Politics
Politics

Is Santorum Beating His Google Problem?

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Rick Santorum has a well-known search engine issue. One of the reasons it's so well known is because he won't stop complaining about it.

In case you haven't had the sheer, adolescent pleasure of Googling "Santorum" you should know that up until recently, the top Google search result for the term "Rick Santorum" was the website "Spreading Santorum."

To the Santorum campaign staff's chagrin, "Spreading Santorum" was not a site devoted to spreading Rick's message of homophobia, misogyny and Christo-fascism, but rather a grassroots effort to associate the former senator's name with a "frothy" byproduct of gay sex.

Long before Rick Santorum was running for president, he gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he equated homosexuality to something he called "man on dog." Influential gay blogger Dan Savage (along with the majority of thinking Americans) took exception with this comparison. Savage appealed to the public to concoct an unflattering association with the former senator's name. The winning definition was immortalized on "Spreading Santorum."

Using a vast network of links and a little SEO wizardry, "Spreading Santorum" shot to the top of Google's search results where it remained for nine years.

For a time, the homoerotic association was little more than a thorn in Santorum's side. The culturally conservative former senator complained about Google publicly on a few occasions, but he didn't really go after the problem until he decided to seek the Republican nomination for president.

After months of effort, it would seem that Rick Santorum's attempts to clear his name (literally) are finally paying off. Thanks to new publicity surrounding Santorum's presidential campaign and a few minor tweaks to Google's search algorithm, the offending "Spreading Santorum" page no longer appears as Google's top result for the search term "Rick Santorum."

Google's ongoing statement on the topic reads as follows:

"We make more than 500 changes to our algorithms in a typical year, and with each of those changes sites will shuffle to different positions in our search results. We have not manually taken action to change the ranking of the site."

Santorum opponents sad to see the hilarious definition diminish in search engine relevancy will be relieved to know "Spreading Santorum" still stands atop the search results on Yahoo!, Bing and Baidu.