August 13, 2010

Google Bomb and Googlewashing

Bombs + Soaps = Boamps
The terms Google bomb and Googlewashing refer to practices intended to influence the ranking of particular pages, in results returned by the Google search engine.

A Google bomb (or "link bomb") is Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to raise the ranking of a given page in results from a Google search, often with humorous or political intentions. Before 2007, Google's search-rank algorithm could rank a page higher if enough other sites linked to that page using similar anchor text (linking text such as "miserable failure"); but Google changed the ranking by January 2007 to instead list pages about the repeated linking of that text. 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. Google bombing is closely related to spamdexing, the practice of deliberately modifying HTML pages to increase the chance of their website being placed close to the beginning of search engine results, or to influence the category to which the page is assigned in a misleading or dishonest manner.

The term Googlewashing was coined in 2003 to describe the use of media manipulation to change the perception of a term, or push out competition from search engine results pages (SERPs).

Beyond Google
Other search engines use similar techniques to rank results, so Yahoo!, AltaVista, and HotBot are also affected by Google bombs. A search for "miserable failure" or "failure" on 29 September 2006 brought up the official George W. Bush biography number one on Google, Yahoo! and MSN and number two on Ask.com. On 2 June 2005, Yooter reported that George Bush was ranked first for the keyword 'miserable', 'failure' and 'miserable failure' in both Google and Yahoo!, Google has since addressed this and disarmed the George Bush Google bomb and many others.

The BBC, reporting on Google bombs in 2002, used the headline "Google Hit By Link Bombers", acknowledging to some degree the idea of "link bombing." In 2004, the Search Engine Watch site suggested that the term should be "link bombing" because of its application beyond Google, and continues to use that term as it is considered more accurate.

About the Author

Tomboy

Author & Editor

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