• http://www.wolf-howl.com graywolf

    I’m less than convinced it’s an automagic type thing for example [santorum] is still bombed kinda NSFW


  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    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.

  • http://sethf.com/anticensorware/ Seth Finkelstein

    Here’s my guess at the algorithm, *something like*:

    IF the links to the page contain [BOMB] and

    0) There are lot of links [BOMB]

    1) [BOMB] does not appear on the page or metadata

    2) [BOMB] is the most common link to the page

    3) There are “very few” links of form [BOMB otherwords]

    THEN ignore all links with [BOMB]

    This preserves the ranking of pages talking about it, since they’ll have the words on the page, even in the title.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Slightly elaborated at:
    Defusing The Google-Bomb – And Maybe Reigniting It

    Key point: We can test this by adding lots of links with both the expected text and [BOMB]
    (example given in post, I won’t abuse Danny’s hospitality by putting it here).

  • http://www.seobythesea.com Bill Slawski

    Not bad, Seth. Compare that to what Anna Patterson wrote in the section on “Document Annotation for Improved Ranking” in the following document:

    Phrase-based indexing in an information retrieval system.

    Instead of [BOMB otherwords], it tries to locate “related phrases” (some examples in the patent application). It also provides a means of weighing the strength of related phrases.

    Of course, they could be doing something different, but this is the only document I know of from Google that discusses a means of stopping Google Bombing:

    [0153] This approach has the benefit of entirely preventing certain types of manipulations of web pages (a class of documents) in order to skew the results of a search. Search engines that use a ranking algorithm that relies on the number of links that point to a given document in order to rank that document can be “bombed” by artificially creating a large number of pages with a given anchor text which then point to a desired page. As a result, when a search query using the anchor text is entered, the desired page is typically returned, even if in fact this page has little or nothing to do with the anchor text. Importing the related bit vector from a target document URL1 into the phrase A related phrase bit vector for document URL0 eliminates the reliance of the search system on just the relationship of phrase A in URL0 pointing to URL1 as an indicator of significance or URL1 to the anchor text phrase.

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    Bill, that’s an interesting find. I don’t think we plan to talk about it in more detail than saying it’s improved link analysis, so unfortunately I can neither confirm nor deny that links to a given page are interacting with bit vectors.

  • http://www.seobythesea.com Bill Slawski

    Thanks, Matt. Appreciate the response.

    That patent application, and a number of its related patent applications are over a couple of years old, so there has been some opportunity to explore the processes those describe and some other approaches. The bit vector approach is an interesting one though.

  • http://iam.kiamsiap.com TheFalcon

    www[dot]martinlutherking[dot]org is still bombed, albeit ranked 3rd.

    matt, im not sure if this is SEO or bombing

    i think this one will be one of the hardest to unbomb because
    a) uses the name ‘martin luther king’
    b) the nobel prize site and the wikipedia site is up there because of other people trying to remove the .org a.k.a. bombing it

    any ideas on this?

  • http://www.preferatele.com pref

    I agree with your idea: Instead of [BOMB otherwords], it tries to locate “related phrases” (some examples in the patent application).
    It also provides a means of weighing the strength of related phrases.

  • http://www.wolf-howl.com graywolf

    Matt, so you’re saying you’re “algorithmically smart enough” to determine if all of those links are spreading to someone orchestrating them, or not? You’ll excuse me if I reserve a bit of skepticism about that.

  • HitProf

    >Cutts said that the new analysis technique works for bombs in other languages

    It seems to work. At least, the best known Dutch Googlebomb raar kapsel (funny hair dress) doesn’t return the Prime Minister’s web site anymore :)

  • http://blog.seoptimise.com kevgibbo

    I think this seems to work well, but does it mean that the links found will be devalued in terms of passing on PageRank?

  • http://www.nonlinear.ca/blog/ NLC

    At the risk of greying my Luminescent Pearly White Hat…

    If you search for “liar” (in Canada) you get a satirical image of Bush in the onebox:


    Since the change is apparently algorithmic, and we are yet to hear of Google reading images, it… theoretically… should be possible to linkbomb using the images in the onebox. Which… theoretically… could be even more effective (have a greater impact on the user) than bringing up the website. Not that I’m suggesting it…

  • http://www.firstpagefitness.com/blog/2007/01/26/google-updates-algo-to-combat-google-bombs-why/ Everett

    When I link to George’s bio using the words “miserable failure” I’m not “google bombing”. I am expressing my opinion about the man in the form of a hypertext links, which is what the Google algo is supposed to be all about. Democratic, remember! This algo change is BS !

    What’s next? Are you going to change the SERPS every time a company complains that they rank well for “bad customer service”? Maybe there’s a REASON they rank that way!

    Yes, I’m angry.

  • http://www.top10seotips.com/seo_expert.htm SEO Expert

    When talking SEO to potential freelance clients, I’ve always used this example as a “what NOT to do”, but also explaining the value of inbound links. I’m left with using the Adobe “click here” example.

    Sorry Seth, but “click here” actually disproves your theory, in that there is no text on Adobe’s download page associated with that search term. I for one appreciate the effort and research though.

    I’m left wondering how this will change will affect PageRank. I did notice my toolbar updated yesterday as well. However, from what I understand, the TB PR feature has a significant delay from the true PR in Google’s database.

    Quality content is still the way to go in my opinion. However, based on how I found this page so quickly when searching for miserable failure (after looking like a deer in the headlights with a client yesterday), I’m convinced that Social Bookmarks & sites such as Digg have just been promoted by Google.

    Internal linking and static sitemaps haven’t been affected by this change from what I’ve seen thus far. Phil at WebWorkshop.net has a great PR calculator that I used to test the impact of change. It actually measures PR of pages as they relate to the internal links on a site. In other words, external links were impacted, internal links were not.

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    TheFalcon, martinlutherking(dot)org is trying to show up #1 for [martin luther king], so that’s SEO rather than a Googlebomb.

    HitProf, thanks for mentioning that; I wasn’t aware of the [raar kapsel] query. Mind if I mention that as if people ask for other examples?

    graywolf, we’re happy to hear about any Googlebombs that weren’t handled well in the Google web search help group. Feedback is always welcome.

    NLC, we only worried about web search ranking in this change, but I’ll mention your comment to our image onebox team. :)

  • http://www.nonlinear.ca/blog/ Helen

    Happy to be of service, Matt. :)

  • http://www.hitprofs.com/ HitProf

    >Mind if I mention that as if people ask for other examples?

    Sure, go ahead.

  • http://www.luckylester.com Lucky Lester

    I am with Everett, sounds more like censorship to me too.

  • http://incredibill.blogspot.com/ IncrediBILL

    The Google Bomb detection obviously doesn’t trap small instances (Google Firecrackers?) as I still have a company I put in the #2 spot for an obscure term with just a couple of links and it’s still there.

    It would appear that moderation in Google Bombing is the answer ;)

  • http://www.weboptimist.com WebOptimist

    Kind of blows away the idea of keyword optimized links doesn’t it? Not too crazy about that, Google.

    Besides, the timing is terrible. According to all of the polls, searching for “miserable failure” now gives us innacurate results!

  • http://www.way.nu Jonathan

    While Googlebombing can be used for bad, it can also be used by good. So the new google change limits the effects of purposeful googlebombing, while doing nothing about purposeful SEO.

    Google has just decided that if godhatesfags.com is willing to pay enough to SEO consultants it can be in the top return results for “homosexuality”.

    Sorry google, THAT is evil.

  • http://www.aglobalwarmingawareness2007.info Mark

    “This is because the change is designed to stop the pranks from happening rather than legitimate commentary about such activities. Google isn’t saying exactly how this is being done. But Google says it’s done automatically, without any human intervention.

  • http://360.yahoo.com/lauralippay lauralippay


    Well it was awesome while it lasted.

  • http://www.thefireresistanthamster.com The Fire Resistant Hamster

    Now I’m not going to pretend I live and breathe SEO (yet), but the defusing of Google bombs does make me wonder what this means for the value of link anchor text in general. Is there still a point in using relevant link anchor text? I’d say so. But where’s the ‘spam’ limit? When are lots of links using the same anchor text pointing to one website ‘OK and when is it perceived as spam?

    I can add a foreign ‘bomb’ that doesn’t work anymore: ‘raar kapsel’ in Google.nl. The search ‘raar kapsel’ (‘weird hair’) would point to the Dutch Prime Minister’s website, Jan Peter Balkenende. It still works in Yahoo though.

    The odd thing is that the ‘click here’ search still shows Adobe as the first result:

    The above makes me wonder (once again), where’s the line? What’s the limit? When does repetitive link anchor text go from handy SEO to spam?

    At the moment I’m just happy it still works in Yahoo. I like to use ‘famous’ bombs as examples to clarify the power of link anchor text to new people at work who often don’t have a clue about basic SEO aspects before they come to work for us.

    TFRH ^_^b

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    “SEO expert” – Hmm, a beautiful theory slain by an ugly fact? Well, let me refine it to also having a “trust” factor in the links.

  • bood guy

    Googlebombing is a specific _behavior_, so you would not be able to filter out such manipulation by looking at a static anchor text “landscape”.

    I think time is factored in. If Google attaches a timestamp to every incoming link (when it founds the link), a Googlebomb should most probably appear as an abnormal bulge, a relatively limited _period_ when most newly created links conform to the Finkelstein-algorithm.

    The Adobe “click here” phenomenon spreads out in time. There is no such abnormal bulge i.e. it can be distinguished from a Googlebomb.

  • http://www.thefireresistanthamster.com The Fire Resistant Hamster

    Yeah I can see the ‘over time’ factor, but that would mean that you can still create a ‘bomb’… it’d just have to be really tactfully implemented (over time), taking some of the fun and use out of it. Or would that go in the direction of SEO-practices again? Ah well, at least Google gives us enough stuff to blog about. xD

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    Jonathan, while this change is targeted specifically at Googlebombs, it doesn’t change the fact that Google pays attention to search engine optimization (SEO) as well.

    Mark, you’re correct that that would be SEO and not a Googlebomb. But that’s a nofollow’ed link, so it wouldn’t affect Google’s ranking for that phrase which, as you know, happens to be an ongoing SEO contest. :)

  • Steve Amundsen

    I find Matt’s comments most interesting. It is clear to me that Google is spending a lot of time and resources to determine relevance on what is real, and not contrived. Intelligent link analysis and intelligent website and webpage analysis do not and can not exist in separate vacuums. Diffusing the Googlebombs (through an automated process, no less!) shows the world that Google is becoming more intelligent at providing true relevance. Any honest SEO professional should stand up and cheer. Kudos to Matt and his team of truth diggers!

  • JuanTanomera

    Interesting though, isn’t it, that someone at the White House hasn’t figured out that the word “failure” ought to be a forbidden word on their site?

    Why? Because presence of the word “failure” will simply confirm the validity of outside references.

    Need proof? Search “failure” on Google today and you will find the White House right at the very top because of a quotation from the president asserting that Congress is courting “failure”.

    An intelligent person in the WH information factory would have banned the word to avoid the inevitable repeated perdition.

  • eve

    Does this mean that I can now stop boycotting Google?

  • http://www.onlinekatalog24.de/ Jonathan

    What a great, well researched article. I still can not really understand how google will eliminate googlebombing: Do they reduce the priority of all linkt texts or are the blacklisting googlebomb-keywords? I really don’t know….

    Best regards!

  • http://www.prestijceviri.com tercume

    Kind of blows away the idea of keyword optimized links doesn’t it? Not too crazy about that, Google.

  • http://www.kapidergisi.com serkcan

    An intelligent person in the WH information factory would have banned the word to avoid the inevitable repeated perdition.

  • http://www.kalekapi.org pcayata

    An intelligent person in the WH information factory would have banned the word to avoid the inevitable repeated perdition.Thanks
    kale kapı

  • http://www.iyibiremlak.com erdogduemlak

    Although I agree in principy with what you’re saying, you’ve glossed over the importance of a large link network, which we all knew before there were any worthwhile search engines, which is TRAFFIC without the search engine itself.

  • NanditaB

     Hi Matt,

    Google bomb doesn’t mean – who is ranking/promoting whose site. Actual Google bomb  is ” Pure intention “.

    1# Example of Google bomb – If somebody helps to rank or promotes a website to rank higher with ill intention, then its Google bomb.

    2# Example of SEO – If someone promotes a website on SERPs by following the SEO standards of SEs (Google, Yahoo, Bing) with a good intention, then its SEO.

    Final word – It’s not ” I’m promoting my site is SEO and  others’ sites for money is Google bomb. It involves pure intention”.

    Nandita B.

  • Daniel Tetreault

    Shame…because in my opinion, Bush Jr was a “miserable failure.” I think Google should have left the Google bomb.
    Daniel Tetreault.
    Victoria, BC