that related to Google’s “Your Money or Your Life” program all date to after 2019.
 Webpage: “Search Engine Market Share Worldwide, June 2021 – June 2022.” Statcounter Global Stats. Accessed July 23, 2022 at <gs.statcounter.com>
“Google [=] 91.86%”
 Webpage: “Search Engine Market Share United States Of America, June 2022.” Statcounter Global Stats. Accessed July 23, 2022 at <gs.statcounter.com>
“Google [=] 91.86%”
 Article: “We Analyzed 4 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About Organic Click Through Rate.” By Brian Dean. Backlinko. Last updated October 14, 2022. <backlinko.com>
We analyzed 4 million Google search results to better understand the organic click-through rate.
First, we analyzed CTR data across 1,312,881 pages and 12,166,560 search queries. …
Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:
1. The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 27.6%.
2. The #1 organic result is 10x more likely to receive a click compared to a page in the #10 spot.
3. Organic CTR for positions 8-10 is virtually the same. Therefore moving up a few spots on the bottom of the first page may not result in more organic traffic. …
In fact, only .63% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.
 Article: “The Importance of Page-One Visibility: Keyword Queries and Natural Search Trends for Non-Branded Keywords.” By Collin Cornwell. iCrossing, February 2010. <www.icrossing.com>
“iCrossing analyzed natural search results for non-branded keywords for 10 clients and found that more than 95 percent of all site traffic from search engines comes from page-one results.”
 Article: “Search Engine Use 2012.” Pew Internet and American Life Project, March 9, 2012. <www.pewresearch.org>
For more than a decade, Pew Internet data has consistently shown that search engine use is one of the most popular online activities, rivaled only by email as an internet pursuit. …
Moreover, users report generally good outcomes and relatively high confidence in the capabilities of search engines:
• 91% of search engine users say they always or most of the time find the information they are seeking when they use search engines
• 73% of search engine users say that most or all the information they find as they use search engines is accurate and trustworthy
• 66% of search engine users say search engines are a fair and unbiased source of information
• 55% of search engine users say that, in their experience, the quality of search results is getting better over time, while just 4% say it has gotten worse
• 52% of search engine users say search engine results have gotten more relevant and useful over time, while just 7% report that results have gotten less relevant
 Report: “2022 Edelman Trust Barometer.” Edelman, January 18, 2022. <www.edelman.com>
Page 2: “Fieldwork conducted: Nov 1 – Nov 24, 2021”
Page 7: “News Sources Fail to Fix Their Trust Problem … Percent Trust … Search engines … U.S. [=] 45”
 Article: “Wikipedia: Reliable Sources/Perennial Sources.” Wikipedia. Accessed December 29, 2022 at <en.wikipedia.org>
Wikipedia is not a reliable source because open wikis are self-published sources. This includes articles, non-article pages, The Signpost, non-English Wikipedias, Wikipedia Books, and Wikipedia mirrors; see WP:CIRCULAR for guidance. Occasionally, inexperienced editors may unintentionally cite the Wikipedia article about a publication instead of the publication itself; in these cases, fix the citation instead of removing it. Although citing Wikipedia as a source is against policy, content can be copied between articles with proper attribution; see WP:COPYWITHIN for instructions.
 Book: Dictatorship on Its Trial. By Eminent Leaders of Modern Thought. Edited by Otto Forst de Battaglia. Translated by Huntley Paterson. George G. Harrap & Co, 1930. <www.justfacts.com>
Science and Dictatorship
Albert Einstein (Author of “Relativity” in which his famous theory is expounded. Professor of Physics in Berlin and President of the Akademie der Wissenschaften. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.)
A dictatorship means muzzles all round, and consequently stultification. Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech.