Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fooling Google

Organic search results cannot be easily manipulated but the news results can be. Google news searches for brand new latest content online that it can offer. As such, it follows wherever the hype is and is more easily manipulated. Understanding this mechanism allows online communities like Reddit and 4chan to pull off pranks through volume (examples below for fun). The question of the day is what businesses can learn from the online pranksters.

The image below shows a Reddit post where users spam the phrase "gaming console" in the comments. It almost is like the white-text trick that Professor Kagan mentioned earlier in the semester. The difference here though is that the comments are considered more "organic" by Google and therefore carry higher relevance scores. Here's the original post so that you can admire the copy paste skills of the pranksters.

The more interesting part though is when they tried the other way to promote a picture of a gaming console for the word "potato" (see here). That didn't work! Why? Well, potatoes don't typically make it to the news--Google's non-news organic search results stay unhindered.

Then, here is one last example of someone pranking Peyton Manning. You can still find that Nicolas Cage picture in the Google image results of "Peyton Manning" to this day.

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