How a Search Engine Might Fight Googlebombing

The first known appearance of the phrase “googlebomb” showed up in an article by Adam Mathes in the online magazie uber.nu, in a request to help pull a joke on a friend of his, by making the friend’s website rank highly for the term “talentless hack.”

You’ve possibly noticed that some pages rank well in Google search results for terms of phrases that don’t actually appear on those pages, because other pages link to those pages using those words as the text that accompanies those links. For example, search for “click here” and the top search result at Google is the Adobe Reader download page, which is linked to by millions of links across the Web using “click here” as a link to the page.

I’ve used the phrase “Googlebomb” in this post, but this is something that happens at Yahoo and Bing as well. Given enough links from enough pages using the same text pointing to a specific page, and there’s a chance that the page being linked to might rank very well in search results from any of the major search engines, even if the content of the page has nothing to do with the text in those links.

Usually, when people link to pages, the text used in those links if often descriptive of what people might find at the pages being linked to. This can help a search engine understand what the page being pointed to is about. Search engines have been associating the text in links to the pages that they refer to since the early days of the Web. As Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page note in one of the first white papers about Google, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine, the idea is something that they incorporated in Google, but it didn’t start with them:

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Favorite SEO by the Sea Posts from 2010

I took a look back at the posts here from 2010, and tried to decide which ones stood out for me in some way. These are some of my favorites from last year:

Web Self-Help for Small Business

This post was inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s self help approach, and a look back at when I first started building and promoting web pages as an inhouse webmaster and SEO. In addition to the 13 areas that I choose to concentrate upon to become a better webmaster/SEO, there were a lot of good suggestions in the comments that follow the post.

Having Fun with -Onyms in Keyword Research

Keyword research can be a chore, but it can be pretty interesting as well. This post is about some of the methods that I use to expand my choices of keywords as I do research.

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Who are You Going to Trust Today: Microsoft’s Reputation Mashup

Mention the term “trusted computing” in the halls of Microsoft ten years ago, and you were probably talking about the connections between computers on a network, and their ability to communicate with each other. Today, the networking you might be talking about could as easily involve people and businesses connecting through computers on the Web.

A screenshot of a control panel showing reputation data for someone who has made an invitation to connect on a social network.

A Microsoft patent application published yesterday describes a system which could aggregate information from a wide variety of resources, and mash them together for others to view before they make an online purchase, or agree to connect to someone they don’t know over a social network.

This reputation mashup system could enable people about to make an online purchase to learn more about a vendor, such as endorsements from past buyers, reviews from sites and systems that rate merchants, and other aggregated reputation data.

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Twitter Acquisitions

Twitter has been the focus of a number of acquisition talks over the past couple of years, usually as the target of an acquisition by a Google or Microsoft or Yahoo or Facebook.

Twitter has made a few acquisitions of its own, and I was trying, without much success, to find a list of the companies that it purchased, either for the technology that they offered, or for the people that they employed.

Twitter has blogged about the majority of acquisitions it has made, though not all. It’s possible that there are other companies that were purchased by Twitter that I wasn’t able to locate any information on. If you know about any, and you’re so inclined, please let me know about them.

Here are the Twitter Acquisitions that I was able to find:

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A Google Like Button: Adsense for Social Network Sharers?

A Google patent application published last week describes how Google might enable visitors to websites to share information that they’ve found with others on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. In some ways, it seems like a response to the Facebook Like Button.

The patent filing is fairly long and detailed, but many of the ideas it presents can be gleaned from the images accompanying the patent itself, like this overview flowchart:

An overview of the sharing process from Google, which shows how information from third party websites might be shared on social sites

The patent application is:

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