Bush No Longer a Miserable Failure, Claims Google

You can make up your own mind, however.

It’s a shame, really, because I told the "Miserable Failure" story time and again to explain to people the power of incoming links.

The story goes like this: [up until a few days ago] if you Googled "miserable failure" the first result was George W. Bush’s bio page on the White House Web site. Now, you can be sure the words "miserable failure" never appeared on that page. So how would it rank #1 for that phrase?

A critical mass of Web site owners critical of Bush linked the words "miserable failure" from their Web sites to W’s bio at whitehouse.gov. Because Google looks at the words in a link to help determine what the lined page is about, this helped W’s bio rank first for "miserable failure."

For example, if I wanted flyte’s site to rank well for Maine Web Design or Maine Web Designer, not only would I want to include those phrases on my site, I’d like to get incoming links that used those phrases…like I just did. 😉

If you get enough people to exploit that feature of Google’s algorithm–the mathematical equation that determines how relevant a page is to a given search–you can create what’s known as a "Google Bomb."

However, Google just updated their algorithm to reduce the chances that a Google Bomb will work, and sure enough, George W. is no longer the number one result for "miserable failure."

This doesn’t diminish the power of quality incoming links, since that’s at the heart of Google’s algorithm; instead, it just reigns [thanks, Mom!] reins in the abuses.

I have heard people say that Google is just caving, and that Googling "great president" still brings up W’s bio page as the first result. I don’t think so.

From a political perspective–which I don’t believe is guiding Google’s latest algorithm change–why would you stop kicking W now? His popularity is at a low ebb, if not at an all-time low.

From a SEO perspective let’s remember that this page has a great PageRank (9), in no small part because of all the "miserable failure" links! Also, the word "president" appears 25 times (as of this writing) on the page, including in the page title and 66 times in the source code. "Great" doesn’t currently appear on the page, but appears twice in the code. (It looks like the Web developer commented out two places where the word great appeared that were no longer relevant.)

If I were to take away a lesson from just this one example, it would be that the page itself has to be "in on the joke" for a Google Bomb to work. In other words, external forces alone will no longer have enough power to vault a page to the number one spot; the page itself must provide relevant results. And isn’t that the goal?

To learn more check out the post on the official Google blog.

Rich Brooks
God Like Physique with Brains and Hair to Match