How Google Handles Google Bowling

Competitors Trying to Sabotage Your Ranking

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In a Q&A session at SMX Advanced in Seattle, Google’s Matt Cutts was asked the following question:

How does Google look at the issue that I can buy suspect links and point them to my competitor? How does your algorithm track that?

This practice is known as "Google Bowling". To get a better understanding of what Google Bowling (different from Google Bombing) is about, check out this article from Michael Pedone from 2005 about how competitors can sabotage you.

Matt CuttsMatt discussed how Google deals with this. In the session he said:

The short answer is we try really hard to make sure that one person can’t Google bowl another person. You try to include it in your algorithm so much that you don’t want those links to count, but you don’t necessarily want anyone to be in a position where somebody else could try to hurt you….

We try to make it so that it doesn’t cause a drop in your rankings (if a competitor tries to hurt you). We try to do stuff algorithmically, we use manual means…we’ve been pretty clear that we do not like paid links and we take action on it, but at the same time, we try very hard to make it so that just because somebody else doesn’t like you, they can’t submarine your rankings and things like that.

It’s good to know that Google is keeping the best interest of those being "bowled" in mind. It would be interesting to know people’s opinions about how well they’re actually handling this.

Has this ever happened to you? Do you think Google does a good job handling it? Share your thoughts with other WebProNews readers.

Also, stay tuned to WebPronews for more coverage of the SMX Advanced conference from Seattle (that goes for articles and for video). You will also be seeing more info from Matt’s Q&A session, specifically.

How Google Handles Google Bowling
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  • andreas

    we had a spam site copy our content (thousands of pages) back in september. the retards did not remove some of our header links, so now 1000s of spam pages are linking to 1000s of our pages. lo and behold, we were hit with a 90+ penalty late october. our site is 100% legit with minimal to no seo – needless to say, we went from 40k visits / day to 500 visits. now, we are trying to contact google, we logged dmcas, went through wmt but still almost a month after the penalty THERE IS NO WORD FROM GOOGLE. they are behaving in a way microsoft did in the late nineties, they are vain and w/out regard to the web community (they do have a fake one though – but honestly, they just care about them hitting the quaterly numbers to please the street) – it’s a shame and they will eventually pay the price, just like msft did, just like ebay did. the businesses that act in such ways will sooner or later be overthroned. and all that ‘dont be evil’ stuff – it’s rediculous. they purposely chose not to hire customer service so they can continue to enjoy redicoulous profits while us who work hard building a page after page suffer. GOOGLE IS EVIL.

  • Glory

    I have a website that ranked quite good for some lower competitive keywords after 6 months but gradually disappeared. Nothing on the website was changed. I did my research and found that my domain appeared on some porn websites, within the content (there was not clickable link). I thought it might be because of stale content on my site but it still did not get better after I added some new content.

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  • http://www.psmdigital.com/ PSMDigital

    My thought is that Google does Google Bowling otherwise it won’t be possible for Google to provide the best results when a query is being made.Thousands of websites are created on a daily basis and some sites with better content are definitely getting better position as they are competing using the right seo strategy which might not be used by the competitors.Further getting a good rank in the search engines become highly competetive,Google will be enhancing or modifying its ranking parameters which might lower the website’s rank as the website may have got good position in the search engine without considering the parameter that Google is considering now.

  • http://cheapfobs.com Jimmy Keyless

    Shouldn’t webmaster tools tell you if someone has filed a webspam report against your site? Does Google ever check to see if a spam snitch (that’s what they all are, right?) is willing to back up their claim that they have “found” webspam (instead of creating it then “reporting” it). Shouldn’t you have some way of defending yourself and your site against false accusations? These are the questions I have as I look into my suspicions that my site has indeed been “bowled.”

  • http://mazecard.com.au Customer loyalty

    I didn’t think one person had enough mass to do this.

  • http://mazecard.com.au Customer loyalty

    Trying to protect my own site related to Loyalty Program.

  • http://gofoo.net Matthew Zivkovic

    I think Negative SEO is very real. Put it this way. Why does everyone say that doing blackhat linking on your site can hurt your site? Because its true. So the same would apply if you started to send porn links to a competitor’s site.

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