In October 2003 US President George Bush became the victim of one of the most ingenious “Google bombs” ever launched.
For those of you less familiar with the term, a Googlebomb is a black hat SEO technique that attempts to raise the SERP ranking of a given page in Google. The trick was to get as many sites as possible to link to a certain page using the same anchor text. In Bush’s case the term “miserable failure” ranked Bush’s official Whitehouse biography at the top of Google’s results. Many believed that after 2007 when Google changed the search-rank algorithm, Google bombing ceased to be effective. There were obviously fewer attempts to use the technique to discredit political personalities – this until today when many publications reported that the term “worst failure ever” displays President Obama’s page at the top of Google’s SERPs.
This Googlebomb is attributed to some SEO savvy Republicans who apparently linked to Obama’s bio using “worst failure ever” during the past few days. You’d think that the Republicans could come up with something more original than “failure” (considering that the term was already used to Google bomb Bush), but they disappoint this time.
As you can see in the screenshot at the left (click to enlarge), President Obama’s official Whitehouse biography ranks second (as searched from Germany) in Google, which raises serious questions about Google’s “improvements:”
“By improving our analysis of the link structure of the web, Google has begun minimizing the impact of many Googlebombs.”
As you see, Google never stated that the infamous “Googlebombs” are no longer possible; they announced that they “minimized” the impact instead.
Naturally, “minimize” does not translate with “impossible” – therefore it should not come as a surprise that Google bombing still works.
Making President Obama’s rank for “worst failure ever” was obviously an easy task. The phrase is what SEOs define as “long tail” – a keyword phrase containing more that 2 words, that is unlikely to be searched for.
Today however, the phrase was listed among the top most searched phrases in Google trends – which means not that people were interested to learn which was the worst failure ever, but that the media made many people curious to see Obama ranking at the top of the SERPs for this term.
We can expect the results to change soon – as it happened in the past with Bush’s bio, but for now we can conclude that Google bombing does work and that not much has changed in the way Google ranks pages in its search results.