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Google Drops the Google-bomb

January 24, 2007

For some years now Internet Marketing consultants have used the example of George Bush’s bio being inexorably linked to the keyword phrase “miserable failure” as an example of the power of anchor text in classifying material. Google seems to have found a way to automatically fix these manipulations of their results. What impact does that have on our business and Internet Marketing strategy?

A Brief History of the Google Bomb

We’ll rewind a bit from my jargon-laden “dork talk” for a minute to explain that. Google recognized that the system by which websites interlink was the defining characteristic of the web. I link to you, you link to someone else, and they link to a page about Paris Hilton. It’s all connected – that’s where they came up with the “world wide web” bit. When people started to learn how search engines created their rankings, we started manipulating the pages. In order for their search results to maintain credibility, they had to come up with a way to take the power back out of the hands of the webmasters. What Google did, was to analyze the text of links, counting them as “votes” for a website. If I link to your website, my link text will have an accurate description of what your website contains. Sure, one webmaster could be influenced, but could one influence enough to manipulate search results? Absolutely, if enough money is involved… or the amount of pleasure involved in a practical joke is worth the time. That’s where the George Bush/Miserable failure bit came in.

Google breaks the code

I doubt if Google was really all that concerned with humor at our President’s expense. If that were the case, they could just edit the results, right? Wrong – what this example did show was that there were glaring holes in their algorithm by which their results could be manipulated. That is why Google came up with a method to isolate Googlebombs. That is why they are so secretive about how they did it. That… is why they are so secretive about darn near everything they do. If they are not, then people like me and every other SEO out there will slowly take apart their algorithm and line their pockets with sweet, sweet Internet gold. It seems thought, that the Googlebombs were hand-selected though…
We wouldn’t claim that this change handles every prank that someone has attempted. But if you are aware of other potential Googlebombs, we are happy to hear feedback in our Google Web Search Help Group.
Anyone know of some Google bombs that escaped the first purging of their SERPS?

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