The End Of Googlebombs?

Over the weekend, I received quite a bit of mail about this:We wanted to give a quick update about "Googlebombs." By improving our analysis of the link structure of the web, Google has begun minimizing the impact of many Googlebombs. Now we will typically return commentary, discussions, and articles about the Googlebombs instead. The actual scale of this change is pretty small (there are under a hundred well-known Googlebombs), but if you'd like to get more details about this topic, read on.

First off, let's back up and give some background. Unless you read all about search engines all day, you might wonder "What is a Googlebomb?" Technically, a "Googlebomb" (sometimes called a "linkbomb" since they're not specific to Google) refers to a prank where people attempt to cause someone else's site to rank for an obscure or meaningless query. Googlebombs very rarely happen for common queries, because the lack of any relevant results for that phrase is part of why a Googlebomb can work. One of the earliest Googlebombs was for the phrase "talentless hack," for example. I do not know how much of this is a response to my past actions in 2006, and / or my current actions srrounding John McCain. It appears that the search engine optimization techniques that I employed in those actions do actually fit the definition of a Googlebomb, so perhpas there is no connection at all. Also, the currnet "Googlebomb" I am employing against John McCain still ranks #9 on searches, so the impact of Google's new formula might be minimal. Then again, considering the amount of R & D Google has, if they are trying to change their formula to stop this specific type of action, eventually they will figure out how to do so.

What is eqaully certain, however, is that there will always be ways to manipulate search engine rankings, even if the days of the googlebomb are numbered. Given that Internet searches for candidate information remain the most common form of political action taken online, it will remain crucially important for campaigns and activists alike to continuously be developing new strategies that will allow them to take advantage of online searches. Rest assured that I will do whatever I can to constantly be developing new techniques in this area myself.

So, long story short, I am going to look into this, and into developing a more comprehensive search optimization strategy before going forward with the next phase of the John McCain googlebomb campaign. This campaign does not end here. If anything, this new development will simply result in a more sophisticated and intelligent strategy. and yes, BlogPac will continue to be essential to these efforts.

Anyway, just thought I needed to make a public statement about this, considering the large maount of queries I was receiving.

Tags: BlogPac, googlebomb, Googlebomb 2008 (all tags)

Comments

18 Comments

Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

While Googlebombs like "miserable failure" are just pranks, there is a way to use them to hold corporations accountable.  Say Intercrombie and Filch are guilty of racist business practices.  Find a single article about this and Googlebomb the name 'Intercrombie and Filch' to point to that article.  Then when somebody Googles the corporate name, the first or second link they find is an article titled "Intercrombie and Filch and racist hiring practices.'  That's gonna hurt.

=thomas

by thomasoa 2007-01-28 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

With Google tweaking the system to drive up talk about the googlebomb and drive down the target, I would recommend that the word "googlebomb" be banned from mydd with a code-word used instead.

By linking to the McCain target in a post about googlebombing, you are actually hurting the effort.

by Bob Brigham 2007-01-28 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

I think that because the McCain googlebomb is just highlighting a reputable article, it has merit to be on the top results.  It seems like it will be hard to block out its impact, but things like miserable failure bringing you to George Bush are funny, but I can understand Google scaling back those sorts of manipulations.  Chances are that those who attempt to rig the system will always be one step ahead.

by John Nicosia 2007-01-28 02:14PM | 0 recs
Poisoning the info well is never nice

Like selling death sticks.

You should go home and rethink your life.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-28 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Poisoning the info well is never nice

Google searches don't give objective results of relevant articles and never did.

Unlike most such manipulation, this isn't some secret effort -- they're telling the world exactly what they're doing.  

If this effort hastens the day when Google becomes relatively impervious to this kind of manipulation, then all the better.

by PeterB 2007-01-28 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Poisoning the info well is never nice
But I guess endless, uncritical shilling for a single candidate makes you a beacon of light, young padowan.
by Chris Bowers 2007-01-28 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Poisoning the info well is never nice

"But I guess endless, uncritical shilling for a single candidate makes you a beacon of light, young padowan."

What is the connection between an organized effort to destroy the functionality of the information web we all inhabit and an individual speaking out in favor of a candidate he thinks can be a great president?

by BrionLutz 2007-01-29 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

Funny how the "miserable failure" bomb no longer workes,
but the "great President" bomb the right wingers put up still pulls the numbers.

I guess "It's OK if it's a Republican Google-bomb".

by justathought 2007-01-28 03:00PM | 0 recs
Congrats

if this is in response to your efforts, it is another sign of success.

Also, it is even more important that we link to Democratic sites so they get positive Google juice.

by Alice Marshall 2007-01-28 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

I'd really recommend that this be the end of using the word "Googlebomb" to describe your efforts. I'd go with "Search Engine Optimization" (known as "SEO" for short.) Call it the "John McCain SEO" or "Democratic SEO."

It may not have the same pizazz as "John McCain Googlebomb," but "googlebomb" is primarily used for things you really don't want to be associated with, like playing pointless pranks and underhandedly trying to screw up competitors' businesses. It makes it sound like you're trying to trick Google and leaves you open to accusations of 'hacking' by technophobes. All you're trying to do is promote articles that present the information you like best, by linking to those articles. That's perfectly ethical stuff and is acceptable behavior to Google (which is probably why the article you're promoting is still hanging around at #9 instead of getting penalized.) Don't let the language you choose make you sound like you're spamming people--I think this project is a really innovative and useful one, and you're promoting articles that actually DO contain information about the topic being searched for.

by tjekanefir 2007-01-28 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

Googlebombing is lame, and a parasitic use of a very useful tool.

Calling it SEO doesn't make it any better. Black hat SEOers are a bigger plague on the Internet than Googlebombers are.

Seriously, this is just pointless, parasitic behavior that is basically akin to blog masturbation. I applaud Google for taking corrective measures, and urge everyone at MyDD to take it as a signal to stop.

by Mullibok 2007-01-28 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

On the contrary, indexing anchor text is what made Google stand out above other search engines so they are not abandoning it.  Their post says they are targeting certain Googlebombs like "Miserable Failure".  The fact that "great president" still works doesn't mean they have a cool new algorithm that figures out what is misleading and what isn't.

Besides, I would argue having Bush turn up as the first result for the word failure is not a misleading result.  

by George Johnston 2007-01-28 11:34PM | 0 recs
Could have sworn someone said this would happen

Geez.  You'd almost think Google has a job to do.  Now watch as Google PageRank punishes all the smaller blogs for participating in the googlebombing.

by jcjcjc 2007-01-28 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

i think one of the biggest things going for your attempt to manipulate the search results and against "googlebombs" like miserable failure, is the fact that the pages you are linking to are about the subject you are using for anchor text and repeat the anchor text in the content.

when someone links to the white house page about Bush using miserable failure, the page on the white house website doesnt use the phrase miserable failure even once.  this would be the easiest way to algorithmically detect blatant "googlebombs".  

have you noticed a shift in the rankings after their announcement?

i agree with not using the word googlebomb anymore.

by tpiddy 2007-01-28 06:51PM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

I was about to write the same post, so I'll just chime in with "I agree".  They are going after the prank googlebombs, not the kind of stuff Matt was attempting.  As long as the text in the link has some reasonable correlation with the linked site I think all will be ok.

by Mark Matson 2007-01-28 07:23PM | 0 recs
key phrase

"to cause someone else's site to rank for an obscure or meaningless query"

if the linking page has context related to the linked page, it should not be a problem, whereas if you were linking "batshit-crazy" to mccain it might be.

by colorless green ideas 2007-01-28 10:17PM | 0 recs
Exactly!

What Chris/MyDD is doing is not considered a googlebomb, since I'm guessing that all of the linked articles actually are about the person being "bombed". It certainly is manipulating the search, but so is every single linked phrase on the internet.

by Alex Urevick 2007-01-29 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: The End Of Googlebombs?

I have already placed a proposed Googlebomb on my blog, to publicize the involvement of John McCain in the "Keating Five" scandals.

by libhomo 2007-02-03 09:20AM | 0 recs

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