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“Make Money Online” link bomb defused?

If you read my previous post advising John to change his link-building strategy, then you won’t be surprised to learn that John Chow is no longer ranking on the first page for the term “make money online“.

On January this year, Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land, reported that Google had devised an algorithm to catch “link bombs” – a common practice consisting on having many sites link to yours with a particular target phrase in their link text.

SEOs had a great deal of success with this particular link bomb regarding David Colbert: “The greatest living American”, and it took Google a couple of weeks to defuse it.

This is Google’s official response to “link bombs”, written by Google Search Evangelist Adam Lasnik (source: searchengineland.com,):

“Our effort to defuse Googlebombs continues to be purely algorithmic. We do not make manual changes. We prefer to tune these algorithms to avoid all false positives in exchange for less immediacy and slightly less thoroughness in catching all Google bombs.”

I wasn’t really sure if I understood the last part, did this mean that Google knew the link bomb fix wouldn’t catch ALL bombs in order to avoid having their filters exclude helpful uses of anchor text? Adam replied:

“Correct. We don’t want to impact situations with search results that may be associated with, say, breaking news events… things that have nothing to do with groups of folks (however playfully) attempting to game search results.”

Luckily for John, this ranking only represented about 150 visitors per day to his blog which receives several thousand visitors daily. Anyhow, he decided to stop the “review me for a link” campaign. It’s too bad Google spoiled all the fun.

This highlights the importance of having a diverse marketing mix and not to rely solely on search engines for your traffic.