Google Bombing Expanded

I wrote a short aside today about Google bombing. I’ve decided to expand on it.

I found this article on Blog P.I. about Google bombing. A Google bomb is an attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by Google, often with humorous or political intentions.

Google bombing is akin to link farming. The above image shows the result of a Google bomb. Type in miserable failure into Google and you end up with the biography of George Bush or Michael Moore.

A Google bomb is an attempt to push a page up the search engine results of Google.

A Google bomb (also referred to as a ‘link bomb’) is Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine, often with humorous or political intentions.[1] Because of the way that Google’s algorithm works, a page will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page use consistent anchor text. A Google bomb is created if a large number of sites link to the page in this manner. Google bomb is used both as a verb and a noun. The phrase “Google bombing” was introduced to the New Oxford American Dictionary in May 2005.[2] Google bombing is closely related to spamdexing, the practice of deliberately modifying HTML pages to increase the chance of their being placed close to the beginning of search engine results, or to influence the category to which the page is assigned in a misleading or dishonest manner.

Some website operators use the same techniques as Google bomb for spamdexing, a form of spam.

This led me to read about the SEO contest Nigritude Ultramarine, which also used Google bombing. This type of contest is controversial because it often leads to massive amounts of link spamming as participants try to boost the rankings of their pages by any means available.

Here is an interesting excerpt from wiki’s entry on spamdexing.

Link spam

Davison defines link spam (which he calls “nepotistic links”) as “… links between pages that are present for reasons other than merit.” [6] Link spam takes advantage of link-based ranking algorithms, such as Google‘s PageRank algorithm, which gives a higher ranking to a website the more other highly ranked websites link to it. These techniques also aim at influencing other link-based ranking techniques such as the HITS algorithm.

Link farms
Involves creating tightly-knit communities of pages referencing each other, also known humorously as mutual admiration societies [2]PDF (1.55 MiB)
Hidden links
Putting links where visitors will not see them in order to increase link popularity. Highlighted link text can help rank a webpage higher for matching that phrase.
Sybil attack
This is the forging of multiple identities for malicious intent, named after the famous multiple personality disorder patient “Sybil” (Shirley Ardell Mason). A spammer may create multiple web sites at different domain names that all link to each other, such as fake blogs known as spam blogs.
Wiki spam
Using the open editability of wiki systems to place links from the wiki site to the spam site. Often, the subject of the spam site is totally unrelated to the page on the wiki where the link is added. In early 2005, Wikipedia implemented a ‘nofollow‘ value for the ‘rel’ HTML attribute. Links with this attribute are ignored by Google’s PageRank algorithm. Forum and Wiki admins can use these to end or discourage Wiki spam.
Spam in blogs
This is the placing or solicitation of links randomly on other sites, placing a desired keyword into the hyperlinked text of the inbound link. Guest books, forums, blogs and any site that accepts visitors’ comments are particular targets and are often victims of drive by spamming where automated software creates nonsense posts with links that are usually irrelevant and unwanted.
Spam blogs
Also known as splogs, a spam blog, on the contrary, is a fake blog created exclusively with the intent of spamming. They are similar in nature to link farms.
Page hijacking
This is achieved by creating a rogue copy of a popular website which shows contents similar to the original to a web crawler, but redirects web surfers to unrelated or malicious websites.
Referer log spamming
When someone accesses a web page, i.e. the referee, by following a link from another web page, i.e. the referer, the referee is given the address of the referer by the person’s internet browser. Some websites have a referer log which shows which pages link to that site. By having a robot randomly access many sites enough times, with a message or specific address given as the referer, that message or internet address then appears in the referer log of those sites that have referer logs. Since some search engines base the importance of sites by the number of different sites linking to them, referer-log spam may be used to increase the search engine rankings of the spammer’s sites, by getting the referer logs of many sites to link to them.
Buying expired domains
Some link spammers monitor DNS records for domains that will expire soon, then buy them when they expire and replace the pages with links to their pages. See Domaining.
Comment spam
Comment spam is a form of link spam that has arisen in web pages that allow dynamic user editing such as wikis, blogs, and guestbooks. It can be problematic because agents can be written that automatically randomly select a user edited web page, such as a Wikipedia article, and add spamming links.[7]

Some of these techniques may be applied for creating a Google bomb, this is, to cooperate with other users to boost the ranking of a particular page for a particular query.

Other types of spamdexing

Mirror websites
Hosting of multiple websites all with conceptually similar content but using different URLs. Some search engines give a higher rank to results where the keyword searched for appears in the URL.
URL redirection
Taking the user to another page without his or her intervention, e.g. using META refresh tags, Java, JavaScript or Server side redirects
Cloaking refers to any of several means to serve up a different page to the search-engine spider than will be seen by human users. It can be an attempt to mislead search engines regarding the content on a particular web site. However, cloaking can also be used to ethically increase accessibility of a site to users with disabilities, or to provide human users with content that search engines aren’t able to process or parse. It is also used to deliver content based on a user’s location; Google itself uses IP delivery, a form of cloaking, to deliver results.

A form of this is code swapping, this is: optimizing a page for top ranking, then, swapping another page in its place once a top ranking is achieved.

See also

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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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