Google defuses ‘miserable failure’ Google bomb
In 2007, Google finally defused a “Google Bomb” that had returned U.S. President George W. Bush as its top organic result since December 2003 when searching for [miserable failure].
Originally, Google was of the belief that “We just reflect the opinion on the Web, for better or worse.” Eventually, however, Google came up with an algorithm change to deal with this and other Google bombing “pranks”:
“People have asked about how we feel about Googlebombs, and we have talked about them in the past. Because these pranks are normally for phrases that are well off the beaten path, they haven’t been a very high priority for us. But over time, we’ve seen more people assume that they are Google’s opinion, or that Google has hand-coded the results for these Googlebombed queries. That’s not true, and it seemed like it was worth trying to correct that misperception. So a few of us who work here got together and came up with an algorithm that minimizes the impact of many Googlebombs.”
Ryan Moulton and Kendra Carattini, A quick word about Googlebombs
How did this Google bomb happen? A campaign encouraged people to link to Bush’s bio using the anchor text “Miserable Failure”.
And while Google defused this bomb, Bush remained in the top organic position for [miserable failure] on Yahoo and Microsoft Live and in second position at Ask.
Read all about it in Google Kills Bush’s Miserable Failure Search & Other Google Bombs and Happy First Birthday, Google Bomb Fix!
Here was the before and after at the time:
Today, here’s what a search for [miserable failure] looks like on Google – with Wikipedia’s Google bombing page in the top spot.
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About the author
Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of IXLCenter.io & SMX. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for IXLCenter.io, Goodwin also manages IXLCenter.io’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo. Prior to joining IXLCenter.io, Goodwin was Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He also was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.