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Tuesday, March 27, 2012


For those of us who do SEO for our own websites, we know how long and arduous a task it can be to get to the top of the Google rankings with a site that's entirely relevant. It can then be something of an insult, when a group of pranksters seemingly manage to jump directly to the top spot with something that's completely irrelevant and often destructive. It's a demonstration of the power of the power of numbers sure, but it can also make our attempts feel somewhat feeble.
That's what a 'Google bomb' is. Also known as 'Google Washing'. When people maliciously do intensive off-site SEO to the point where they elevate an off-topic site to the top position on Google.
Uses of Google Bombs

There have been a number of Google Bombs in the past, and generally they are designed to make a political statement, a comedic statement or even to promote a company. For instance in 2007 results pertaining to George W. Bush would come up if you searched the keyphrase 'miserable failure'. This of course was a quasi-political statement that was also something of an 'in joke'. The way the Google Bomb works of course means that you'd have to type the exact phrase to get the results, meaning that few people who didn't previously know about the bomb would discover it. However as awareness spreads the purpose of the bomb is fulfilled.

How They Work

So how does a Google Bomb work? Well it's exactly the same way as Search Engine Optimization works – except with more malicious intentions. In this scenario hundreds of links will have been posted around the web to George Bush sites with the anchor text 'miserable failure' so that the Google algorithms automatically raised the site up through the ranks. It's a demonstration of two things: a good understanding of SEO and how Google can be worked in someone's favor, but also of the power of collective efforts.

Google Bombs Today

Of course Google has struck back and made attempts to curtail such behavior. To this end changes to the algorithm have attempted to make Google Washing more difficult – and if you search for 'miserable failure' now it brings up the Wikipedia page for 'Google Bomb'. Touche Google.

Of course attempts at Google Bombing are now punished when they are obvious and this can result in the rankings of a site actually lowering as a result. To this end 'Google Bowling' is the act of Google Bombing targeted toward a competitor's site – so that the site will be penalized.
That said, for those skilled enough in SEO, Google Bombs are still more than possible. In fact Google Bombs have occurred as recently as this year – when the term 'Englishman' would bring up a rather unsavory page on Wikipedia (following disputes with the Eurozone). Competitions have thus been set up among hackers and SEO experts, and the media has even been accused of using Google Washing to try and alter the public's perception of a term for better or worse. The battle rages on – and meanwhile the rest of use are still trying to get our relevant own sites to page 6... sigh...


Author: Robin Gupta is professional seo consultant having years of experience in performing optimization for various local niche websites. He also owns link building firm providing various other SEO services.


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