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Say Goodbye to ‘Google Bombing’ & Hello to ‘Take Care with Your Anchor Text’

Posted in: Google,Keywords,Search Engines,SEO by Richard Hearne on January 26, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

Google has announced a change to their algorithm that minimises the effect of ‘Google Bombing’. Results for bombed search phrases are now showing references to ‘Google Bombing’ rather than pointing at well known websites.

The most famous ‘Google Bomb’ was for ‘miserable failure‘, which previously pointed at the White House bio page of George Bush. Searches on that query now produce results pointing at references to ‘Google Bombing’.

What was Google Bombing?

Google Bombing was the practice of extremely heavy and concerted linking campaigns using a particular anchor phrase. In the case of George Bush, links were created using the anchor text ‘miserable failure’:

<a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/biography.html">miserable failure</a>

Previously Google apparently considered both the anchor text and volume of links as a proxy for authority for a particular search phrase. This no longer happens.

But could this change affect your rankings?

Although we cannot be sure whether these algorithm changes have a threshold before they kick in (I’m sure it’s not so simple), it is worth considering the implications for regular link building efforts. The change seems to filter results – I couldn’t find Mr. Bush’s bio ranked at all for the phrase ‘miserable failure’.

Now Google is known for employing the brightest minds on the planet, and it’s very likely that the changes will not affect any sites other than those that previously ranked well after ‘Google Bombing’ campaigns. That said, Google has been known to make the odd mistake here and there.

If your back link profile is heavily skewed toward one or two anchor text phrases you could see your rankings affected by these changes. I imagine sites that target unrelated or semi-unrelated search phrases would be more at risk.

Varying you anchor text has always been a pre-requisite…..

Professional link builders and SEOs should already know to create a varied anchor text profile for their clients. But in cases where a large proportion of any particular backlink profile target an anchor phrase for which a site is not well trusted you might run foul of this tweak.

It might be timely to watch some of the highly optimised niches to see if any other sites are affected by this.

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  1. Varying you anchor text has always been a pre-requisite

    I actually didn’t know / didn’t think about this. Are there any good SEO sites that you’d recommend? (i.e. not the usual ‘get your site into the top 10 on google or your money back !)

    Comment by Paul Browne - Technology in Plain English — January 26, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  2. Hmm.. not quite sure what your looking for Paul? You mean informational sites or service sites?

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 26, 2007 @ 10:29 am

  3. More informational sites – a little bit more than the basic ‘use keywords in the title’, but stuff that can be used day to day by your common or garden blogger.


    Comment by Paul Browne - Technology in Plain English — January 26, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

  4. Hmm.. you might have to leave it with me and I’ll try and drum up a few URLs for you. TBH I don’t really frequent the nuts and bolts sites. Off the top of my head I know that seomoz.org have some very good SEO tutorials (www.seomoz.org/beginners.php).

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 26, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

  5. Ta!

    Comment by Paul Browne — January 26, 2007 @ 10:03 pm

  6. [...] I noticed James Corbett linking to my story and lamenting the loss of the ‘Telecoms Poodle‘ bomb (as it turns James is a wee bit premature). It got me to thinking as to how Google might be filtering these ‘attacks’? [...]

    Pingback by The Telecoms Poodle is Alive And Well | Search Engine Optimisation Ireland .:. Red Cardinal — January 28, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

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