Quiet Mumblings

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Google Bombing

Miserable FailureGoogle Bombing is the fabulous art of producing false Google results through mass linking. The classic modern example is of miserable failure, which when searched for in Google shows George W. Bush's home page first.

This result is acheived by putting many links to George W. Bush's biography page with the words miserable failure in the link text, as this and many other blog posts do. It works for the following reason...

Long gone are the days when search engines can just look at the content of a page and determine how good it is and what it is about. Webmasters have invented plenty of tricks to fool search engines that work this way, and there are plenty of spam sites that completely fake meta data to manipulate the results. Google and similar search engines therefore work on a system of building trust through links - at the most basic level, the more sites that link to your page, the more important Google thinks your pages are. Google has been constantly refining this technique over the years, adding more and more factors to help it decide which pages are important and what they are really about.

One method that Google uses in particular is to look at what words links to a site contain, in the hope that when people link to a page they use relevant link text. Google can then associate that page with the keywords most used in the inbound links.

The technique of falsely manipulating Googles results this way was first discussed by a guy called Adam Mathes, who experimented with Google Bombing to make his friend's website first for the term "talentless hack". Since then there have been many Google bombing campaigns across the web, and some have gained coverage in the popular press. There have also been commerical attempts at Google bombing, which is a form of spamdexing.

My personal favourite Google bomb is still the "miserable failure" campaign, and long may it survive. You can also read Google's offical response on the Google blog.

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  • Did you see the "French military victories" joke? Someone wrote a great error page for it. If you search using Google but press "I'm feeling lucky" it returns the bloke's page.



    By Blogger Soupdragon, at 8:55 am  

  • That french military victories joke does not work anymore, if anyone knows any other political things linked on Google, let me know.

    I love this "Failure" thing!

    By Blogger nakedpolitics, at 7:54 pm  

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