Inside Scoop on the Defusing of Google Bombs

In the most public disclosures of a Google Algorithm update in recent history, Google has announced that certain changes have been implemented to minimize the effectiveness of Googlebombing.

We wanted to give a quick update about “Googlebombs.” By improving our analysis of the link structure of the web, Google has begun minimizing the impact of many Googlebombs.

There’s a lot of discussion right now about the history of Googlebombing, miserable failure and all that jazz all over the blogosphere. So that’s already been covered.

Instead, we’re going to focus on the more important questions that should be on everyone’s mind:

1. How did Google Change the Algorithm to minimize the impact of Googlebombing? and

2. What, if any, impact should it have on my SEO activities?

Here’s what Matt Cutts Had to add to the subject:

graywolf, [santorum] isn’t a Googlebomb, it’s straight SEO. Here’s the difference. With a Googlebomb, you’re causing someone else’s site to rank. With SEO, you’re promoting your own site. So spreadingsantorum.com is promoting themselves for [santorum], which is SEO.

This change isn’t targeting SEO, so it doesn’t impact people trying to rank their own sites. Another historical example is [french military victories]. That’s not a Googlebomb; that’s one person trying to SEO their own page to #1 for a phrase.

A Googlebomb is when you’re trying to cause *someone else’s* site to rank for phrases like “враг народа” or “talentless hack” or “mouton insignifiant” or whatever.

The most likely way that Google distinguishes between natural SEO and “Googlebombing” (as Google defines it) is by on page and on site factors. So, for example, if “miserable failure” appears nowhere in the text of the page nor do any of the internal links refer to the page as “miserable failure”, then it can be assumed that the page should not rank for the term.

As to how this should effect your SEO practices: probably not much at all. You should already be integrating on page factors into your search engine strategies and, where possible, you should still try to have the anchor text of inbound links closely mimic what you are trying to rank for.

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6 Responses to “Inside Scoop on the Defusing of Google Bombs”

  1. stefanjuhl says:

    I’ve often solely used external links to rank for typical typos and misspellings. So when Google announced that they were “diffusing” googlebombs I feared they’d screw it up by being too strict about on-page factors that would match anchor texts. It appears that my typo optimization hasn’t been affected at all. I haven’t really decided what to make of this but I’d suggest that googlebombing might still be possible to some degree.

    Note that the typos doesn’t seem to be detected as such by Google since it does not show the “did you mean..”.

  2. keemo says:

    Ok so something like “free international calls” for actiontelecom.co.uk should be alright…but not fuckwit for Bush’s homepage :)

  3. [...] Here is the commentary from SEOBlackHat: http://seoblackhat.com/2007/01/28/google-bomb-update/ [...]

  4. [...] Inside Scoop on the Defusing of Google Bombs [...]

  5. bpcombs says:

    I too have written about the death of Googlebombs. My current theory is that Google has taken what amounted to an addititve algo (on-page factors *plus* off-page factors) and changed it to a multiplicative algo (on-page factors *times* off-page factors).

    Clearly, you don’t have to have keyword stuffed links to rank (for non-competitive keywords), but it does seem that at least some minimal on-page usage is required (e.g. an on-page of zero erases any keywords coming from links).

    Has anyone seen cases of pages still ranking for key phrases that weren’t on the page? If so, I’d very much like to hear about it.

    Thanks in advance.

  6. stefanjuhl says:

    bpcombs, yes as I wrote in my comment: “It appears that my typo optimization hasn’t been affected at all.” – meaning that I still have rankings for keywords that aren’t anywhere on the page (actually not even on the site..).