Friday, January 21, 2011

Have you been Google Bombed?

The use of Google and other search engines as a primary means of looking for dirt on individuals and businesses has become so common that it is being gamed by those who wish to do others harm by damaging their reputation.

A Google Bomb is a way to damage someone's good name or business name by use of Google's search engine to direct people to negative information. It is done by posting numerous negative comments about someone in blogs, forums, newsgroups, and social network sites, or by starting web pages dedicated to trashing their reputation. And then linking all of that negative information together through the use of hyperlinks so that Google thinks those web pages containing the negative comments are important.

People should treat everything they read on the internet with a healthy dose of skepticism but unfortunately too many people are inclined to believe what they read because seeing something in print gives it an air of authority. Those who are skeptical may still be inclined to believe that "where there's smoke there must be some fire." You can hardly blame someone who doesn't really know you from figuring it's probably safer to avoid you or your business if there are people so annoyed with you that they go to the trouble to trash you in a public venue.

Sadly, there are many mentally unstable and vindictive people out in the vast expanses of the internet who will do just that. Should you attempt to end unfair and libelous attacks on you by complaining to authorities or service providers, or making threats to take legal action you can actually trigger a syndrome known as the "Streisand Effect" where other people who routinely exploit online conflicts for their own amusement decide to join in the attacks on your reputation.

One way to avoid attracting the attention of vindictive people is to avoid all conflicts while online. You may enjoy debating things like politics, religion, your favorite TV shows, or the best way to cook salmon, but you need to understand that some people can flip out over just about anything and declare a vendetta against you. Sadly, that can even include people you know and have trusted.

And if you own a business that brings you in contact with a lot of people it's almost guaranteed that sooner or later some vindictive person is going to decide that they have been mistreated by you in one way or another. So it's really important that you take steps ahead of time to protect yourself from attempts to trash your reputation.

If it is your misfortune to cross paths with an individual who decides to "get even" for some real or imagined trespass you may well be victimized by a Google Bomb. If someone starts stalking you and/or posting negative comments about you or your business on the internet it is very important that you not attempt to engage them and reason with them. Such people are totally immune to reason and any contact with them will only encourage them to continue.

Once something negative is posted about you in a public area of the internet like a blog or a forum you can try asking the web site owner to remove it, but because of recent changes in the law most blogs and forums won't edit or remove posts. If they take an active role in controlling content it actually increases their liability because they can no longer claim that they are a passive conduit.  

The way to protect yourself from a Google Bomb before it happens and the way to clean up the mess after a Google Bomb happens are identical: 

You can't always get negative information removed from the search results but you can push those search results far enough down in the listings so that no one ever sees them. You do that by creating your own "Google Bomb" with all positive information about you.

Steps to control or repair your online reputation:

1. Buy domain names and create your own web sites

2. Start your own blogs

3. Create your own personal pages at social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Linkedin

4. Link all of your various pages together using "anchor text" that matches your "key words."

All of these techniques can be used by anyone with average computer skills, but if you don't have the knowledge or the time to deal with this you can hire a "reputation management" company to do it for you. Those services don't come cheap, so this blog contains some general information about each step in the process for anyone who wants to do it themselves.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Step 1. Buy domain names and create your own web sites

Actually you can't buy domain names but you can rent them, by registering them with a domain registrar like for $15 per year. GoDaddy has cheaper prices but they also have a lot of complaints against them because their contract has sweeping language in it that allows them to take your domain for any reason. For a list of inexpensive domain registrars that deal honestly see:

If someone should decide to attack you on the internet you don't want them to be able to start up a web site in your name. Since my name is Ken Padgett I've registered domain names like and the hyphenated version If you want to protect your family as well as yourself then you should also register all the variations on the names of your family members.

Creating web sites is easy and free if you use services like Blogger or Wordpress. There are also many hosting companies that will host a personal web site for free or for a very low monthly or yearly fee. For a list of free and inexpensive web hosts, see:

In order to get your web sites indexed by Google you need to create some decent "keyword rich" content that will give the search engine "bots" something you want them to index. Keywords are words that you choose to get the search results you want. Keywords need to be repeated several times and included in headings. Write a biography of yourself and make sure to repeat your name (i.e. Ken Padgett) several times and in several different ways, like "Ken" and "Padgett" and "Kenneth Padgett." But don't give out too much information about yourself or get too personal because you don't want to help people who might at some point want to hurt you.

If you don't want to write about yourself you can create blogs based on your interests. If you like Hopi Kachina Dolls needlepoint, classic cars, or have several favorite apple pie recipes you can write about them. You can upload pictures from your vacations and write about your experiences. But be careful about which types of pictures you post. Landscapes and points of interest are always good, but you should not put pictures of yourself or your family online, because they can be copied and misused elsewhere. 

Even when your web site is not about you, you should put your name on the page at least a couple of times. After all, the point of all this is to control what people see when they do a search on your name. You want your web sites to rank first in the results or at least be on the first page of results and those web sites that get listed should have information on them that is flattering to you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Step 2. Start your own blogs

Free blogs are available at:
And many other places on the web.

All blog sites provide free web space and easy tools for designing and publishing your blog. Blogs can be written by one individual or they can be shared among many writers so that folks can cooperate and share info on subjects of their choosing.

You can use your own domain name and redirect it to your blog or you can use the name you choose for your blog when you set the blog up. The difference is thus: is redirected to using the control panel settings at my domain registrar. So when someone clicks on or types it into their browser they are redirected to the Ken Padgett Blog at Likewise, I also have a separate domain name for this "Google Bombed" blog. It can be reached via or directly via:

Potential topics for a blog are endless. I mentioned a few in a previous post; a biography of yourself, your resume, your business, etc. -- but you can write a blog on just about any topic that interests you. Certainly one very common topic is politics. If you want to release your frustrations about the current political climate or just go on an extended rant a blog is a good place to do it.

Any content is good as long as you're creating it yourself and not copying it from other web sites. As always, the point of this exercise is to insert your name into your blog text as much as possible so that when Google and the other search engines index your site it will rank high in searches on your name. That's why I'm going to put my name here -- Ken Padgett -- for no reason other than the fact that I need it to be embedded in the text a couple of times in every blog post I make. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Step 3. Create your own personal pages at social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Linkedin

I'm not a fan of social networking sites because they seem to be a complete waste of time for most people, and many times are quite damaging to reputations and job prospects because the people who create these pages don't realize that images and descriptions of wild activities and such may well come back to haunt them sometime in the future. Employers, rental agencies, credit agencies; neighbors, even potential mates run searches on folks they are interested in to see if there is any dirt on them.

But social networking sites can be very useful in creating positive search engine results. Any web site or individual web page is an opportunity for you to put forward a positive image of yourself in your own words. That's what I have done with my Ken Padgett Facebook page, my Ken Padgett Biography and the Ken Padgett Blog. Social networking sites, like blogs, are usually free and easy ways to make a web page about yourself that can be "keyword rich" in terms you want the search engines to index.

The important thing to remember is that web pages are serious business and shouldn't be taken lightly. Whatever you upload to a server will be archived somewhere and may well be easily accessible to anyone even after the page has been changed or taken down. i.e. Don't ever post pictures of yourself drunk, taking beer or bong hits, cross-dressing, getting tattoos, or any other stupid thing unless you already have a healthy trust fund and don't need to worry about what others think of you.

When you're connecting with others via social networking web sites keep in mind that on the internet, as in life, you are known by the company you keep. Don't "friend" just anyone because people who are likely to draw conclusions about your character based on what you post on a personal page will also probably check out a few of your friends. If your friends post photos of themselves doing things that are questionable that can also reflect poorly upon you. 

Click here to visit the Ken Padgett Facebook page

Monday, January 17, 2011

Step 4. Link all of your various pages together using "anchor text" that matches your "key words."

Linking all of your web pages together is the way to get good placement in the search results for your name or your business name. You season your web pages with keywords in the heading and the body text, as well as in the HTML, and then you create hyperlinks linking all your pages together using anchor text in different combinations that matches your keywords. This practice is generally referred to as "Search Engine Optimization" or "SEO."

Keywords and Anchor Text

1. Keywords - The words people enter into a search box at a search engine that will cause the search engine to display your page among the search results.
If people search on your name or your business name, you want the search results to list your web sites first. So your name and/or your business name are your most important "keywords." Other keywords might include your address if you need to differentiate yourself from identically named entities. A web page should have your keywords used liberally in the body text and especially in the major headings.

The one thing you must not do is overdo it. Too much repetition of keywords in relation to the amount of text on a given page dilutes their power and can even be penalized. How much is too much? That is a difficult question to answer, but whatever you write has to make sense and can't be simply window-dressing for your key words.

Search engines place a higher value (in descending order) on text that uses the H1 and H2 HTML tags, larger fonts, bold, and plain text.

Keywords should also appear in the HTML code that supports your page but is not visible to visitors. The TITLE, KEYWORDS and DESCRIPTION "meta" tags are examined and evaluated by search engines in deciding what your page is supposed to be about. Here is an example of how such tags are used:
<title>Ken Padgett Home Page</title>
<meta name="KeyWords" content="Ken Padgett, Kenneth W Padgett, Kenneth William Padgett, 3134 Mercer Lane">
<meta name="DESCRIPTION" content="The biography of Ken Padgett">

2. Anchor Text - The text that is associated with a hyperlink.
When you or anyone else posts a link to your web page they can either add the link as plain text as in,; they can hyperlink the link text as in,; or they can hyperlink some descriptive text as in, Ken Padgett Biography. The most valuable type of links from an SEO standpoint are hyperlinked descriptive text that matches the keywords on the destination web page.

Search engines value links based on the value of the page where it finds the link and on how closely the anchor text represents the content of the destination page. A web page that has a lot of other pages linking to it has a higher value. But more important than the number of inbound links are the quality of those links. Links coming from a highly ranked pages are much more valuable than those coming from lower ranked pages.

You'll get the best results by having links containing different combinations of anchor text and coming from a wide variety of sources, including other web sites that you don't control as well as from web sites that you do control. You can post comments that include your link on other people's blogs if your comments are a legitimate contribution to the discussion. You can ask other people to link to your web pages, but the best way to get people to link to your web pages is to create some useful or interesting content that people would like to share with others.

Whether you get others to link to your pages or not, you will improve your visibility with the search engines by linking all of your web pages together.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I have been Google Bombed and that is why I started this blog.

And that is also why I'm posting my name and address here:
Ken Padgett
3134 Mercer Lane
San Diego, CA 92122

I got into a dispute with some very unpleasant people in a newsgroup dedicated to chronic pain. I saw them picking on others relentlessly and spoke out against it. That's when they turned their attention to me. I fought back but every response from me only encouraged them to continue. I was stalked for several years afterward by people who posted literally thousands of messages containing my name and address along with outrageous lies about me, my family, and my businesses. They even went so far as to mail an anonymous letter to some of my neighbors 'warning' them about me.

I finally created a web site to warn others about the individuals who were stalking me. The web site is located at and it was very effective in ending the abuse, but the web site didn't do anything to counteract the mountain of lies and half-truths that had already been posted about me.That is the purpose of this blog and several others as well as some web sites I've created like the Ken Padgett Biography and the Ken Padgett Blog