Power Of Link Building

What Does George Bush Have To Say About Power of Link Building

What do you do to dominate Google?Β Google ranking algorithm was largely constructed around links. Essentially, that’s the way they come up with PageRank as well: how many links and the quality of those links determines your site authority.

What is a link?

A link is simply a way for a website to point to another website. Whenever you see that blue text that says “click here” or whatever and you click it and it takes you to another site is a link.

Essentially, the more links you get, the more Google will love you.

I am not saying that links is ALL you need in Google’s eyes; they do claim about 200 different factors go into their algorithm.

However, WITHOUT links you will simply not be able to achieve and maintain strong authority and high rankings.

So, it’s really simple: the more links you get and the better quality they are, the better your rankings are going to be.


Now it’s very important that those links are one way links.

Let me give you an example of the power of links.

This happened around 2004. A group of SEOs decided to rank George Bush’s White House page for the term “miserable failure”.

So what they did was built a good number of one way links with “miserable failure” as their anchor text pointing back to George Bush’s profile.

The result was both shocking and laughable: for a long time when you typed up “miserable failure” into a search, you would see Bush’s profile as the number one result.

It goes without saying, that nothing on his page ever mentioned “miserable failure”. So by the power of the incoming links alone, Google determined the search term relevancy to the former president’s profile.

Side note: a couple of years after the incident, Google finally changed its algorithm, making it far more difficult for such pranks to happen in the future. More on this at SearchEngineLand.com.

Bush before after

Bush before after

Now, when Obama took over the presidency, he basically dismantled the entire site to avoid his predecesor’s bad fame.


You tell me. I took the screen shot below on November 17 in Yahoo! Search.

bush yahoo miserable failure

bush yahoo - miserable failure

Ahh, the everlasting power of quality one way link building!

Love it or hate it? Comment to show me that you’re alive!

ana hoffman seo link buildingana hoffman yournetbiz

(post image credit)

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{ 73 comments… add one }
  • Claire December 29, 2010, 9:42 pm

    I think that prank made it harder for webmasters in general to rank high for certain keywords since the technique used does not hold much power as before.

  • Lucian December 12, 2010, 9:23 am

    I think it is better that google focuses more on the content on the page, but probably it works more like a filter.

    • Ana December 12, 2010, 9:00 pm

      Hi Lucian,

      That is actually better, but I think that will not happen soon.


  • Leo December 9, 2010, 1:18 pm

    The french president was also “victim” of GoogleBombing, for keywords a lot worse that “Miserable Failure” – if you searched for “trou du c*l du web” (meaning “web’s arsh*le”), his site came first, then his facebook page.

    His son was also the target of one for “fils Γ  papa” – “daddy’s son” pejoratively.

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:17 pm

      Thanks for the info Leo. I actually didn’t know that.

      Glad you came by,


  • Aakash December 8, 2010, 9:36 am

    Though miserable failure is really burning demo of the link building but the way you describe it is really good one.

    Many new bie will be able to learn from it.

    Note – Love your blog and thanks for providing those great tips.

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 3:41 am

      Hello Aakash,

      Thanks for the comment. Nice to have you here.

      Have a nice day,


  • Pritam December 8, 2010, 5:25 am

    Yes, this is really interesting fact that Google even does not care about the on page SEO if the off-page is very powerful.
    I have come up with search results many times in my R&D and concluded if you get the powerful backlinks for particular keywords, you can rank well even if you have not written that keyword in your page.

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:18 pm

      Yes you are right Pritam. That can really happen in Google.


  • Tinh December 8, 2010, 1:25 am

    Interesting article and I love the image of Mr. Bush too πŸ™‚

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:19 pm

      Thanks Tinh, I’m glad you like it.

      Have a nice day,


  • TJ McDowell December 7, 2010, 4:34 pm

    Isn’t there a way to say that you don’t want to rank for a certain term? If there’s not a tag for that, it would probably make sense to add one. Well, maybe not – then the pranksters would have moved on to different terms.

    Also had a question for you on your search results screenshot. Are you using a plugin to show the page rank of the pages in your yahoo search results? What plugin is that? Firefox? That would be pretty useful.

  • Alex December 7, 2010, 11:31 am

    I mentioned this in some other comments I wrote for other articles, that google is very ‘impressed’ with one way linking, too impressed in my opinion.

    I also knew about the Bush prank. The first time I heard about it I didn’t really know what to think about it (from a SEO point of view), but as time went by I started to understand.

    Oh, btw as far as I know, the webmasters that did this had several high autorithy website and with the help of those website they managed to pull this off, (as a response to the comment above me πŸ™‚

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 11:12 pm

      Hello Alex,

      Thanks for sharing your own idea and opinion about Google and on this topic and also about the webmasters. I actually didn’t know that.



  • Andreas December 7, 2010, 11:14 am

    The problem is practically ‘nobody’ uses yahoo (statistically speaking) because of google’s monopoly, so why should they work on their algorithms, doesn’t matter much anyway.

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:37 pm

      Hi Andreas,

      Nice to see you again. You are right on that.

      Thanks for the comment,


  • Andy December 7, 2010, 10:53 am

    Goes against everything Google have said about GoogleBombing not working, but it always brings a smile to my face when I see Dubya getting a search engine shoeing.

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:35 pm

      Hello Andy,

      Nice to see you around. Thanks for the comment.



  • Charles December 7, 2010, 10:50 am

    Well, who would have thought George W. Bush would have been part of something educational for bloggers. LOL. Poor guy. I wonder if he knows what links and linkbacks are?

    I try to put links in my articles to things I feel are worth looking into but I have seen sites that put links on so many words on their pages that it actually becomes annoying after a while. But I will take this into consideration when writing my articles.

    • Charles December 7, 2010, 11:23 am

      Hah, forgot to change the website at the bottom of my reply. That is definitely not my recently posted article.

      • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:34 pm

        Hi Charles,

        You are probably right, I think he’s not aware of that. Anyway I’m glad you learned something from my post.

        All the best,


  • Susan December 7, 2010, 10:01 am

    HA! I had never heard that story about G. W. and the miserable failure before (although I had my opinion).

    What’s google working on these days? If backlinks won’t be that important what will? I noticed PR hasn’t been updated since April.

  • Alex December 7, 2010, 9:24 am

    That was amazing!! You used some great screenshots to illustrate your examples Ana! Who needs any more evidence that quality backlinking works! Hopefully, if will work to our advantage! I definitely wouldn’t want my name (or business names) on top of search results for “bad” keywords!

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:30 pm

      Hi ALex,

      Yes me too, it’s bad publicity and I don’t want to be part of that either.

      Thanks for coming,


  • Kareensolia December 7, 2010, 6:52 am

    wkwkwk…… funny stuff… But it is true that Bush is a miserable failure.Even without the power of the SEO I think it would still rank in top 10 for that keyword…

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:21 pm

      Hello Kareensolia,

      I think many might share your opinion. Thanks for reading my post.

      Take care,


    • Lucian December 12, 2010, 9:25 am

      Even if there were no anchor links with miserable failure, if people linked to his profile on pages where they described him as being a miserable failure could have still make it to the first page. But the link is required and i bet most people angry about his management would not post links to his profile.

  • Karan December 7, 2010, 3:03 am

    Interesting stuff here, but I think Google will be dominating the web at least for the next decade as it still holds a large proportion of authority.
    Moreover, the rate at which Google is developing is overwhelming and it would be really tough for any other company to overtake it.

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 6:47 am

      Yes, you are definitely right Karan. I also think they will continue to rule for quite some time.

      Thanks for the comment,


      • Aakash December 8, 2010, 9:41 am

        Anna I like the title which you used.

        Really impressive.

        • Ana December 20, 2010, 10:12 pm

          Thanks Aakash.


  • Patricia December 7, 2010, 12:28 am

    Hi ana

    Interesting post. Just from reading the comments I see that everyone has their own opinion. Just goes to show Google is still king cos they have got everyone still guessing lol

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 7:23 am

      Hi Patricia,

      Glad to see you again. Everyone indeed has different opinion on this matter but we can’t deny the fact the Google is still number one.



      • Aakash December 8, 2010, 10:23 am

        No Google have learned from its mistake and they have rectified it.

        That is really good and impressive for a normal internet users because with that they will get the results what they are looking for.

  • Lennart Heleander December 6, 2010, 10:55 pm

    Hi Ana,
    Yes, strong links is important and I was over and read you blog post http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/one-way-link-building/ , really interesting and I found many new tips I didn’t know about. Thanks.

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 7:26 am

      Hello Lennart,

      Thanks for taking time to visit my site. I hope you will be able to use the tips and ideas from there.

      Have a nice day,


  • Henway December 6, 2010, 9:11 pm

    It’s a shame Google did a handjob and had to take that result out… Google always says Do no evil, but to me they are the ones that are evil.. always censoring stuff…

  • Kevin Martineau December 6, 2010, 6:44 pm

    Hi Ana,

    Wow! Great example of how this works.

    Thanks for the very helpful information.


    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:27 pm

      Hello Kevin,

      You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by



  • mark December 6, 2010, 6:36 pm

    Hi Ana,

    This might have the funniest blog post title of the year. Plus, this is a great illustration of what a few people when they have some hours to kill.

    I remember this, though it was long before I understood back-linking, keywords, or much else related to blogging/IM.


    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:26 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes you’re right in saying that maybe they don’t have anything to do with their time or maybe they just want to prove something.

      Have a great day,


  • Jarret December 6, 2010, 6:26 pm

    Ana, the famous George Bush Google bomb was quite the SEO demonstration a few years back, for sure! Oddly enough, I imagine it wasn’t that difficult back then particularly because of the strength of the dot gov domain.

    I don’t think Google bombs are possible any more if all of the words are not found in content on the page. I’ve read SEO experiments and it’s not even possible to rank on meta descriptions alone either if the desired ranking term isn’t included in the post title tag or content.

    • Ana December 9, 2010, 10:23 pm

      Hi Jarret,

      Thanks for sharing your own opinion on this topic. I appreciate it.



  • Drew December 6, 2010, 6:15 pm

    Soon Google will phase this out when they work out how they can without affecting search quality, at least I hope they will. I think it’s worth adding that the link building should be keyworded anchor text links, but then again, if you build a proper site, link building is unnecessary πŸ˜‰

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 7:19 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Drew. I got your point but I still believe in the importance of link building to promote your sight.


    • Lucian December 12, 2010, 9:28 am

      I don’t think all the algorithm should be based on the page content. This will make people to overuse keywords and content on pages and it will be much easier to cheat the system.

      With a link oriented algorithm, let’s say we are 2 competitors, you are trying to get the most links you can from your frineds websites, from blogs, links brokerage and you may end up higher than me for a specific keyword, but my quality and relevant content gets a reference from a very popuar website and i get in front again. This is what google want, to put higher reuslts that get referenced by trusted websites.

  • Caleb December 6, 2010, 6:02 pm

    I sometimes see sites with high PR yet low backlinks(under50) while at the same time other sites have low PR with high backlinks. For example the post author’s own blog is showing like 82 Google BL’s with zero PR ❓

    ..now I know some might say it’s the quality of those BL’s, but c’mon you all can’t tell me you aren’t noticing some serious inconsistencies :roll:

    • Steve December 7, 2010, 8:06 am

      Google hasn’t done a “public” updating of backlinks since 2apr2010 so that is why what is seen for PR can be so skewed these days. There may even be getting away from PR entirely…who knows though, If Google told you they would have to kill you.

  • Dennis Edell December 6, 2010, 4:28 pm

    That’s exactly how a totally undeserved famous blogger also came to power…a very unwise move.

    • Caleb December 6, 2010, 6:07 pm

      Could you please expound on this ❓

      • Dennis Edell December 7, 2010, 10:22 am

        If you’re asking for a name, no.

        There are but a few “thought to be” super-power bloggers today. One of them became what they are due to what can only be described as a very unethical link campaign w/anchor text.

  • Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach December 6, 2010, 4:27 pm

    What works today will be dead tomorrow…or next week, or next month, or what have you.

    I remember the google bombing stuff a few years ago…interesting that it still has that effect. You definitely want quality inbound links!

    • Caleb December 6, 2010, 5:51 pm

      And now there’s rumors that Google may be disbanding the whole page ranking system all together!

      • Tia December 7, 2010, 1:14 am

        Yeah, I wonder if that is true or not. There has been a major page rank update since April 2010.

        The thing is that Google can’t just “decide not to” have the page rank system now. Too late. Almost every advertiser uses it to determine quality of sites for placing ads. It’s a bit of a messy situation.

        It’s like, once you publish an encyclopedia, you can’t take it back. They should have thought about it before making it such a big deal.

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 7:14 am

      Hi Barbara,

      Things might change really fast.

      Quality inbound links is indeed important for.

      Have a nice day,


    • Lucian December 12, 2010, 9:44 am

      The idea is that you should provide quality, a non-related link or a spinned article is just no quality, if you provide quality it will work forever.

  • SmartAboutThings December 6, 2010, 3:57 pm

    oh, c’mon, leave that poor guy alone πŸ˜€

  • Daniel Sharkov December 6, 2010, 3:55 pm

    Hey Ana,

    So what it turns out is that nothing comes close to the importance of backlinks. If you really want to get on the top of SERPs for a specific keyword/keyphrase all the on-page SEO steps can’t help you if the links pointing to your site are low quality. The example with the prank on Bush is an absolute proof to this. Great work!

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 7:08 am

      Hello Daniel,

      Well said. It might be a prank but they we’re able to prove something.

      Thanks for coming,


  • Tom December 6, 2010, 3:10 pm

    haha! That’s what happens when bloggers unite πŸ™‚

    I still think this could work, but the lasting effect may not be there.

    • Caleb December 6, 2010, 5:54 pm

      Ditto πŸ˜‰

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 7:04 am

      Hello Tom,

      What they did can really be funny but they we’re able to do it succesfully.

      Thanks for coming,


  • Justin Germino December 6, 2010, 3:09 pm

    It is true about how Google ranks SERP that with caffeine, google preview and more I would be surprised if Google doesn’t scan the page being linked to to determine if they keywords matching it should even be ranked. I mean if the keywords are nowhere to be found in the HTML text of a page, META TITLE, META Description or anywhere, why would Google rank it high in the SERP just because many external sites linked there with a “keyword”.

    Good information though, this all happened before I even started a blog and I didn’t know anything about the miserable failure thing.

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 7:01 am

      Good point Justin. Thanks for sharing you opinion on this topic.

      Carry on,


  • Dave Lucas December 6, 2010, 2:57 pm

    Nice article, but moot point – Google is totally re-arranging the way it ranks pages, so your good advice could be fatally flawed by the time this posts! (Then again, knowing Google, it may not!)

  • Mani Viswanathan December 6, 2010, 2:32 pm

    haha..the SEO’s therein took full advantage. But they must have promoted that link with the anchor text in excess πŸ˜›

    • Caleb December 6, 2010, 6:04 pm

      These things make a hard case for what’s considered “blackhat” vs “whitehat”..

      • Ana December 7, 2010, 6:56 am

        Hello Caleb,

        You might be right on that.

        Thanks for reading my post,


      • Mani Viswanathan December 7, 2010, 2:24 pm

        You are bang on! It’s kinda Indecisive. We need to look into both the aspects.

    • Ana December 7, 2010, 6:58 am

      Hello Mani,

      Thanks for stopping by. I think that’s what they really did.



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