Google delists bmw.de

Written by Geoff Richards

February 6, 2006 | 12:15

Tags: #blacklist #block #bmw #cheat #germany #hack #matt-cutts #search-engine-optimisation #seo

Companies: #google

It seems the typical BMW driver's attitude of thinking they own the road extends to the Information Superhighway, as BMW.de has been caught violating Google's guidelines and have subsequently been delisted.

The shocking discovery was revealed on the blog of cult Google engineer, Matt Cutts, who has built quite a fanbase by revealing some of the inner workings of the search giant.

Amongst the usual blog mix of TV and movie commentaries, Cutts gives tips to budding webmasters on how best to optimise their site for Google and just as often, where the line exists between reasonable Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and underhanded dirty tricks. It is the latter that the Men from Munich have fallen foul of.

According to Cutts, when a search engine visited a page like www.bmw.de/bmw-neuwagen.html, it is fed a block of hundreds of keywords focused around, not surprisingly, BMW and 'neuwagen', the german term for 'new vehicle'. Yet when a human user hits that page, some Javascript redirects to a completely different URL which displays a selection of BMW cars. This is a well known technique aimed at boosting the prominence of a site in Google's search results, but one that is severely frowned apon.

"That’s a violation of our webmaster quality guidelines, specifically the principle of 'Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users'," said Cutts. "This week our webspam team continued ramping up our anti-spam efforts by removing bmw.de from our index, and ricoh.de will be removed soon for similar reasons."

Luckily for BMW, Google has procedures in place for the reinstatement of delisted sites, on the proviso that the disallowed optimisations are removed. Let this serve as a warning for anyone who works on the Web: if you try any funny business just to improve your Google ranking, you risk losing the lot.

Kudos to Google for doing what they can to keep their results free from the influence of anyone attempting to hack their way to the top of the list.

Everyone here at Bit Towers uses Google almost exclusively for their search needs. We would like to hear from readers on Search Engine loyalty - are you a fully paid-up member of the Larry & Sergei Fan Club? Do you Yahoo by choice or by corporate policy? Does MSN Search show you were you want to go today? Cast your vote in our News Discussion forum.
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