Back in 2017, there was an old knowledge graph trick that was reported on by Search Engine Land that is now getting a lot of attention after recent reports about how it can be used to manipulate, confuse and trick searchers. Basically, with this trick, it’s possible to show any site for any query in the knowledge panel area.
Here is how the trick works:
First, bring up a site’s knowledge panel in Google and click on the share link.
Copy and paste the link in the search bar and click go. It’ll take yo to the same page. But the URL will have a new set of parameters, something along the likes of &kgs=55f82ac435f6919c&q=
Right after the q= is the original query, you’ll b able to change it to anything. With the example above, I changed it to q=king+of+seo and clicked go. Google then changed the search results to say “king of seo.”
A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land, “We share the concern about the potential for bad actors to create misleading distortions of our search results pages, and are working to fix this issue.”
We can assume that Google is working on preventing this sort of manipulation in the search results. As of right now, there’s no way of knowing how long it’ll take to resolve this issue. Google has been aware of this for years. But it seems that they’ve only been working on it recently.
People are sharing both funny and worrisome examples online of this manipulation in action:
I knew it! The most popular product ever created is… the chia pet. Google tells me that so it must be true. 🙂 I wonder how many companies will start sharing these hacked urls to promote their products. Again, this is crazy. https://t.co/aQswAKpLB7 pic.twitter.com/8ArkfTSm5A
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) January 9, 2019