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Scientologists Google Bombed Or Not?
Just days after the
one-year anniversary of Google’s Google bomb fix, a new Google bomb may have gotten through —
dangerous cult, bringing up the Scientology web site, as shown above. But is it really
getting past the fix? Considering one of the targeted words is being used on the
page itself, it’s hard to say.
Google Blogoscoped have short stories on the listing. But as I noted in
comments at WebProNews, the fix was designed to prevent pages from being Google
bombed to the top if they do NOT use the words they are being bombed for on them.
For example, “miserable failure” is the classic Google Bomb that used to bring
the US White House page on President George W. Bush to the top of the listings
on Google. The Google
Bomb fix of last year stopped that. But a few weeks later, the White House
made use of the word "failure" on Bush’s page — putting him back on top with
George W. Bush: A
Failure Once Again, According To Google explains more about what happened.
The key thing is that Bush only ranked for the single word "failure" when this
happened, not for "miserable failure."
That brings us to the Scientologist page. It uses the word "dangerous" down
at the bottom, as highlighted below:
It could be that the fix isn’t working since at least one of the words
appears. That would go against the situation with what was seen with Bush,
however. Still, the doubt gives Google wiggle room.
As for "cult," that only appears in links pointing at the page, as Google
says if you view a
cached copy of it:
See the section highlighted in red. It tells you that the word "dangerous" does appear
on the page but that "cult" only appears in links pointing at it.
So, Google bombing in action? Another difficulty is that no one so far has
said who, when, or even if there was a suggestion that many people start linking
this way. Moreover, there are no doubt long-time critics of Scientology that may
have been naturally describing it this way in linkage.
If it IS a Google bombing attempt, how widespread is it? Very hard to tell.
This search, linkdomain:scientology.org
"dangerous cult", tells you there are only 347 pages according to Yahoo that
link to the Scientology home page and use that exact phrase. But then again,
maybe not. If you actually go and look at some individual pages after doing
this, despite telling Yahoo to do a phrase search, it clearly ignores that
instruction and brings back pages with both words in any place on them.
OK, let’s explicitly tell Yahoo to find pages that have either word, anywhere
on the page, and which also link to the Scientologist page:
linkdomain:scientology.org dangerous cult. Now we get 1,470 matches. But
keep in mind — these are only pages that have a link to the Scientologist page
and also have these two words anywhere on the page. The words are NOT
necessarily in anchor
text pointing at the page.
How about this search,
allinanchor:dangerous cult (or
allinanchor:"dangerous cult"), on Google itself, as
pointed out in
comments at Google Blogoscoped? That only tells you that the Scientology page is
one of about 33,000 that has someone, somewhere, using those words in links to it.
It’s at the top of the list, of course, which suggest Google finds more links
pointing at it this way than other pages (Google itself doesn’t explain how
allinanchor searches are sorted).
So, Google bomb or not? Like I said, it’s hard to say. But I’ll see about
getting a comment from Google on the situation.
Postscript: See comments below, this was clearly a Googlebombing attempt. Also, Goole sent this:
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.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.