Murder, Abortion and Googlebombs

    February 25, 2011

Proving the adage that what’s old is new again, Googlebombs are back in the news, and, of course, they’re being used to grandstand about a sensitive subject. Considering the subject matter — murder and abortion — the back and forth for this one should be a clean and respectful discourse concerning the different reactions such a subject produces… and maybe the iPad 2 will be free for everyone.

In other news, clearly, the time format on my Google Reader must be set to 2004.

Thanks to a find over at Reddit, via Boing Boing, the war about who’s right concerning the concept of abortion has selected Google’s search results as one of its battlegrounds.  It should be noted this publication or post is picking a side; instead, the idea that Googlebombs are still effective is our focus.

As for the Googlebomb in question, if a user searches the term “murder,” the second search result is the Wikipedia page for “abortion,” and the process behind a successful Googlebomb is the suspected reason for the ranking.  As of 10:00am EST, the result remains unchanged in Lexington, Ky.


Obviously, content farms were not used during the construction of this particular bomb.

Over at the Reddit thread, members are calling for action with the intent of altering the current rank distribution, with another group discussing how Googlebombs are developed, which brings us back to square one:

Googlebombs?  Really?

WebProNews reported about the phenomenon in 2004 when Jewish activists worked to “remove” an anti-Semitic site from results for the term “Jew." In January, 2007, Google’s own Webmaster blog discussed how algorithm changes would reduce their effectiveness.  Granted, Google’s explanation about what they changed was as clear as mud, but this is a topic they themselves addressed, and they even asking users to voice concerns or report suspected bombs at their Web Search Help Group.

Four years later, and despite Google’s algorithm alterations, Googlebombs are still an effective way to get your message across. 

Who knows?  Maybe they abandoned their previous algorithm alterations in favor of punishing content farms.

Of couse, Googlebombs don’t exactly work that quickly, so no, that’s not what happened.  Either those algorithm changes weren’t as effective; or, the more likely scenario, those who executed the “abortion/murder” bomb were a little more savvy than their predecessors.  If quality links are preferred over a brute force-like backlink overload, perhaps these bombers spent some time improving the quality of their individual sites before ganging up on Google’s susceptible algorithm.

Whatever the strategy used to get the “abortion” search result ranked higher, now that Reddit is involved, it’s doubtful it will end here.  The question is, how long before Google steps in and declares — again — that Googlebombs will no longer be an effective tool for manipulating their rankings?

Considering the nuclear blast they just directed at content farms, Google’s almost required to address this situation, too.