SEO

This day in search marketing history: January 25

Google defuses ‘miserable failure’ Google bomb

In 2007, Google finally defused a “Google Bomb” that had returned U.S. President George W. Bush as its top organic result since December 2003 when searching for [miserable failure].

Originally, Google was of the belief that “We just reflect the opinion on the Web, for better or worse.” Eventually, however, Google came up with an algorithm change to deal with this and other Google bombing “pranks”:

“People have asked about how we feel about Googlebombs, and we have talked about them in the past. Because these pranks are normally for phrases that are well off the beaten path, they haven’t been a very high priority for us. But over time, we’ve seen more people assume that they are Google’s opinion, or that Google has hand-coded the results for these Googlebombed queries. That’s not true, and it seemed like it was worth trying to correct that misperception. So a few of us who work here got together and came up with an algorithm that minimizes the impact of many Googlebombs.”

Ryan Moulton and Kendra Carattini, A quick word about Googlebombs

How did this Google bomb happen? A campaign encouraged people to link to Bush’s bio using the anchor text “Miserable Failure”.

And while Google defused this bomb, Bush remained in the top organic position for [miserable failure] on Yahoo and Microsoft Live and in second position at Ask.

Read all about it in Google Kills Bush’s Miserable Failure Search & Other Google Bombs and Happy First Birthday, Google Bomb Fix!

Here was the before and after at the time:

Today, here’s what a search for [miserable failure] looks like on Google – with Wikipedia’s Google bombing page in the top spot.

Also on this day 

Google kills FLoC, introduces Topics API as its next-gen targeting tech

2022: The Topics API would select topics of interest (based on the user’s browsing history), without involving external servers, and share those topics with participating sites.

tCPA may not be going away (yet), but it should: Why it’s time to embrace value-based bidding

2022: A Google Ads video “Expert Series: Welcome to 2022” had many confused as to the future of non-value bidding strategies with unflattering and cryptic mentions about the popular bid type.

Google’s alternative to third-party cookies open for advertiser testing in Q2 2021

2021: And FLoC would die a year later.

Google adds price drop appearance rich results to search results

2021: Google automatically calculated the price drop based on changes to structured data over time.

Video: Dawn Beobide on the importance of training your developers on SEO

2021: In this installment of Barry Schwartz’s vlog series, he chatted with Beobide about properly sharing the importance of SEO, and building a good relationship with, your developers.

Mueller previews Google image search changes, old Search Console sunsetting at NYC meetup.

2019: Plus, Google was working on switching remaining sites to mobile-first indexing.

Pummeling users with Google remarketing ads they don’t want to see? Now they can mute those, too

2018: Google announced more options for users to control the kinds of ads they see. 

Google Search Console’s remove URL report might not work for a short period of time

2018: Google wasupgrading the report.

Marin: Search CPCs outpaced spend growth in Q4 2017

2018: Mobile search click costs increased by 25% year over year.

Virginia Woolf Google doodle honors iconic author of classics ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ & ‘A Room of One’s Own’

2018: The doodle featured the author’s familiar profile.

Google’s 2016 Bad Ads Report: 1.7 billion ads removed, including fake news ads

2018: Efforts to crack down on payday loan ads, ads that look like system errors and “tabloid cloaking” ads were among those that led to an increase in removed ads in 2016.

Google My Business revamps photo management for Google Maps listings

2018: Google wanted to make it easier for business owners to manage their photos within Google My Business.

A Year Later, Google’s Block Sites Feature Remains Blocked

2013: Google said there was no time frame for when or if it would be restored.

Search In Pics: Brin On NYC Subway, Google+ On Who Wants to Be a Millionaire & Android Train

2013: The latest images showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more.

Google Changes Definition Of Average Search Ranking Position

2012: In the past, they would take all the positions of your rankings and average them together. That changed to averaging only the top positions.

Google Revamps Submit Content Page

2012: Google updated its URL submission tool page and redesigned its Submit Your Content page.

WSJ: Federal Prisoner Helped U.S. Sting Against Google’s Pharmacy Ads

2012: Google had to pay $500 million after acknowledging that it both allowed and helped Canadian pharmacies sell drugs in the U.S. in violation of federal law.

Emergency In Your Area? “Public Alerts” On Google Maps Shows Warnings

2012: Google would show emergency alerts in your area on the map, with more details on the alert.

DuckDuckGo Sets New Traffic Record, But Stats Show How Dominant Google, Others Are

2012: DuckDuckGo reached 700,000+ queries in a day for the first two times.

Yahoo Beats Expectations with Weak $1.5B Revenues, But Display Up 17 Percent

2011: CEO Carol Bartz called the revenues “encouraging.” 

Google Buys Twitter Sentiment Analyzer fflick To Support “Contextual Discovery”

2011: The fflick service analyzed and organized comments about movies.

US Twitter Users Spending More Time Than Ever On Twitter.com, Report Says

2011: But the report also cautioned that overall visits to Twitter were down.

Browsers To Offer Official Behavioral Targeting Blocking

2011: Google released a new Chrome extension named Keep My Opt-Outs. Firefox was working on a solution for a new version of Firefox.

Google Acquires SayNow

2011: SayNow was a platform that allowed voice messaging, one-on-one conversations, and group calls to be instantly integrated into Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Android, or iPhone applications.

Google Promotes Boost To All Of U.S., Mobile Devices

2011: Google’s simpler AdWords program, Boost, got its national roll-out, after a three-month test period.

Google To Hire 6,000 Plus, While Yahoo Cuts Additional 1%

2011: Google was primed for its biggest hiring year in company history.

And The Academy Awards Oscar Nomination Goes To … Google & Bing!

2011: Both search engines listed news about the awards at the top of the page. 

Google Voice Number Porting Now Available

2011: It took 24 hours and cost $20.

My Life With Google Voice Number Porting, Six Months In

2011: The experience was largely good. Plus, some thoughts on how this gave Android an added boost ahead of Verizon’s iPhone launch. 

December 2010: Search Engine Land’s Most Popular Stories

Some SEO Advice For Bill Gates

2010: What could you give to the richest person in the world? Some free SEO advice for his new blog.

Like Ballmer, Bill Gates Dings Google On China

2010: “They’ve done nothing and gotten a lot of credit for it.”

Twitter Testing Local Trends

2010: The local trends version showed you what tweet topics were hot and trending on Twitter by region, country and city

Dress Up Ask Jeeves In The UK

2010: Ask UK had a new game where you could dress up the lovable Jeeves character.

Factery Labs’ New Fact Engine: Just What Real-Time Search Needs

2010: Factery Labs surfaced the facts behind the day’s trending news.

No Feed, No Problem – Google Reader Now Tracks (Mostly) Any Website Change

2010: Google Reader would periodically visit a page and publish any significant changes it found as items in a custom feed created just for that page.

Science Fiction Writer Le Guin Launches Petition Against Google Book Settlement As Opt-Out Deadline Looms

2010: Exempting the US would essentially have rendered the settlement meaningless. 

Confirmed: Google Domain Park To Cease Ads On Domain Kiting Sites

2008: Google began preventing “domain tasting” (the practice of trying out a domain name for a 5 day-period) from participating in the AdSense for Domains (aka Domain Park) program.

Survey Says: Search Right Behind Email Marketing In Best-Performing Category

2008: 80% said email marketing performs strongly for their company, with search right behind at 70.6%.

Google AdWords Won’t Allow Personal Attacks On Politicians

2008: Political ads could neither include accusations or attacks relating to an individual’s personal life, nor advocate against a protected group.

Will Google Suffer In A Recession?

2008: The answer appeared to be “no.”

New: Real-Time Google Maps Edits In New Edits Viewer

2008: You could watch the edits made to Google Maps in a live viewer.

Microsoft Earnings Soar, Gates Calls For More Help To Poor

2008: However, in the “online services” division, which housed search and adCenter, there was a loss of $245 million on increased revenues of $863 million.

Doerr And Moritz: A Tale Of Two (Very Wealthy) Google Investors

2008: Both of these men got fabulously rich off their Google shares – likely north of $800 million apiece.

Search in Pictures: Google Cake, Banana Room, Kate Nash @ Yahoo

2008: The latest images showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more.

Google Video Search Now Includes YouTube Results

2007: Searches returned many results from YouTube.

Google To Share Bugs & Bombs At Google Testing Blog

2007: Google would be sharing their debugging and testing experiences with the public.

Fox Subpoenas Google’s YouTube For Identity Of User Who Uploaded “24” Video

2007: The premiere was reportedly posted prior to the live airing of the show.

Google AdSense Tests New Features: My Publishers, Ad Placement & Message Inbox

2007: My Publishers tab, ad placement and a message inbox.

Speculation: The Google Search Results Page With Google Video Ads

2007: A funny mock up of what it would look like if Google added their Google Video ads to the Google search results page.

From Search Marketing Expo (SMX)

Past contributions from Search Engine Land’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

These columns are a snapshot in time and have not been updated since publishing, unless noted. Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

< January 24 | Search Marketing History | January 26 >

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About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin is Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & SMX. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for Search Engine Land, Goodwin also manages Search Engine Land’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo.

Prior to joining Search Engine Land, Goodwin was Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He also was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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