“Completely Wrong” Mitt Romney Image Search Results Aren’t a Google Bomb

If you do a Google Images search for the key term "completely wrong," your feed will be flooded with images of Mitt Romney. (See screen shot below.) Some SEOs are calling this a "Google bomb." Google bomb, also called Googlewashing, typically entails creating a large number of links to cause a web page to rank highly for searches on unrelated or off-topic keyword phrases. Usually it's a prank, satire or comedy - and in this case, it certainly fits the bill for "satire."

But is it really a Google Bomb since Mitt Romney is quoted as saying, "Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right. In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong." Images of Mitt Romney following that quote just seems like relevant, newsworthy, algorithmically plausible results.

  1. I don't see evidence of obvious link scheming, but that could change and fast.
  2. The keywords aren't unrelated or off-topic.
  3. The more people perform this search and share it via social media, using keywords like "Mitt Romney" in the same context as "completely wrong," the more relevance this gains.
Google Images Search Completely Wrong Mitt Romney

Google Images Search - "Completely Wrong" and Mitt Romney

Steve F. brought up a good question: "By that line of thinking, wouldn’t other relevant lines from the quote also show up with his pic? Seems like some manipulation here."

Sure, possibly. But the other parts of the sentence are even more generic than the already-generic “completely wrong” part is. Newspapers sensationalize headlines and I’ve seen more than one say, "'Completely Wrong,' Romney Says" or something dramatic and concise to that effect. Yes, it’s theoretically possible that some link manipulation went on akin to a Google Bomb, but I think the more likely result is that fresh and timely images started surfacing for the hot topic term “completely wrong” following the news of Romney's retraction, and people followed suit with lots of aptly named images and text content. Add a touch of social media wildfire with lots of comments about Mitt Romney after sharing the link and bam, you've got relevant results.

This reminds me more of the Rick Santorum uncouth definition story than the George W. Bush “miserable failure” story.


Heather Physioc
Heather Physioc is a Kansas City inbound marketer, and President of Tentacle Inbound, LLC. Tentacle Inbound offers services in digital marketing, website development and design, and more. Connect with Heather on Twitter.

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