Google Bombing is one of the so-called "Black Hat" practices of improving a page or website’s ranking by exploiting loopholes in Google's algorithm. Here, it's about artificially inflating the number of pages that link to a target page, and over-optimizing the anchor texts for the links. This is a rather "dirty" method, which is more amateurish than real SEO work. It goes without saying but we do not advocate this kind of SEO technique. Indeed, SmartKeyword encourages the use of white hat techniques in all of its articles.
Google's algorithmic calculation methods are fiercely guarded. However, the SEO community knows that PageRank still exists even if the search engine no longer discloses it publicly as it did a few years ago. The robots take into account the page’s popularity that makes the link to determine the target page’s popularity. They also use link anchors which, for Google, are already a clue to the target page’s content. Therefore, if thousands of websites use the same anchor to designate a page, for example “restaurant in New York City”, the search engine will take the target page as a reference page on the query “restaurant in New York City”. The theory is as simple as this. In practice, in 2021, robot behavior is not the same. Their evolution has considerably reduced Google Bombing effects.
“Miserable failure” : the most famous Google Bombing
If you've been interested in SEO for a few years, you may have heard of the query “miserable failure”. This is the most famous Google Bombing experienced by George Bush back in 2004. His biography, published on the official White House website, has been the subject of thousands and thousands of links, with the anchor “miserable failure”. Thus, the page was associated with this request.
But the first Google Bombing was started by Adam Mathes to make fun of his friend. He linked his website to the phrase "talentless hack". Adam Mathes obviously had a rather muddy humor! Some time later, it was the movie and the query "Supersize Me" that became a reference to McDonald's, which was not particularly to the restaurant chain’s taste that was heavily criticized in this feature film. In France, it was Nicolas Sarkozy who paid the price for a Google Bombing, associated with the term "Internet’s asshole". Classy!
Finally, one of the infamous Google Bombing is related to the query “Jew”, which was used to rank an anti-Semitic website in Google’s top results.
At the time, it was a technique which could seriously damage a personality or a brand’s image, and which could even prove dangerous if it’d fall into the wrong hands.
The end of Google Bombing?
In 2007, Google put a stop to these practices with a significant algorithm’s update. Current robots are said to be good enough at detecting bogus links intended to harm a website. These links are then considered as “spam”, and would no longer be taken into account for the SERP ranking. However, Google Bombing is unfortunately still present in other search engines like Yahoo and Bing.
Google Bombing is an archaic black hat practice, which in addition to being unfair, has become ineffective. If you still think you are a victim of Google Bombing, you can report it to the search engine, which will investigate.