Was the Google result for “english person” a prank or was it simply an error in the Google algorithm? Read on to find out why many, including The Huffington Post, were wrong about this one. This is an update to my original post which can be found here. Google has now manually removed the Wikipedia result.
There have been many manipulations of Google search results by pranksters and of course SEO is at it´s core an intentional manual attempt to make a page rank for specific words.
The Google Bomb
Why This Was Not A Google Bomb
No one was linking the words english person to the wikipedia entry. There are several tools on the web that can show you which other websites are linking to a page. Here are some of the free tools available:
Anchor Text and Google
Google bombing is actually harder than ever now because too many links with the same anchor text instantly incur a penalty to the website. Especially if these links are of questionable quality.
But have Google shot themselves in the foot with this one? By moving away from anchor text relevance they have opened up Pandora´s Box and we might start seeing a lot more strange results similar to what happened with “english person”. You also have to wonder if search quality hasn´t been compromised. With Google´s results questionably being worse and Bing´s better are we going to witness a change in search engine dominance soon? Siri uses several search engines including Bing and Wolfram Alpha to try to find the best result (which might not be Google´s). What if other devices and browsers began using similar search aggregators? Where would that leave Google?