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The end of Google bombs?

Google bombs have become a problem for Google. The official Google webmaster blog recently had a statement about Google bombs and how Google deals with them.

What are Google bombs?

Google bombs are Internet pranks. Google heavily relies on the number and the type of links that point to a web site. If many web sites link with a special search term to a web site then the linked web site will get a top ranking on Google for that search term.

Some people abused this behavior of Google's ranking algorithm to get web sites to the top of the search results that normally shouldn't be there.

It works like this:

A webmaster decides that a web site should have a top Google ranking for a special search term. The webmaster links to the web site with that search term and asks all of his friends to also link to that web site with that special search term. His friends also link to the site and they ask their other friends to link with that search term to the web site, and so on.

Now that many different sites link to the web site with that search term, Google thinks that the web site must be very relevant for that search term.

The most famous Google bomb is the miserable failure Google bomb. For several months, the official home page of George Bush was the first result on Google for the search term "miserable failure".

What did Google do about the Google bomb problem?

Last Thursday, Google decided to do something against Google bombs:

"These pranks are normally for phrases that are well off the beaten path, they haven't been a very high priority for us. But over time, we've seen more people assume that they are Google's opinion, or that Google has hand-coded the results for these Googlebombed queries. [...]

So a few of us who work here got together and came up with an algorithm that minimizes the impact of many Googlebombs."

That means that most Google bombs shouldn't work anymore. The new algorithm is probably an extension of the algorithm that detects unnatural linking patterns.

What does this mean to your web site?

Inbound links are very important if you want to get high rankings on Google. It's important to optimize your web pages so that they are relevant to a special search term but it is equally important -- if not more important -- to get high quality links to your web site.

A web site can only get high rankings on Google if it has good inbound links in addition to good content. However, it is important that you get the right links.

If the links to your web site have an unnatural pattern then Google probably won't count these links. If you get many links with exactly the same link text in a short time period then these links might be interpreted as a Google bombing attempt.

Links to your web site are very important if you want to get high rankings on Google. You must get good inbound links to succeed with Google. It's important that you get the right links to your web site. Details can be found in our free eBook "How to get high quality inbound links".

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January 2007 search engine articles