Google bombing is a term that we go into in our SEO Glossary and essentially describes a practice by which a specific web page is targeted to rank in the top position of the search engine results page (SERP) for a particular keyword.
Once the Google bomb is successfully denoted (allow me to drag out this metaphor a sentence longer), humorous or controversial results are brought up when that search term is typed in.
This is done by adding a vast amount of links to the desired page, using the correct anchor text to increase the chance of it ranking in 1st position. The results are often funny, sometimes controversial, and other times just downright strange. In 2021, Google bombs are a lot harder to do thanks in part to a more sophisticated algorithm and more focus on trolling people, or stirring up controversy, on social media.
However, saying that, there are still instances to this day of light Google bombing (type ‘idiot’ into Google image search and see what comes up. Spoiler: pictures of a very angry, tanned, former President appear).
In this blog, we’re going to be looking back at 3 of the most famous/infamous Google bombs that caused quite a stir, especially in the pre-social media age (if only they knew how bad things were going to get in the online world!).
Your ‘Find Chuck Norris’ search returned no results
There are plenty of memes, jokes, and general tomfoolery surrounding the red-headed hardman but this simple and effective Google bomb took things to a new level.
Lord knows why you’d ever want to find/confront Chuck Norris but if you woke up one morning and felt brave enough to, you can type in ‘Find Chuck Norris’. If you do that and hit ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’, you’ll be taken to a website that is designed to look like a SERP that simply says: “Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you.”
- Run, before he finds you.
- Try a different person.
- Try someone less dangerous”
The site was set up by Norris enthusiast Arran Schlosberg and while he is joking, it doesn’t mean that page speaks the truth.
Don’t. Look. For. Chuck.
In around early 2007, typing ‘Dangerous cult’ into Google would bring up Scientology’s main website as the number one search result. Now, whatever your thoughts are on the rather sensitive church that boasts a-list members such as Tom Cruise, you have to admit that this a prime example of a Google bomb (or was it an example of it getting cleverer? The jury may be out on that one still).
In the middle of 2021, typing this same phrase returns no such web pages anymore. Instead, you receive links to news articles about dangerous cults all around the world.
For more on Scientology, may I recommend Louis Theroux’s insightful documentary ‘My Scientology Movie’? It’s certainly eye-opening and will teach you a lot about this organisation.
George Bush’s Unnatural Link Profile
We’ll end on probably the most famous Google bomb to have ever been set off in the online world. One that targeted the then most powerful man on the planet.
For three full years, if you typed in ‘miserable failure’ into the search bar, the 43rd President’s official White House biography was the top result in the SERP. It’s incredible really that it took Google three years to take this jibe at George Bush down, but it did and while there were probably a few more things that Bush was fretting about at the time (see: The Iraq War) it’s never nice to have your life story literally linked to being a miserable failure.
Ironically, if you type that same phrase into Google, you get taken to the Wikipedia page for Google bombing. A lasting legacy, or a thorn in the Bush’s? We’ll let you decide.
If you’re a business owner who wants to be found for the right terms then why not get in touch with our SEO and Content teams at Embryo? Based in Manchester, we can help your business grow and ensure it is found for keywords that will increase your revenue.