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The Google Bomb That Got Away – Ireland’s Telecoms Poodle is Alive And Well (and living in Lower Abbey Street)

Posted in: Google,Keywords by Richard Hearne on January 28, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

Well George Bush may no longer be a ‘Miserable Failure’ (in the search engines at least), but that most quintessential of Irish Google Bombs still retains it’s rank.

Yes, Comreg is still ranking #1 for searches on the phrase ‘Telecoms Poodle‘ (and if you don’t believe me try linking to it yourself :mrgreen:).

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’?

Is relevancy the key to the Bomb Filter?

There is a tad bit of discussion going on (see the commentary on Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim blog – one for your reader also) and it has got me thinking how the filter might actual kick in.

First off I wouldn’t know an algorithm if it licked me in the face. But here’s my best guess at what Google might be doing to filter out the Bombs.

Google constantly crawls the web looking for new content and new hyperlinks. As the volume of same-anchor hyperlinks pointing at any one object increases a threshold may be reached which triggers a flag.

I would imagine that relevancy checks are then carried out on both the target object and originating objects to see if:

  1. the originating object (the page publishing the link) is relevant to the target;
  2. the originating object is relevant to other originating objects;
  3. the anchor used has relevancy with respect to the originating object;
  4. the anchor used has relevancy with respect to the originating website;
  5. the anchor used has relevancy with respect to the target object;
  6. the anchor used has relevancy with respect to the target website.

In situations where enough originating objects fail the above tests Google may then filter the target object from search results on the target anchor text.

But I do find it interesting that the ‘Telecoms Poodle‘ is still live and well.

Why might this be? Well firstly, the anchor contains the word ‘telecoms’ which is highly relevant for the target. ‘Telecoms’ is probably also relevant for many of the sites that bombed ComReg (many of the bloggers involved are commenting on the Broadband problems we have here in Ireland). I imagine also that the relatively small size of Ireland’s blogging community makes many of the originating sites relevant to each other (quite a small close-knit circle involved in the bomb).

If I am right it might still be possible to bomb phrases – the key would be to link using semi-relevant anchors, and publish those anchors on sites that share high relevance with the target site and each other.

Of course all the above is simply me speculating. The chances I’m completely wrong? I imagine quite high.

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  1. Hi Richard,

    The relevancy does seem like a good argument. I’d put more emphasis on the text (and site) of the page that is linking. I think it’d also be interesting to try and re-inforce the google bomb by using related words in the text and anchor text.

    Looking at a ~telecom search on google gives us: telecommunications, mobile, telekom, wireless, communications, telephone etc.

    Unfortunately a ~poodle search doesn’t give us any related words. Other than the singular and plural that is. But the wikipedia entry gives us toy poodle and standard poodle. And dog is a good related word.

    The telecom related words are probably more helpful anyway with the relevancy factor you mention.

    More sophisticated google-bombing campaigns might be the way to go!

    Comment by Thomas Holmes — January 29, 2007 @ 10:49 am

  2. Hi Thomas

    I agree on the text and site elements – actually that’s what I was referring to in points 1 and 2 above on my speculation list :grin:

    I think Google were very careful to set thresholds that are unlikely to affect anything other than the really obvious bombing attempts.

    Now I wonder if people used an anchor like ‘bungling president’ would it stick?

    Rgds and thanks for your comment,

    PS where are you from? I’ve never come across your site before.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 29, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

  3. Hi Richard!

    I’m from Dublin though I’m based in the South of France at the moment.

    We just launched at the end of last year so the site hasn’t been around for long. And we’ve focussed mainly on the French market so far.

    We’re sponsoring a category at the blog awards so we might get to meet if you’re there!

    Comment by Thomas Holmes — January 29, 2007 @ 6:34 pm

  4. Cool. Nice to meet you Thomas.

    Will most likely be at the awards all right. Too many people to meet in the real world to pass up the opportunity!


    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 29, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

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