Google Bombs Defused? Google Updates Link Analysis Algorithm

Jan 26, 2007 • 7:05 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under

Matt Cutts and team wrote at the Google Blog that they have minimized "the impact of many Googlebombs" by "improving our [Google's] analysis of the link structure of the web." They then go into the history of the Googlebomb and explain why they did it...

Danny Sullivan with Google Kills Bush's Miserable Failure Search & Other Google Bombs does an excellent job looking at all the angles of this announcement (yea, he is even on the road when he wrote this). So look over there, I am going to steal his before and after screen shot for a search on miserable failure.

Miserable Failure
Google Bomb Photo credits, Danny Sullivan

One thing Danny did not discuss in much detail was the specifics of the algorithm change, an aspect that is on the top of the mind of most SEOs right now.

For that, we can take a look at Bill Bill Slawski's comment on Danny's post.

Compare that to what Anna Patterson wrote in the section on "Document Annotation for Improved Ranking" in the following document:

Phrase-based indexing in an information retrieval system.

Instead of [BOMB otherwords], it tries to locate "related phrases" (some examples in the patent application). It also provides a means of weighing the strength of related phrases.

Of course, they could be doing something different, but this is the only document I know of from Google that discusses a means of stopping Google Bombing:

[0153] This approach has the benefit of entirely preventing certain types of manipulations of web pages (a class of documents) in order to skew the results of a search. Search engines that use a ranking algorithm that relies on the number of links that point to a given document in order to rank that document can be "bombed" by artificially creating a large number of pages with a given anchor text which then point to a desired page. As a result, when a search query using the anchor text is entered, the desired page is typically returned, even if in fact this page has little or nothing to do with the anchor text. Importing the related bit vector from a target document URL1 into the phrase A related phrase bit vector for document URL0 eliminates the reliance of the search system on just the relationship of phrase A in URL0 pointing to URL1 as an indicator of significance or URL1 to the anchor text phrase.

Matt Cutts replied commending Bill on his find, but saying he cannot confirm or deny if this patent is used in the new link analysis.

Let me paraphrase the paraphrase from Bill's quote.

A related phrase bit vector for document URL0 eliminates the reliance of the search system on just the relationship of phrase A in URL0 pointing to URL1 as an indicator of significance or URL1 to the anchor text phrase.

Seems like a nice method, but who knows...

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, DigitalPoint Forums and Cre8asite Forums.

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SearcH EngineS WeB

01/26/2007 01:47 pm

It appears to be an Algo combination of: Trustrank BackLinks - Bad Link Neighborhoods - Similarity of Anchor text in Backlinks - and frequency of sudden backlinks ....all combined. This new algo actually began several weeks ago - and is causing false positives among lower PageRank and Newer site....but this does happens under the 40 - 40 - 20 Rule

Seth Finkelstein

01/26/2007 03:19 pm

I'm trying to start a bomb-reignition test by using associated words, i.e. link using "George Bush: Miserable Failure": <a href="" rel="nofollow">George Bush: "Miserable Failure"</a>

Michael Martinez

01/26/2007 05:14 pm

You would think that after all these years of people explaining how they intend to game search engines in forums and blogs and getting the rug pulled out from under them that they would have learned not to do that by now. Seth, I trust you were joking. SEW -- seems a little soon for any analysis right now. Google Blogoscoped has documented a number of well-known Link Bombs (beyond all the link bombs SEOs use to promote client sites every day) that are still working.


01/27/2007 12:37 am

This Google Bombing was done by at most a few hundred links pointing at the biography, if that many. Google annoyingly makes it impossible to tell exactly how many links are involved using the term, but to say that this particular campaign is the same as the "opinion on the web" is absurd. So only a few hundred people are able to speak for millions of web users? This isn't the web's opinion -- it's a particular opinion on the web. Google's search results are generated by computer programs that rank web pages in large part by examining the number and relative popularity of the sites that link to them. By using a practice called googlebombing, however, determined pranksters can occasionally produce odd results. In this case, a number of webmasters use the phrases [failure] and [miserable failure] to describe and link to President Bush's website, thus pushing it to the top of searches for those phrases. We don't condone the practice of googlebombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but we're also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up. Pranks like this may be distracting to some, but they don't affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission. So if I understand the previous statesments, if I place a link here for <a href="" rel="nofollow nofollow">globalwarming awareness2007</a> it is still considered good and isn't a Googlebomb, it's straight SEO.

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