Monday, July 19th, 2010

Google Bombing of “Holy See” Upsets Vatican


Remember the good old days of Google Bombing? Back when George W Bush’s bio page at the White House was ranked #1 for “miserable failure”? Well, this is something we haven’t seen for a while, and it is largely thought that this practice would no longer work, but  as the Vatican reported to Google a few days ago, it still does.

A search for “Holy See” now brings up the Vatican’s website in the first spot at Google, just as it always has, but for a brief period, the religious site was overtaken by a site on pedophilia! It appears that used Google bombing to jump to the first position in Google. A representative from the Vatican contacted Google and ultimately the offending site was removed from the search results (it also appears to be offline at the time of this writing).

“Google Bombing” was the practice of directing a massive amount of links towards a single page with a specific unrelated keyword phrase. The large number of links would then in turn cause the page to rank for that irrelevant phrase. Google was to have taken care of this problem years ago, but because of the strong role that links play on search rankings, the practice is, and likely always will be, a possibility on some level if done correctly.

2 Responses to “Google Bombing of “Holy See” Upsets Vatican”

  1. Andrea Vit

    I’m sorry, but it’s not Google Bombing…

  2. Scott

    An Andrea, Thanks for your comment.

    At the time when I wrote this post, the site that took over the first place ranking was returning a 404 error, so I had no means to analyze that site to see if there were other factors involved to get it ranking. Certainly it is possible that it was heavily optimized on-site, but based on the information I had at-hand (including several other blog posts and news stories) I can only assume that most were correct.

    Assuming that it was not heavily optimized, then the only plausible reason for its rankings would be massive quantities of links – hence the “google bombing” assumption.

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