.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Ontario Technoblog

Ontario Emperor technology blog.

This blog has been superseded by the mrontemp blog
Location: Ontario, California, United States

Sometime audio artist. Email comments on this blog to the gmail account mrontemp.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Google Bombing and the Top Technoweenie Blog

Chalk it up to ignorance. I thought that Google categorized pages based upon content. I didn't realize that the content of links could influence the listing:

Senator William Napoli of South Dakota attracted a lot of media attention with his example of a woman who would constitute an exception to the state's recent ban of abortions. In his view, only a religious virgin who was "brutalized, raped and sodomized as bad as vigourosly as possible then is impregnated" should be offered the choice of a legal abortion. This remark prompted several backlashes online, including a Google-bombing by a blog called "Bitch | Lab." Anyone offended by the senator's remarks is encouraged to post a link to his page of the South Dakota legislature homepage with the phrase, "sexist asshat." Napoli's page is now the first hit for that phrase.

Bitch | Lab explains how this worked:

Link the phrase, sexist asshat, to the Napoli’s Web site....

You can also write e-mail messages to email lists that accept HTML. Type a message with the phrase ‘sexist asshat‘ and link to Napoli’s Web site....

If you have a blog, you can also put a link for sexist asshat in your blog link list or blog roll (though you can’t use blogrolling for this)....

Doing this will help spread the idea via Technorati and Truth Laid Bear. Google and search engines sometimes also rank blogrolls and front page links more heavily than they rank links contained in posts.

One goal is to make it so that, if you search for “sexist asshat,” then you’ll get Napoli’s page.

As of late July, the strategy was working.

Wikipedia includes additional explanation:

Due to the way that Google's PageRank algorithm works, a page will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page all use consistent anchor text. A Google bomb is created if a large number of sites link to the page in this manner....

An example of Google bombing is if a user registers many domains and all of them link to a main site with the text "... is a living legend". Searching for "living legend" on Google will return the main site higher in the ranking, even if the phrase "living legend" doesn't appear on the main site. A common means of exploiting this is through weblogs, where although the entry may disappear from the main page quickly, the short-term effects of a link can dramatically affect the ranking of a given site. Empirical results indicate that it does not take a large number of websites to achieve a Google bomb. The effect has been achieved with only a handful of dedicated weblogs.

The above has to be qualified, however. A handful of blog links will not Google bomb someone like Amazon.com out of the top results for "books," for example. In fact, Google bombs have generally had an impact on relatively "non-competitive" terms, where there's no particular page that seems to be necessarily the right answer.

The Napoli example demonstrates this. As of today, the Google search sexist asshat returns about 38,200 responses. If you remove the targeted Napoli resposnes by using the search sexist asshat -napoli, there are still about 37,100 responses. In other words, less than 2.9% of the web pages with the words "sexist asshat" link to the Napoli page, but that's enough to put that page at the top of the list.

In fact, this top technoweenie blog is going to try an experiment. I'll keep you posted.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home