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I'm probably going to get nailed from both sides of the political spectrum for this post, but I like my Google results to be as pure as possible....


Last weekend a left-wing liberal blogger (you know the kind) who Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the CT Senate Primary, posted his strategy for "Google Bombing" search results of Republican candidates and then combining it with a Google AdWords campaign. The plan is to have people link to negative articles about these Republican candidates so that these articles appeared #1 in the natural search results.
Not to be outdone, some right-wing conservative bloggers decided to fight fire with fire and try the exact same tactics on the Democratic opponents.
Unfortunately search children, Google doesn't work like that anymore, with 15 days or so left in the election. You don't have enough time and linking is not the sole strategy in an SEO campaign for having your page rank so high. There are techniques to combat this which do NOT include trying to alter the natural results, but of course, I can not divulge them because we have already implemented them for clients long before the call to Google Bomb came out.
The most famous example of course is the Google search results for miserable failure. President George W. Bush is the #1 result followed by President Jimmy Carter. But besides that, what is interesting is that the top sponsored search is from Google for explaining these results and the #3 position is from a SEO company for optimization techniques (nice placement). Google's explanation includes calling these people pranksters, that they are reluctant to alter results like this, and they don't believe it alters the overall quality, whose objectivity remains their core mission.
That explanation from Google seems pretty decent when they were a small cute company, but not any more. The results that they deliver on search should be as pure as possible and when a group of thugs, not pranksters, wants to hold my search results hostage for their own political gains that alters Google objectivity.
Sure maybe a few examples Google doesn't mind, but what happens if thousands of people get together and decided to alter results on every political candidate? Shouldn't Google pay attention then? Isn't this their product and shouldn't they try to protect their brand? If people think they can alter results and game the system, then why would advertisers want to pay for altered results?
It seems to me that when people get together and bomb Google's results, that they are doing more than just pushing their own views on people. They are damaging Google's brand and reputation and that demands a response from Google. If nothing else, this is the worst form of link baiting* and the architects of the Google Bombing effort for the 2006 mid-term election deserve link baiting punishment. I want my Google results clean and objective and so should Google.
PardonMyFrench,
Eric
* BTW if you are keeping score at home, Google Bombing and Link Baiting are not exactly the same tactic, but both are a result of a linking strategy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Frenchman is an online marketing and advertising consultant located in the Great State of New Jersey and Chief Internet Strategist for the online political agency Connell Donatelli Inc. Since 1998, Eric has managed multi-million dollar online advertising and CRM campaigns for AT&T, DLJdirect, Harrisdirect, and BMO Investorline and is a recognized expert in online marketing and advertising techniques. In 2005, Harrisdirect was ranked as the 17th largest online advertiser in the US and in 2003 was recognized as Best Financial Advertiser. Eric Frenchman's marketing blog is located here: http://www.ericfrenchman.com