If you are looking for a web site called “Cake Central”, then you probably don’t want to perform a Google search today. Apparently Google thinks that a web site called Beerby.com is ranking Cake Central, a popular wedding cake web site, first in the search results for this brand search.
A view of the actual cached version of the page shows that Google appears to be ranking the web page only because of links to the web page:
This is Google’s cache of http://beerby.com/a. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Jan 7, 2011 03:07:38 GMT. The current page could have changed in the meantime. Learn more
These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: cake central
A view of the cached content reveals a message that says “Backend server did not respond in time. App server is too busy and cannot handle requests in time.” So, there appears to be no content on the page that says “Cake Central”.
Is this a case of Beerby doing something called “Google Bombing“? Personally, I think this is the case, but I’m not actually sure. I cannot prove it right now, since there are no links to the page showing up in Yahoo! Site Explorer or other link analysis tools that I use on a regular basis.
In many cases, this may mean that there are links pointing to the page with “cake central” in the anchor text. However, from my experience, this is often not the actual case. There may be something different at play here.
When analyzing the site, there are a few things that you can do in order to try to see what’s going here. Here is what I have looked at:
– the Beerby site does not appear to be cloaking, as I have sent several bots to the page in question and even faked that I was Googlebot — and they are not cloaking the page (from what I can tell). But I didn’t visit the page back on January 7th.
– a search for the “beerby.com/a” URL in Google doesn’t reveal much. Usually, when there are links that are going to the URL (anchor text links) you can see some of the links or find them in Google by doing a search for the URL in quotes. But I cannot find anything revealing.
– Perhaps this a case where someone was doing something related to something they found which appears to be a hole in Google’s algorithm. I don’t think this is the case, and I am not sure that this was done on purpose.
– Perhaps someone mentioned the word “Cake Central” and they pointed to the beerby.com/a using a tiny url that did a redirect to the page. My gut feeling is that this is the case, but I would have to find the actual URL where Cake Central was mentioned over and over again on some social media sites. Again, this would be tough to do. But that personally is my gut feeling of why Google is ranking Beerby for Cake Central.
Any ideas? What do you think? I sure would like to know what Matt Cutts from Google thinks on this one.