Any of you familiar with the world of search engine optimisation will know of the process known as Google Bombing. This is where a web page is pushed to the top of Google’s search rankings for a phrase that has nothing to do with the page’s content, and doesn’t appear anywhere on that page.
This was achieved by creating links from other web pages to the target page, which used the phrase that you wished it to rank for as the anchor text. Due to the weight that Google places on inbound links, and especially on the text of those links, in it’s algorithm, it was a relatively simple procedure. Famous examples of this tactic included making George W. Bush’s official page on the White House website rank for the phrase miserable failure.
For various reasons (in my mind one of those being to spoil all the presentations I had given on the subject throughout 2006) Google updated it’s algorithm so that this process would no longer work.
Except that it still does. Search marketing blog SEOmoz recently published a post encouraging it’s readers to link to the website of American comedian and graduate of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert, using the text Greatest Living American in order to push the Colbert Report site to the top of the search results for that phrase.
Whilst there have been comments on the SEOmoz post suggesting that this is not the sort of endeavour that a respected search marketing blog should be encouraging, I tend to agree with Rand Fishkin (founder of SEOmoz and author of the original post) & Tom Critchlow that it is really a bit of harmless fun, but also that it is a useful insight that proves that not everything that Google says should be taken as gospel.