For years, US President George W. Bush was tops on Google for searches on miserable failure until last year’s Googlebomb "fix" solved his problem on Google. But Bush is back, sort of. People are spotting that Bush’s official White House page is ranking tops for who is a failure on Google.
A new Googlebomb? If so, I’ve not seen any reports of people pushing to make this happen. My bet is that all those links out there with anchor text saying "failure" in them are making him come up for a variety of terms combined with "failure." And in fact, he looks to have been ranking this way for some time. (Note: initially I myself thought this was new, then a few minutes after posting, I tried a new search on Google that found evidence of it being long-standing, so I quickly adjusted this write-up).
Michael Gray noted something similar to me last month when we were talking about the anniversary of the Googlebomb fix on the Daily SearchCast. Stephen Colbert might have had his greatest living american Googlebomb defused, but switch the words around – living american greatest — and you get him.
Similarly, Bush currently ranks for a variety of queries that use words on his page along with "failure," which does not appear:
Going back to the "who is a failure" search, one weird thing about it is the description that comes up for Bush’s page:
Article from Encarta Encyclopedia provides an overview of Bush’s life.
That description is not actually on Bush’s page. Instead, the page has a meta description tag saying:
The Oval Office contains speeches and statements of President Bush, a description of policy priorities, biographies, and photo essays.
For some reason, Google decided to ignore the meta description tag and instead go with the description of the page from the Open Directory Project as more relevant. Bad choice.
You’ll find the page listed at the ODP here. That listing incorrectly identifies Bush’s page as being an article from Encarta. The White House might want to consider using the NOODP meta tag to prevent this from happening.
You might recall the effectiveness of Google’s link bomb fix was questioned at the end of January, when the Church Of Scientology started ranking for dangerous cult. See Scientologists Google Bombed Or Not? for more background about that. In the comments to that story, you can see that it was indeed something that happened through a recent, active campaign.
The page no longer ranks — though the word "dangerous" still exists on it – so some may believe that Google simply finally made a manual addition to the list of Googlebomb "fixes" that they believe it keeps.
For its part, Google repeatedly and consistently says that Googlebombs are defused on an entirely automated basis. When I asked them about the Scientology case and why it seemed to get through at the time, Google emailed back:
Nearly a year ago, we developed an algorithm that minimizes the impact of many link bombs, or Googlebombs. It is important to note, however, that some of the detection components of this algorithm don’t run every day because Googlebombs are relatively rare.
Again, this is what Google has said before — that every so often, they run this clean-up process to find link bomb out there. But in the case of Bush, it would be odd for "who is a failure" to get defused, since no one appears to have created a pattern of linkage to make that happen in the first place — and it’s already been out there for so long.
For more background on Bush and Googlebombs, see these past stories:
- Google Kills Bush’s Miserable Failure Search & Other Google Bombs
- George W. Bush: A Failure Once Again, According To Google
- Happy First Birthday, Google Bomb Fix!