Exploring Keywords And Google Bombs
In this article, we are going to look at a critical concept, one that I feel is
really more important than PageRank for all the fuss that is made over the
PageRank algorithm. We are going to discuss the importance of putting keywords
into your link's anchor texts. The fact is you can have high
PageRank pages, but
if they are not well optimized, they still won't rank well, and keywords in
links are part of the optimization process in a sense.
PageRank Does Not Determine Rankings
There is no direct correlation between Rank and PageRank. Clearly,
else is going on. PageRank is used as a tiebreaker. The page has to be a good
match for a search query before PageRank ever comes into play.
Put Keywords In Your Anchor Text
So now we are going to look at an off-page optimization technique; a very
powerful, yet very simple way to use links to make your pages match search
queries. Quite simply, you put the keywords you want to rank well for into the
anchor text that the link is pointing at your site. The search engines look at
the anchor text to get an idea of what the reference page is all about. If
Google, for instance, finds the words olive oil in a link, you can be pretty
sure that the reference page is not about oral surgery or soccer. It makes
perfect sense that the reference page should have something to do with olive
You know this from your own experience; the text in links is usually closely
associated with the subject matter of the reference page. It's such a simple
thing, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Words in the links
can be generally speaking one of two things.
- They can be calls to actions such as click here or click this link or
- They can be the name of the website or the company that owns the
Tell The Search Engines What You Are About
The link text can be a URL, that's common in many directories or listings of
websites. Or they can be words that are somehow related to what the reference
page is about. So it makes perfect sense that Google and all other major
engines should examine links for clues about the subject matter of the reference
page, because they can often find really strong clues.
If a search engine sees a company name in the link, it's fair to assume that
the reference page has something to do with that company. If the link contains
the words training videos, it's reasonable for it to believe the page has
something to do with training videos.
And if Google sees dozens or hundreds of
links with the words training videos pointing to that page, it's convinced and
it figures that the page is one that many people think is a good match for the
phrase training videos.
Website Owners Vote
The search engine has in effect recruited website owners to help it find a
match for the phrase. Even if the search engine sees a call to action, it's
going to associate the page with that call to action. Here's a perfect example.
What happens if you search Google for the phrase click here? At or near the top,
you'll find the Adobe Reader download page. Open that page and search the source
code for the phrase click here. You won't find it.
This page is a truly terrible match for the phrase, except for the hundreds
of thousands of pages around the web saying something like, if you need to
download Adobe Reader, click here. This is a great example of what has become
known as a Google bomb. A Google bomb is created by linking to a specific web
page using a particular keyword phrase often for political or humorous purposes.
Famous Google Bomb
Sometimes it's used to associate an unpleasant or insulting phrase with a
particular person. The most famous example was the "miserable failure" of a
Google bomb in 2003 when a few score links and blogs managed to associate the
phrase "miserable failure" with George Bush's resume on the
Again, the page was a terrible match as neither word appeared anywhere in the
text. Google somehow fixed it four years later, so that "miserable failure" no
longer puts George Bush in the number one spot. But this Google bomb still works
on Yahoo! and Bing. You see, Google bombs are a function of the way all major
search engines read links, so they don't function only on Google. We don't know
for sure how Google stopped the "miserable failure" Google bomb. They claimed it
wasn't a manual fix, but that they changed the algorithm to stop it from
Looks Donít Count
Regardless, Google bombs are alive and well and if you stop thinking of them as
a mere trick, you'll realize they are a technique. Your task is to
your own site with the keywords for which you want to rank well, but following
the Google guidelines. One of the most common questions I get from new
consulting clients is why their competitors are ranking higher than them? Often
I'll see that a client's website is much better optimized, yet there is this
other poorly optimized often ugly site ranking higher.
Keyword Rich Anchor Text Is The Key
What it means is you want to make sure that many of the links pointing to your
site have useful anchor texts, not just your company name, unless that is what
you are trying to rank for. It should not merely be your URL or a call to action
such as "click here," but keywords you want to rank highly for. Incidentally,
this works not only for links pointing to your site from elsewhere, but also for
links within your own site. Even within your site, the search engines look at
the keyword text to figure out what a page is about.
Of course, you have much more control over your own links and external links,
so don't forget to use plenty of keyword rich links in your own pages.
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