Essentially, it seems 'googlewhacking' is a kind of internet word game that you play using the search engine Anyone who's used the site before (and in recent years it has become the search engine of choice for most internet users) will have a head start here. For those who are unfamiliar with the internet as a whole, I'll try to explain as best I can.

The internet contains lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of information. All human life is there: there are great truths, there are whopping lies and there is plenty of sex and videotape. In essence, anyone can put anything on to the world wide web. And for the large part it isn't organised.

This disorganisation makes it impossible to have a Dewey decimal system taking you to the subject you're looking for. Instead, people use search engines. Google's job is to look through the internet on your behalf. It tries to read whatever it can find and while it doesn't find absolutely everything it currently indexes more than 3 billion pages. And it actually reads them. It takes in their content. So, let's say you want to know about balloons. You type in the word balloon and then ask Google to go to work. In a split second Google will show you every single one of the 3 billion pages that contains the word balloon. Be warned; it will involve some bizarre pornography. But, say you typed in the word animal instead? Well, then Google will come back showing you a list of every page that contains the word animal. Be warned; it will involve some very bizarre pornography. But maybe you want to know about balloon animals? In which case you type in both the words and this time Google comes racing back with every page on the web that contains both the word balloon and the word animal. This will involve some very, very bizarre pornography. This is in part because it has searched for both the words rather than the phrase. It will come back with pages that include the phrase balloon animal, as well as pages that include the phrase animal balloon and, for that matter, it will also come back with all the pages that include sentences such as 'I inserted the balloon into the animal...' in fact every page that contains the two words whether they share a sentence or not.

Try it with any two words of your choice and you will probably find that Google points you at quite a lot of different sites. I just tried with custard and fandango and, at the time of writing, Google can find over 500 pages that use both those words.

However, on very rare occasions, instead of showing you 548 possible web pages, Google can only find one. It looks through 3 billion pages and only finds one that delivers. A site that, in its own way is special and unique.

This is a googlewhack and there are people out there who like to find them for fun.

The aspiring googlewhackers amongst you should be aware that there are also a few supplementary rules, as follows.

  1. You don't put the two words in inverted commas. That's a useful way of improving your search results should you be using Google as a search tool. But in googlewhacking terms, it's cheating.
  2. The words you use must be 'real words' that can be found in This is the googlewhackers dictionary of choice, no other resource counts.
  3. The page that Google finds cannot be a word list of any kind. Not a page from a dictionary or a thesaurus, nor any other kind of word list, just a regular web page, with regular content.
Stevo, my Australian correspondent had been amusing himself by trying to find a googlewhack and he'd succeeded, with the words Francophile Namesakes.

There was only one page in the whole wide world wide web that contained both those two words and it was part of my website: So, as far as Stevo was concerned I was a googlewhack! He'd then had a look around my website, found my e-mail address and decided to let me know. So now I know. And now you know too.


Extracted from Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure by Dave Gorman, Ebury Press 2004
Contact: ittfse (AT)