Another “Google Bomb” has hit an American President, this time associating Barack Obama with the word ‘failure’.
Google took action in early 2007 to change the results page, when one of the first high profile Google bombs returned George Bush’s official Whitehouse page as the first result for searches for “miserable failure”.
A Google bomb is defined as an attempt to raise the ranking of a given page in results from a Google search, “often with humorous or political intentions.”
Using Search engine optimisation techniques and a steely determination, the Google algorithm can be fooled temporarily into prominently ranking such high profile pages for terms that have nothing to do with them. Such pages will already have a very high pagerank based on their high profile content and are ranked quickly for unrelated terms by being associated with the Google bomber’s chosen search term in the anchor text of links to the site.
The image below shows Barack Obama’s official Whitehouse page ranking at #1 for “wh0 is failure”. While Google took steps to remove the Presidential page from “failure” searches, it appears that some variations of the search are still getting through the filter. In Obama’s defence, it is possible that, as the incumbent, he has inherited the ranking from the previous Google bombing of George Bush depending on how it was targeted rather than being the target of a new campaign.