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Google Bombing Dissected

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-09-20

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In previous articles published at WebProNews we discussed Google Bombing. Google bombing is a tactic designed to fool Google into raising your page rank.

An excellent article was also written responding to our Google Bombing thread in WebProWorld which we published earlier. It's definately worth the read if you didn't see it.: Google Bombing Or Incremental Tool For Search Engine Ranking?

I've compiled below some of the more interesting posts over at our forum WebProWorld that delve into the Google bombing issue. Here is a link to the thread (it's currently 6 pages long) if you would like to join the discussion: http://www.webproworld.com/viewtopic.php?t=19786

Dave Hawley (Australia): "Guys, let's NOT confuse the number of pages returned by Google for a search as any sort of indication of how competetive a search term is. It is FAR more complex that that.

1) The "number 1-10 of x results" is often off by more than 30%

2) The "number 1-10 of x results" ONLY indicates how many pages fit that criteria NOT how competetive the keyword/phrase is. There is NO direct correlation.

For example, do a search for "Click Here" etc and the number of pages returned is VERY disproportionate to how competetive this term is. Now do a search for "Harley Davidson" and, according to Google, 14 Million less results. It wouldn't take Einstein to work out which is more "competetive"!

As for the new Google bomb. Considering the fact it will very likey do nothing for 99.9% of Webmatsers is it worth the possible risk of getting banned from Google?"

Mel Nelson (Malaysia): "Dave is exactly right when he says that the number of pages returned is not an accurate indicator of how competitive a phrase is, but let me expand that a bit if I may.

If you are targeting a top ten position at Google the only competition you have for those slots are the existing top ten pages, those are the ones you have to beat, not the 14 million ranking after that.

There can be some very competitive pages for search terms with only 100 results returned, as there can be for search terms with millions of pages returned, but you only have to beat some of the top ten pages to get a top ten ranking in either case.

My advice - don't worry about how many pages are returned (except as a very very rough estimate) but look for the answers in the top ten pages where all your competition for top rankings is located."

Peter Faber ( Scottsdale, Arizona): "Google's algorithms have over 100 factors and a part of those are about links (not just pagerank, but also things like anchor text, page topic, etc.)

Google Bombing works because it takes the linking factors to an unnatural extreme.

Going to extremes is not possible with all ranking factors, but it is with the linking factors.

So even the worsed webpages can get high rankings if you can manage to get an extreme amount of backlinks to it. Obviously this only works with hyped things like the "miserable failure" and "raar kapsel" (weird hair cut refering to the dutch priminister :D) "

jhansen: "I think the google bomb subject has been covered! Now, do we want to shift to plain old-fashioned SEO? Or should we either shift to another topic - or if nesessary create a new topic - for general SEO discussion?

One fellow said the google bomb only helps OTHER peoples sites. Hence no practical interest to most of us.

Another fellow it only helps NON-COMPETITIVE search terms. I disagree: given the premise that "competitiveness" is determined by the top ten listings, then "jew" (as in "jewwatch" as in the incident that started this whole thing) is at least moderately competitive.

I work with small companies specializing in very small markets. I saw one client go after about 100 search terms and get top ten listings in 90% of them (several #1). The competition was generally pretty modest by our standards, but it was still important to HIM, because his site is how HE makes his living.

Now what I'd love to learn is how to get inbound links discovered FASTER by google, in order to boost google page rank faster. (One fellow above suggests front page link to the inbound link.) I ask becuase even after confirmation of an inbound link from a site ranked 4+ by google, it seems to take forever before that link appears on the google toolbar under incoming links (so I suspect the "rank promotion" effect is ALSO slow). ANY IDEAS FELLOWS???

On the other hand, when I add a new page within a site linked from the front page, google normally picks it up in just a few days. That has helped me optimize pages WITHIN a site for specific search terms swiftly."

Mac 5: "With a little help I think CNN could win the ipod in the SEO contest.
http://www.cnn.com/?nigritudeultramarine "

ryan4jeep (Vancouver BC Canada): "Tricks get found out and then you get penalized. Its good to make sure whatever you are doing is ethical and provides real relavent content. I would hate to get banned or PR 0 for using unethical techniques. Its just not worth screwing up and having to start over with a totally new site. I will keep watching about this but our sites are doing well without it. Just keep getting link partners and increasing the articles or content pages of your website. Cross link your pages and practice Safe optimization that ensures long term growth."

Dave Hawley (Australia): "It amazes me that so many would spend so much time on Google gimmicks, tricks etc. Why not spend the time on real SEO? Basically real links and real content."

kikkertm (United Kingdom): "I think (Dave) that the discussion can be quite usefull and playing with these things could make us better understand the algo's and therefore any SEO techniques.

Other (related) question though. Does anyone know how google would handle links like:


This is within http protocol standards (it's the format for basic http authentication). Just wondering if you could apply the technique mentioned in a similar way:


Any Thoughts ?

Or pushing the idea even further, how would the spider handle:


Please note, due to a fixed security vulnerability (which I found a few years ago - therefore the interest in using this technique), the above link doesn't work in IE. It does however work fine in Firefox. I'm trying to find out how the spider handles it. Do I make any sense ?

PS: This is purely a theoretical mindwarp, just to understand stuff - NOT to cheat stuff !"

T2DMan (Auckland, New Zealand): "A reason why adding tags to Google.com and CNN.com have worked so well is that both come up/have come up with the error message that includes that phrase.

Therefore that particular page has had the multiple whammy of a link, link with keyword, high PR CNN/Google site, and text on page.

Google/CNN etc are changing some of their pages so that the text you search for is not shown on the page. I have seen some searches with a 301 permanent redirect to the main CNN/Google page, which although less user friendly, helps stop the issue.

Google treats the # as being correctly the same as the page, rather than being like the ? which gives a different page. When using the # on CNN/Google, you don't get the text actually shown on the page, you are getting mainly text link value (if the text link shows the #blabla rather than being a url behind the textlink.

Google could pages as the sum of their links, not the intrinsic value of the root domain. But the "authority" status of sites could be seen as a very important part of the algorithm that it didn't want to mess up.

This whole thread is more about people finding out:
- the value of a high PR authority site (ie Google/CNN) and that Google does not just take links into account etc, but the value of the root url.
- the value of text links and the actual words used within them (the smaller number of words the better)
- the value of the search phrase apearing in the url

Threads like this are very good for finding out the extreme edges of how the algos work. How one link with one unique piece of text can have a page ranked for that text.

I agree with sem-seo-pro where he point out that for competitive terms you must get ALL these things right to be able to rank high."

SEOptimism (Long Beach, CA): "This "new" so-called "#Google-Bombing" technique is simply a routine SEO strategy that has been used for years by the pros. When we optimize a site for a client, we include keywords wherever possible within the visible page text. The top priority is ALWAYS page text and title tags. From there on, ALL uses are only incremental in value and don't dramatically affect ranking for targeted keyword phrases.

I demonstrate the ease of ranking for rare terms on a page where I discuss the foolishness of SEO guarantees by including the phrase, "screeching camels" one time on the page in visible text. There are no keyword or description metatags on that page, yet it ranks number one at Google when you search for "Screeching Camels". That is not Google bombing. A one-time use of a keyword phrase on a page got this number one ranking for that phrase simply because it is an absurdly rare phrase.

Use of irrelevant and misleading keyword phrase stuffing in keyword metatags, comment tags (. period used to allow display without embedding links) <.!-- keyword stuffing --> and ridiculous "invisible text" (using text the same color as the background) got abusive and so the search engines began to penalize those who did those things. They will always attempt to ban the obsessive cheaters and keyword stuffing liars.

The ? and # technique has always been used legitimately for ?tracking-referrers, calling ?search-terms and for #jump-links to take you to a named anchor within a page.

Sometimes when I link OUT to a site, I add the ?WebSite101 to the tail end of the URL only to let them know where the visitor came from (referrer) when they view their logs or use a traffic analysis or tracking service.

SEO's have always used # and ? to advantage in an incremental fashion to optimize client sites. The jump links to named anchors is routinely used by SEO's by placing keywords in the #named-anchor.

This works particularly well on long FAQ pages and on glossary of terms pages. Instead of doing what most do and using <.a href="#FAQ1">Keyword Phrase[./a] we use <.a href="#keyword-phrase">Keyword-Phrase<./a>. Of course you do the same at the named anchor - <.a name="keyword-phrase"><./a> to give the link a destination. Again, just an incremental tidbit to increase the use of the keyword phrase by a slight margin THROUGHOUT the site in that same incremental fashion, without being excessive.

The same is done with image filenames, second level directory names, page filenames, and embedding links in keyword phrases <.a href="keyword-phrase.html"> Keyword Phrase<./a> rather than <.a href="wordfrag2.htm"> Click Here<./a>

Every once in a while someone discovers these old techniques and attempts to abuse them a la Google Bombing and they get "popular", start getting abused obscenely by overly agressive folks that risk being banned in order to gain short term advantage for their own site. This leads the search engines to downgrade or penalize those who abuse the techniques.

Wholistic SEO is using many techniques moderately for incremental gains. When you get obsessive about any one technique it leads to trouble. I doubt this "new" technique will go so far because it is a web standard to use # and ? in URL's for legitimate purposes."

daemon61 (Croatia): "Hello everyone, this would make my very first post on webpro although im lurking for quite some time.

Ive read this whole thread, but i still dont get how thing like this can help? Maybe it would help with competitive keywords if you put the links like www.yacht-base.com/?-yacht-charter on many different websites which google considers important and counts them into your number of pages that links to your sites?

And another thing interests me, how long does it takes to have some changes, with PR or search position? Googlebot now spiders my site every day, but even after four months of active SEO, PR stayed unchanged (4)."

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