26.11.06

Link Responsibly

One of the things we librarians do is link to sites that are helpful to our communities. We also like to teach people how to find information that is valid, useful, authoratative. However, as Chris Harris points out, that linking can help create a so-called Google bomb:
Page Rank technology weighs quite heavily the incoming links from other pages. The text that is the link becomes the search term. A classical example of this is the "miserable failure" Google bomb where overwhelming numbers of people linked the text "miserable failure" to the White House page for President Bush. Therefore, when you search on Google for "miserable failure"the first hit is for President Bush [more info]
This wouldn't be a problem if all we linked to were sites like the Library of Congress' American Memory Project. The reality is, we also link to sites that are "bad" - examples of things that we want our communities to learn are false sites (extremely biased, inaccurate, whatever). Some are quite funny. Others are not.
Some evil people created a site to spread lies about Martin Luther King, Jr. and then through a combination of their evil practices and many unwitting accomplices, got their site to the top of Google searches for MLK. But we can change this!

Step 1) Do NOT and I mean NEVER, EVER, EVER again link to or type out the url for martin|luther|king|dot|org. Every time you link to it for a lesson on bad websites, you increase its rank on Google. We say it is bad, but Google sees the links as an endorsement.

Step 2) We can take steps to ease the damage that has been done by all of the links by promoting other links for the phrase Martin Luther King Jr. This is done by linking to various pages using "Martin Luther King Jr." as the link text within your blog posts. Thanks to Tom Hoffman for the code to make this a quick and easy post.

Step 3) Actually do this
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

We need to use our Voice to influence the Search. If you have a blog where you can post this, please take a few minutes to help out. Thank you. And thank you to Tom Hoffman for getting this started!
Legions of LazyReaders, go forth and do likewise!

ETA: If you use Mamma, Yahoo or another search engine, the offending website does not appear in the top links.

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