GoogleBowling - The Nasty Business of Link Sabotage

Source Title:
You have heard of GoogleBombs? Now here is GoogleBowling
Story Text:

Chris points to this TW thread where Terry coins the phrase "GoogleBowling" - How to sabotage competitor sites with nasty link campaigns...

In light of what we've seen recently with Google's shift in algorithm, it does now appear, that the once unthinkable is now possible: You can sabotage your competitors by linking to them...

For years Google have told us that it's not possible for incoming links to hurt you, or at least that's the impression i remember from reading about it often enough, but this appears to be no longer the case. And SEO's are wondering when they'll start getting calls asking them to sabotage websites, rather than help websites rank.

It's a nasty business...


Bowling for Googles

As I write this there are no results in either Google or Yahoo for "googlebowling".


> And SEO's are wondering when they'll start getting calls asking them to sabotage websites, rather than help websites rank.

I already know of at least one case where one firm unknowingly knocked a competing site out of the index.

I have been asked all ready

got email for a very aggresive link campaign, and having over 500,000 links available i think that would hurt...

btw i was offered 25K for 1 month



Heaven help you if you sell in affiliate heavy sector without a "hired gun" at your disposal.


the crappy thing is this sets up sites to rank really well in Yahoo and MSN while taking them out of Google. What if you could link bomb ebay, walmart, target, amazon and other big name store sites out of the Google index. That would make Google pretty much useless for shopping and people would go else where. Now multiply the attack to other industries like real estate, mortgages, gambling, dating and so on...

This is why I'm not convinced that it's 100% pure linktext bombing. There has to be something else we're not seeing yet. What it is, who the hell knows. We need more heavy link sites like seoinc and seo-guy to drop out of the serps for us to really trend something, and then again it's all theory until G comes out and says here is the formula.

Hell it could even be G screwing around. Lets penalize for link pop, let everyone believe that it's the colprit then 2 months from now when all the false backlinking gets run out of the system we'll flip the switch back to normal so the playing field is level again then let the algo do it's job.

I don't envy them at the moment

I don't actually see how the SE's can drop the over-SEO'd sites without hurting genuine ones badly to be honest, at least as long as they stick purely to an algo-based system.

And if we're about to go down the kill your competition route I hope they can introduce some way of letting you see more accurately what links are being counted - it'll be hard to do something if you do suddenly discover someones pointed Daves links at you, but at least you know. If a link check still shows 100 links from people you know about you're not going to have a chance in hell of finding out what's happened even after the event.


This could get ugly in a hurry.

Added - Linking to the Googlebowling page for kicks...


No doubt you've heard of Google Bombing, or using anchor text to manipulate search engine results to cause a page to rank for words that aren't on the page. Well it's taken it's next step and evolved into something darker and potentially more dangero...

An ingenious method

Now Google can just let the competitors fight it out and get each other removed automatically without them having to lift a finger!

An ingenious method? What?

Seriously flawed logic or a seriously flawed algo, take your pick. Allowing a concerted attack to shoot down a site, any site, just shifts the power of links from positive to negative. Shouldn't the goal be to minimize attempts at manipulation? Not hand over a tool that can only be destructive?

Like in gastronomy

where the only truly disruptive factor is guests, Goo gives an ever increasing impression of simply having had it with web sites and SEO etc. etc. Maybe they should switch to real estate or something ...

And yes, of course: PageRank has been logically flawed from its very inception - an overhyped citation index never even remotely capable of tackling a commercialized Net. (The actual value of citation indices in academia is subject to a lot of debate, too - currently, it seems to be an almost exclusively American hangup.)

This basically applies to all linkage based rankings. So little wonder that they seem to have hit their (pretty modest in the first place) apex of usefulness long ago and are rife for being dumped altogether.


I can't believe both and domains are sold already. One of these days I'll smarten up and buy the domains before I open my mouth.


Anyone able/willing to test this?

DaveN/anybody, is there a site you can safely nuke to test this?

>>I can't believe both and domains are sold already. is for sale - LOL - it might have its uses :grin:


Right now, googlebowling isn't in G or Y!, but MSN has 8 listings with TW on top! ;-).

I wonder what in store for us at (.net).

i'm seeing Google results now

16 so far...

looks like:

Internet Marketing Post
All Your Web (me ;)

edit to add: interesting to note it's all homepages as well - no inside pages yet...

Not in UK

Google hasn't heard of it yet according to Google UK

i'm seeing it there too

maybe it's just me ;)


it hasn't made it's way out to all of the data centers yet

Results in Germany + Belgium

Results up on Goo Germany:

Identical on Goo Belgium:,GGLD:2003-40,GGLD:en&q=googlebowling

Though not on accessing it from here in Belgium.


Funny thing is, that although im in Denmark, i dont see any results on any of the tld's mentioned above - i'd recently thought to get hold of some paid uk proxy service (though i cant find a single one) as i suspected this to be the case; You dont get the uk datacenter just cos you're using

weird eh?

Silver Lining

Put on those SEO thinking caps, time to get some quick analyis of the preliminary SERPS in unpolluted space. Not often you'll hear someone admit they don't deserve the #1 spot, but it is the case here. Threadwatch is much more of an authority website than my blog. Also threadwatch has much better inbounds (in quantity, quality, and IP diversity). Now there's nothing for ~googlebowling so LSI probably isn't playing much of a role. The next biggest set of factors would be on page optimization and outbound anchor text. I did set out to optimize my page slightly but didn't go overboard. However if you'll notice on my page many of the outbound links contain the word "google" (yes this was intentional), and I think that is a big part of my ranking. Will be interesting to see if this holds up over time.

ps. lest anyone get the wrong idea, I'm sharing here not bragging.


no, it's much appreciated. i'm probably ranking higher than i should be too.

i bet it changes once the inside pages start showing up.

it happens

I know of a few occurances of the Google Bowling deal. although I dont think anyone wants to mention sites, etc.


Weird that they have an index page from TW not an individual post?


>Weird that they have an index page from TW not an individual post?

that is typicall actually. the first few days the home page ranks. and then around day 3-5 the inner page ranks. from a few tests I have done.


What a pillock - i only looked at the TW url - i just assumed individual pages were ranking for the other sites heh...


it is very interesting to see how 'new phrases' like this rank when one or more people try to rank for them.

has anyone done an 'experiment' like this before?

I wonder

if this early ranking is based upon time - as in the order in which Google first came across the phrase.

Just something I noticed.


In the UK (and the Threadwatch is the only one with an indented, secondary link, which is Current Thinkng on Linking for Google.

And then there's a link to bowling in london, courtesy of teneuous matching ads for 118118. Huzzah. Way to target, guys!

now up to

27 results on Goog as the inside pages are filtered in. i dropped to 10. ;)

chrisG - 1 & 2
ThreadWatch - 3 & 4
DG - 5
graywolf - 6
textlinkbroker - 7
ihategoogle - 8
findory - 9
all your web - 10

also interesting to note there's a scraper (w/adsense) on the very bottom of the second page now.

second to last is an XML scraper type site...

getting interesting ...

36 results

affiliate marketing gab
chris garrett
Graywolf's Wolf-Howl

interesting shuffle

next shuffle

38 results

threadwatch (inside page)
threadwatch (homepage)
Affiliate Marketing Gab (inside page)
All Your Web (inside page)
ChrisG (inside page)
textlinkbrokers (inside page)
dgs desk (inside page)
fantomaster (inside page)
searchbrains (inside page)
growth-focus (homepage)

another shuffle

55 results

TWatch (inside page)
Twatch (inside)
TEchnorati (inside)
GrowthFocus (inside)
affil marketing gab (inside)
all your web (inside)
chrisg (inside)
dgsdesk (inside)
textlinkbrokers (inside)
fantomaster (inside)


The Technorati is pretty interesting ....


Check out fanto having a bash at #1 for GoogleBowling! - you think you could get Googlebowling in that post one more time Ralph? ;-)

Good post regardless, and nice round up of "the birth of a buzzword"...

Ah, talking about "content spam" ...

Just demonstrating that there's more than one who can work "white hat" techniques, heh. (That current cartoon of ours works both ways, eh ...)


60 results

TW (inside page)
TW (inside)
graywolf (inside)
technorati (inside)
growth-focus (inside)
affiliate marketing gab (inside)
trendmapper (inside)
frontpagewebmaster (inside)
all your web (inside)
chrisg (inside)


I predict fantomaster's page will rank just below threadwatch in about 10 days time.

the game is afoot

as someone across the pond once said... ;)

he is heavy on the outbounds...

any other friendly wagers?

They haven't even indexed it yet

at least not the Goo I can see from here.

And: outbounds, yeah. Inbounds, hardly.

And promise: no cloaking involved, he he.


And promise: no cloaking involved, he he.

that will be the day :)

weird shuffle

64 results

affiliate marketing gab
all your web
textlink brokers
dgs desk

Doh! I thought it was two words, "Google Bowling"

My blog entry was ranked 2nd after Technorati with it as two words "Google Bowling". The blog was down for a couple days and it's fallen now, but the description for Technorati is still showing my blog text. After it gets recrawled, hopefully I'll reclaim my spot for misspelled bonehead SERPs as it drudges through pages relevant to the likes of North Dakota bowling leagues.

More resources

More Googlebowling resources from graywolf, who incidentally, has a rather spiffy redesign on his blog - very nice indeed!

big shuffle

605 results (53 before you get show omitted results...)

affiliate marketing gab
all your web

heh. seems someone was doing some homework ;)

Webpage Size Checker
... ... page_size.cgi?url= - Similar pages

the above was indexed on the fourth page...

a couple new scrapers and RSS aggregate sites too...

And for those of us who thought it was two words :)

technorati (bowling in the Kingpin sense!)
scoreboard media (moi)
moorelies (Bowling for Columbine page)
aplawrence (irrelevant blog entry on the failure of google maps)

Great, isn't it?

Here's this pristine, truly new buzzword, hardly created, and the misspelling spammers are at it, already! :-)


A piss poor spammer at that. Instead of playing around with the 90 search results I went straight for the misspelling with 602,000 search results.

Maybe I should scrape the other guys' results next! :)

Suggest review date

to actually get something out of this experiment. How about in a week's time? And yes, of course the "misspelt" version counts in my book - got a point there what with that many competing results: best of both worlds, really.

who wants to do the writeup?

i can offer some stuff.

shall we say May 9, next monday?

Fine by me

As for a writeup - maybe Nick might want to set up a new thread with everybody interested contributing there as convenient?

new thread...

i was beginning to think this might become a 'classic' TW thread. ;)

maybe a new one would be better, though, with Nick starting it and all of us adding our thoughts.


As for a writeup - maybe Nick might want to set up a new thread with everybody interested contributing there as convenient?

Sure, just pm me and i'll get it sorted :)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.