I spend a fair bit of time reading about how search engines work (particularly Google), but I have to admit that I came across a new term today via Phil Bradley’s site. The term is Googlebomb. According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, this is what a Googlebomb is;
Technically, a “Googlebomb” (sometimes called a “linkbomb” since they’re not specific to Google) refers to a prank where people attempt to cause someone else’s site to rank for an obscure or meaningless query.
A better explanation (I think) appears at Google Blogoscoped;
A Googlebomb means a lot of people get together to link to a specific site, often an “enemy site,” using specific e.g. funny link text. This way, the target site will appear ranked at #1 in Google for this text, making for an embarrassing effect.
According to Blogoscoped, the Church of Scientology have been Googlebombed when the search terms ‘Dangerous Cult’ are used. Their site comes up as the first result, even though the homepage at this time contains the word “dangerous” but not the word “cult”… There’s no doubt it is embarrassing for the Church of Scientology and Wikipedia already have it covered in their page entitled Google bomb;
As of January 29, 2008 Google bombing during Project Chanology has caused the main website for Scientology to appear as the first result when searching “dangerous cult”, as reported by Jason Lee Miller of WebProNews.
Something to use when teaching students about how search results can be manipulated when people know what they are doing.