There have been some pretty great GoogleBombs over the years. However we now think that this form of prank is now coming to an end as a result of recent algorithm changes – but more about that later.
For those not in the know, a GoogleBomb is the art of manipulating the search results to show a specific result for a specific search query. Generally groups of websites will cluster together and all hyperlink to a specific resource using a specific search phrase. The more this builds, the more likely the cited website result will reach number one on Google.
They’ve been used politically, for humour, for commerical benefits, or just to make a point. Here are some examples:
2001 – Creed appeared for “worst band in the world”:
2007 – George Bush appeared for the search “who is a failure?”:
2005 – Bill O’Reilly appeared for the search “terrorist sympathizer”:
Google have so far ignored this issue, citing other more important issues to focus on. However this month, Matt Cutts has come out saying they have changed the algorithm to minimise the risk of these in the future:
By improving our analysis of the link structure of the web, Google has begun minimizing the impact of many Googlebombs. Now we will typically return commentary, discussions, and articles about the Googlebombs instead.
He goes on to give the reasoning behind their decision to address this. Basically he says people’s interpretation is that Google themselves have created these pranks, or that the results are in some way Google’s opinion. So finally they have decided to take action with an algorithm change to minimise the impact.
Does this mark the end? Perhaps it does. Keep your eyes peeled – but we think that we have seen the beginning of the end of this most internett-y of pranks, the GoogleBomb.