Welcome to our new blog series – Google Updates for Webmasters. These weekly posts will provide a quick review on developments that can impact your website’s success in the king of search engines – Google.
In this week’s update, we discuss Google’s work around Googlebombs as recently covered by Matt Cutts, and provide some insight into the Badware Warnings that Google is presenting in their search results.
As ominous as the name is, Googlebombs (or linkbombs as they are referred to when not in conjunction with Google) are not as serious to website owners as they might sound. They are pranks where people try to make other websites rank for meaningless or totally obscure search terms or keywords.
While not overly prevalent, Googlebombs do work against Google’s commitment to relevant results. As Matt Cutts put it in his post:
“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.”
Google have released a revised algorithm that should reduce the impact of such queries, but as with all computer driven processes, there is still the risk that the occasional prank will make it into the results. If you see one, Google are accepting feedback via Google Web Search Help Group.
In response to concerns from webmasters regarding malware warnings on their listings in Google’s search results, Phil Harton has provided some background information in the Google Webmaster Central blog.
The Badware Warnings are aimed at reducing the risk to searchers of being directed to websites that compromise the users’ computer security. If you think your website has been flagged, or would like to check its status, you can do so by setting up an account at Google Webmaster Tools. Within your account, a warning will be provided if your website has been flagged as Badware.
Cleaning your website of any malicious software is not usually as simple as fixing a bit of code, but Google are looking to provide additional information for website owners who have fallen victim to such security breaches. The challenge being to avoid giving malicious website owners the information needed to avoid Google’s detection software.
If you feel you have been flagged unfairly, you can appeal your Badware status by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.