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Google bombing

January 4th, 2007 · 3 Comments

If you’re unfamiliar with the term Google bomb, the Wikipedia definition is this:

A Google bomb is Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine, often with humorous or political intentions. Because of the way that Google’s algorithm works, a page will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page use consistent anchor text. A Google bomb is created if a large number of sites link to the page in this manner. Google bomb is used both as a verb and a noun. The phrase “Google bombing” was introduced to the New Oxford American Dictionary in May 2005.

So why am I mentioning Google bombing? Well because I became aware of an excellent example of it yesterday.

Girl With A One Track Mind is a very popular UK blog. It details the personal life of Abby Lee who works in the UK feature film industry and who enjoys a rather healthy sex life. Abby isn’t her real name. She chose to write using a pseudonym to protect not only her own identity but also to protect her family and friends.

In August of last year, Abby had a book published which was a no holds barred diary of her sex life. Again, this was published using her pseudonym. However a British newspaper decided to ‘out’ her and reveal her true identity. The way they did it was not very nice as you will see in this email from Nicholas Hellen, the acting news editor for the paper. As Abby says on her site,

“It was one thing to expose me in a newspaper; it was another thing altogether to violate my mother’s privacy too”

The underhand, sneaky way in which the newspaper ‘outed’ her enraged Abby but what could she do? Well she could do what any other popular blogger would do – ask her friends to put together a Google bomb and, sure enough, within two days of asking for their support, the SERPS for the ‘journalist’ involved are quite revealing.

Technically it’s not really a Google bomb in the same way that, for example, miserable failure is but it highlights the way in which using specific anchor text can help manipulate the SERPS to your benefit.

So the two things we can take out of this are that using the correct anchor text for your links should play a major part in your SEO activities and secondly, don’t piss off a blogger!

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Tags: Search Marketing