It's not everyday that three internet marketing areas/practices converge. It's also not everyday that attempting to "Google Bomb" your competition makes the front page of MSNBC.com. However, those two facts noted, take note that this year's political season is anything but normal. With the Republicans running scared and the Democrats rubbing their hands in utter glee as each foible is uncovered and hashed out in the headlines, this latest tidbit of front page news can make a search marketer wonder how this will end up affecting our industry AFTER the 2006 election.
So what three areas of Internet Marketing are affected here? Search (Natural to be exact), Blogging and Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) have all converged at a crossroads all spearheaded by political bloggers (both right and left, liberal and conservative, republican and democrat - pick your poison, they pretty much are all synonmous). Just what are they planning? Remember "Miserable Failure" Google Bombing? Well think of something like this for other candidates.
So how are the three areas converging? Well politcal bloggers (Blogosphere) are all trying to have their opposing candidate appear in search results (Search Marketing) for links to negative stories. This is being spread by other bloggers of like mind (Word of Mouth Marketing), as well as opposing bloggers attempting to "fight fire with fire", thus it's even got the attention of mainstream news.
To search marketing professionals, Google bombing is nothing new. In fact Wikipedia even has a definition of "Google Bomb":
"A Google bomb or Googlewash is Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to influence the ranking (called PageRank) of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine, often with humorous or political intentions. Because of the way that Google's algorithm works, a page will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page use consistent anchor text. A Google bomb is created if a large number of sites link to the page in this manner."
Knowing how the search engines work, and being in the industry as long as I have, I wonder truly, how effective this is going to be with less than 2 weeks to go until election day? I really don't see how this tactic is going to affect the search results in time for people searching for information on candidates for the election. People are searching for information NOW, not on the day of the election - which, by any slim chance MIGHT appear in two weeks (if they are good and have a bit of luck).
The "Miserable Failure" Google Bomb worked because it was over time that these "negative" links were acquired (BTW, Jimmy Carter also comes up as #2 for the term show right along with "W"). We're talking months and months, not two weeks. Unfortunately for these bloggers, they are going to find the affects of their efforts won't work until well AFTER November 7th. That's the problem here - they don't understand the "tools" that they are trying to utilize. Had they really understood the nature of search marketing and started this around primary season - they could have more of a chance to affect search results as they are hoping to now.