Google Bombing: its terrible effect on brands and public figures

You may have searched your name on the Internet to see what came up. It stands to reason that if you have social networks, you'll also find news links if you've ever been featured in the press, or any public work you did at university. This practice is known as egosurfingwhich we have already talked about in our blog.

But What would you have to search for in Google in order for your name or your website to appear in the search suggestions?

For example, if you are an expert in a particular subject or sector, it is possible that when you search for something related to that, you will appear.

The problem arises when Google suggests your name or your website when something negative is typed into the search engine. This happens when a person is a victim of Google Bombing.

What is Google bombing?

It is a technique that consists of force certain web pages to appear among Google's first search options.

Main objectives of Google bombing

There are usually two main objectives:

  • Media manipulation. With the aim of changing the image on a person (usually people with a certain influence) or tarnish its reputation.   
  • Anti-competition campaigns. So that your company is better positioned in Google compared to your competitors. For example, with a fake negative reviews campaign.

How is Google bombing carried out?

While SEO aims to organically position a website through positive keywords, Google Bombing is the opposite, i.e. linking the website to negative keywords.

Unnatural links are created on a massive scale by spamdexing techniques. Basically, the HTML is deliberately modified so that Google will rank that result higher in searches.

This activity is not so easily detected, as Google does not index it immediately. Moreover, it is not easy to reach the originating web pages until the content is indexed. Google needs some time to locate it. This process can take days, weeks or even months.

Once done, if the person who has done it has left a trail, the origin of the campaign could be found.

Nowadays, there are specific tools to find out what has been written about us or our brand. And to disavow links to our websites.  

Problems that arise

Search engines have no responsibility for this and, moreover, freedom of expression usually prevails.

Although we can stop our page from being associated with another page and stop certain links from going to them, we cannot act on their content.So what could the victims do, could they take legal action, what responsibility does Google have in all this?

As mentioned above, the search engine is not responsible. In certain cases, it is possible to find the source of the attack using SEO tools, contact the person responsible for the website and request the removal of the content if it infringes the rights of the third party and even take legal action against the author.

Actions to counter Google bombing

To combat these malpractices, Google periodically alters the algorithm. In addition, affected companies often turn to specialised agencies, which create contingency strategies. They also help prevent brands from future crises affecting their reputation and activity.  

At summaryThe Google bombing technique aims to manipulate and tarnish the image of a public figure or brand, through links that are generated en masse in order to show certain pages in the first search results associated with negative keywords. The search engines are not responsible for this practice, although the algorithm has been modified to make it difficult to carry out.

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