Looking At Google Bombs, But Not Very Well

via Phil Bradley,

Deconstructing Google bombs
from First Monday tries to analyze two link
bombs to determine how much they are a result of collective action. Sadly,
stumbles leave me less than thrilled with the paper and the supposed peer review
process that’s supposed to catch errors.

For one, "The coining of the phrase ‘Google bomb’ " didn’t lead to the "mimetic
diffusion of the rank influencing techniques…now referred to as search engine
optimization." Link building and SEO existed before the notion of Google, much
less Google bombs.

More important, the deconstruction of 2,690 links to George W. Bush bio page
relating to the infamous
query sounds good and results in nice stats like 43 percent are from
.gov sites and "legit" while another 43 percent are from link bombing
participants. The problem is, Google only reports a slice of whatever links
point at a particular page.

Go over to MSN Search, and it

nearly 30,000 links point at that page. Google certainly knows of around
this many and uses them as part of the ranking process. It simply doesn’t report
them all, as any experience search marketer knows. The analysis is skewed by not
taking that into account. It operates using partial data.

This is from "peer-reviewed" First Monday? I spotted one major factual error and
one major flaw to the analysis within a minute that apparently got past whatever
the peer review committee is. Memo to First Monday. Get some search experts and
search marketers to do some of your reviewing when running papers about search.

In related news, the fact that just [failure] will bring up the George W. Bush
bio on Google is still apparently news to
some, which
got the attention of Robert Scoble who
MSN coming up with "conservative" results for that query, Hillary Clinton
ranking tops there, Bush coming in second.
Variation on a
Theme: A New George Bush Linkbomb?
from Gary in June covers an earlier
report of a search on [failure] bringing up Bush tops at Google and Yahoo and
Gigablast. On MSN, he was eight. On Ask Jeeves, he didn’t appear at all.

Finally, why do I keep saying "link bomb" and "link bombing" rather than "Google
bomb" and "Google bombing?" It’s more accurate, since as I’ve
these bombs go off on places other that Google.

Related reading

A screenshot of visual search on Pinterest. On the left is a picture of a copper angle-poise lamp, with the words 'Visually similar results' above it. Down the right-hand side are a number of pins showing similar lamps.
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