In the past, I’ve written about Google bombs, particularly as to how they relate to political campaigns. If you don’t know what a Google bomb (also spelled without a dash – Googlebomb – and referred to as a link bomb, or linkbomb) is and don’t want to dig through articles to look it up, this Bud’s for you:
What is Google Bombing?
Google bombing is a tactic to get certain Web sites to show up high in the rankings for certain specific keywords, often keywords that had little prior significance to any Web sites.
I think I’ve heard of Google Bombs. What’s that really common example?
The most common example is that of our current President. Until recently, if you searched Google for “miserable failure”, the #1 result would be the biography page of George W. Bush on the White House Web site. Lest you think Googlebombing be the sole domain of those on the left, you formerly could get to John Kerry’s site by searching Google for “waffles”.
How does one build a Googlebomb?
Like I want to help you out you budding anarchist. But I will tell you the basics. Basically, people of a like mindset will all link to a particular Web site for the same exact phrase. For example, a bunch of hockey aficionados could all write something like, “I hate watching teams that check like scared ballerinas”. Note where the link points. And if you don’t believe me, check out the NHL standings.
By the way, I love ballerinas, especially scared ones. It’s not a putdown. Except right now when I’m talking about causing extreme physical pain to a large man for sport.
So why are you writing about Googlebombing again?
Last week, Google wrote on their blog that they’ve changed their algorithm so that Googlebombing will go away. Is it really the end of Google bombing?
Probably not. People will keep coming up with ways to manipulate search engine results. Then the search engines will change their formulae again, people will figure out black hat ways to beat it, and on and on in an infinite loop like the Planet of the Apes (sequel) guy looking into the picture of a person painting a picture of a person painting a picture of a person…. If you ever want to recreate that in real life, gaze into the reflections at a hair salon or a place where there are mirrors on opposite walls. Freaky.
Although, definite kudos to Google for realizing they had a problem and doing something about it even if it came a couple years too late.
Why do I care?
If you’re still reading, you can probably answer this for yourself. But the bottom line is that if you’re a business or a public personality, it will be tougher now for people to slander your name in the search engines for fun, although by now, you know how to battle bad pr online. If you’re a search engine optimization firm, dive back into research. You know the changes will affect your linking strategy even if that side effect was not one Google intended.