Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Google bomb...

Google bombs have been around for a while, the first "bombing" dating back to about 2001 apparently. One of the best known Google bombs is the "miserable failure" bomb used to shell George Bush and Michael Moore. Search for "miserable failure" in Google and you'll find plenty of references to both these people, including Moore's own site and Bush's biography site (at the time of writing).

A Google bomb consists of a relatively small group of site owners manipulating the Search Engine's results by linking to the target sites, using "miserable failure" in the text anchor of their links. Google attaches strong importance to text anchors, as a measure of relevance of the linked site to the content of the anchor. Hence the high rankings of these sites on a search term that isn't strictly relevant to these sites, although obviously the "bombers" would beg to differ with me on that one!

So, this relatively innocent prank does show how important the text anchor of inbound links really is, when it comes to achieving high Google rankings.

Whispers have it that the latest Google update (dubbed "allegra" which is Italian for "light") will further emphasise this effect by looking at the entire content of the page from which the link originates. But whether these Search Engine watchers have a crystal ball or are just making an educated guess isn't known...



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