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Old 02-05-2006   #1
Chris_D
 
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Google Removes BMW Germany For Spamming

Last week, comments about an SEO strategy implementation at BMW Germany started appearing on the web - http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2006-02-01-n31.html

Matt Cutts has just blogged that BMW Germany has been removed from Google due to Javascript redirects on bmw.de http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/rampin...ional-webspam/

Try this: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...e%3Awww.bmw.de

Historically, I've read many forum posts where people have believed that the big guys have been able to 'get away with' tactics which appear to contravene Google's guidelines.

Usually - the arguement put forward in these discussions has been that these kind of tactics (cloaking, or text pages with Javascript redirects, or 'no script' tag stuffing etc) - are tolerated on big company sites because they don't contravene the 'spirit' of the Google guideline which says “Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users”

i.e. the arguement has historically gone that the content isn't 'misleading' per se- as they are basically providing 'text descriptions' of the appropriate subject matter -so they won't be penalised because it isn't 'misleading'.

Now - Matt says they are not only in breach - they are now penalised with PR0. And he's also warned Ricoh.de in his blog that they will likely suffer the same fate!!

The most interesting part of Matt's post is the comment
Quote:
I expect that Google’s webspam team will need a reinclusion request with details on who created the doorway pages
Looks like Google are serious about going for the source of the strategy......
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Old 02-05-2006   #2
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It's about time.

It's frustrating when users come to you and they tell you that they are "just doing what the big guys are doing" when that is clearly spam, and worse, likely to get them penalized.

Almost everyone major in the industry knows that the big auto manufacturers are some of the worse offenders in this area, and I was interviewed a while ago about just this issue by a reporter from CNN (though if the story aired, I missed it) I never mentioned BMW by name, but I was really tempted to.

I guess someone else yielded to temptation...

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Old 02-05-2006   #3
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One the other side of the equation, contrary to popular belief, the search engines tend to be biased against big, spread out corporations.

While it sounds fair to only show one listing from a particular company (and usually is), in practice, the way large corporations (and governments) are set up is that they often have tons of information available, but the decentralized system makes it so that the best information is often not available to searches because of the bias towards link analysis.

Hint for search engines - sometimes, the best information in a market driven website is the stuff with the LEAST links internally. A product data sheet comes to mind. The "choose your favorite color" pages has way more links than datasheets because that suits the marketing goals of the corporation.

Bottom line - people link differently inside websites than they do outside of it.

I know that frustration over this is what has caused some of these corporations to use spammy techniques to get the information out. I'm also aware that sometimes the techniques are used just because they don't care or feel they are too big to worry about it, so I'm not very sympathetic.

But that doesn't mean there isn't a problem with how search engines handle large organizations. In some cases, increasing usability for these guys kills rankings and hides information from search engines, which is opposite to what is supposed to happen.

I'm not crying any tears, but I can see issues on both sides. These guys (not just BMW - all of them) don't need an SEO (they have hired lots over the years, and often have talented people on staff) they need to actually LISTEN to the damn SEO at the executive level, not the management level, which is what happens instead. That's the issue.

My personal opinion,

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Old 02-05-2006   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_D
Last week, comments about an SEO strategy implementation at BMW Germany started appearing on the web - http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2006-02-01-n31.html

Historically, I've read many forum posts where people have believed that the big guys have been able to 'get away with' tactics which appear to contravene Google's guidelines.
It looks like this has been known for awhile now, but was mainly .de forum knowledge (http://www.abakus-internet-marketing...c/t-20230.html)

We'll probably see more people using blogs or other forms of communication to out big sites that contravene Google's webmaster guidelines now that they've seen a direct response from Google. Google has enough evangelists going around to start a Holy Crusade against these big evil corp sites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_D
Looks like Google are serious about going for the source of the strategy......
I imagine it would be interesting to find out the rest of their clientele (and even more interesting listening to them explain to BMW how their 'SEO prowess' got BMW.de penalized by Google)

Last edited by shor : 02-05-2006 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 02-05-2006   #5
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the story has made the mainstream press here in Australia. Its today's top story in the Sydney Morning Herald Technology Section:

"Google 'death penalty' for BMW site"

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/...074113688.html

and is linked from the SMH homepage....
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Old 02-05-2006   #6
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Good 'ol SMH, can rely on them to sensationalize a story.
Quote:
'Google death penalty'
...
'precious PageRank'
...
What BMW stands accused of doing is setting up so-called doorway pages that trick search bots like Goolge's into boosting the PageRank of a site or a page and directing searchers there.

This trick is called search engine optimisation (SEO) and while most professional sites will use SEO methods to improve their search appeal, some methods are deemed to be unethical.

Now I've a steady stream of emails:
Excited client: "Haha, Google owned BMW"
Confused client: "Are we in the same danger?"
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Old 02-06-2006   #7
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Respect to Matt, but I'm pretty sure BMW Germany will get back within short order even if they don't write a "we're sorry letter."

Go search for Google for [bmw germany]
http://www.google.com/search?q=bmw%20germany

Now you're a searcher, you want to reach the site, and it's not there. You don't care that it is being punished for spam reasons. All you know is, Google didn't get you to what you are looking for.

Why can you find WhenU or WordPress at Google right now? They got dinged for spamming, but they get back in because people still need to be able to find them.

Moreover, Google's got wiggle room here. Say they do keep the hammer down on BMW Germany. Even the Sydney Morning Herald manages to see that BMW's main landing page still shows. That will help relieve some of the navigational worries.

Still, those at Google Germany searching for BMW and not getting BMW Germany first -- and BMW international third -- are going to have some eyebrows raised.

And Ricoh Germany's out? Well, Ricoh International remains. Seriously, banning Ricoh and BMW is noteworthy, but it will be more so if these bans really do last.

Meanwhile, got an error with your Ricoh printer? site:ricoh.de Störung at Yahoo gets me 30 matches -- Google Germany gets me nothing. Better hope those in Germany with errors can speak English and find answers at other Ricoh sites.
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Old 02-06-2006   #8
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Five things -

One - I am glad to see google applying the same rules to everyone, it makes for a nice change.

Two - Will users assume that a big high profile site no longer exists if it is not listed in google? (I don’t think so, I think users will go somewhere else to find what they are looking for.)

Three - Will the major Corporations continue to allow google (or any search engine) to dictate and control their online presence, like google does with smaller sites and they are trying to do with BMW?

Four - Waiting for the Cooperate backlash against google.

Five - If all the Fortune Five Hundred Corporations banned googlebot who would be the first to cry 'Uncle', Google or the F500 Corporations? (added - Danny pointed out two good examples of this in his last post.)

In other words, who benifits the most with the current arrangement? The owner of the content or some company that makes finding that Companies content convenient for users?

Last edited by BradBristol : 02-06-2006 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 02-06-2006   #9
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from an end user point of view when you search for BMW Germany BMW.com is #1 and from that site is a drop down menu to choose what country or region you require so the visitor would be non the wiser that BMW.de is not listed and still got to what they search for
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Old 02-06-2006   #10
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Mick that is because your in the states.

Take a look at this search,

http://www.google.de/search?q=bmw
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Old 02-06-2006   #11
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Get real. Anyone searching for BMW is going to either google bmw, or just type into the addr bar: bmw or www .bmw.com, which will take them to BMW International.

The key element here is the spamming of "used car" etc to redirect to BMW. That's clearly not legal, the way BMW were doing it.

I have to say, I am not surprised, given the Spamming of TV by the car companies!
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Old 02-06-2006   #12
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Quote:
Get real.
I take it that was directed at me... In response I say, get knowledge.

Last edited by BradBristol : 02-06-2006 at 02:01 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-06-2006   #13
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No I am in the UK Brad, if you type bmw on google.com or .co.uk BMW.com is number one

thats all I was saying, lets not forget the end user who is the most important person to all of us in terms of getting them to visit our sites got what they searched for

donelson...I take it you was not refering to me when you said "get real"...was you ?
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Old 02-06-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradBristol
I take it that was directed at me... In response I say, get knowledge.
No, I was not replying to you. Now get real ;-)

(Editted: my comments were just for general discussion)
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Old 02-06-2006   #15
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very interesting topic, Chris. I particularly agree with your highlighting of the following:

Quote:
Quote:
I expect that Google’s webspam team will need a reinclusion request with details on who created the doorway pages

Looks like Google are serious about going for the source of the strategy......
Does this mean that Google definitely will not reinclude them unless they divulge the information related to "who told them how?" Hmmm seems funny that they would ask for that, especially since the are such protectors of information themselves. I would openly wonder if BMW and Ricoh were to remove the redirects without divulging the source of the tactic, if they would be re-indexed.

If not, could this suggest that one method to get a site reindexed more quickly is to narc on someone?
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Old 02-06-2006   #16
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I agree Mick, bmw.com is showing up in most english speaking data centers.

But BMW is a German Brand with their main offices in Germany and making BMW disapear in the .de search is sending a clear message to BMW... fall in line or be removed, at least that is what I get out of it.



<added>
Quote:
Hmmm seems funny that they would ask for that
I don’t think so. Matt has his spam sword all polished up.

Whenever a method or technique comes to light that google has trouble spotting and dealing with or when google feels its face has been slapped they usually pull out all the stops going for the source and any networks that maybe involved.

Last edited by BradBristol : 02-06-2006 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 02-06-2006   #17
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Get real. Anyone searching for BMW is going to either Google BMW, or just type into the addr bar: BMW or www .bmw.com, which will take them to BMW International.

The key element here is the spamming of "used car" etc to redirect to BMW. That's clearly not legal, the way BMW were doing it.

I have to say, I am not surprised, given the Spamming of TV by the car companies!
I wish it were so. But sadly it isn't. Anyone who has done tech support, or watched others surf the web knows just how few people know how to use a web browser.

A large percentage of people don't realize they can type URLs directly into the address bar. On several of my sites, the # 1 search term is the domain name, from people typing it into the search engine instead of the address bar.

I agree with Danny. The end user does not care why BMW was banned, just that they can't find them. The end user will ultimately look for another search engine.

It is good that Google is using the same rule book with the big guys, however, it will be interesting to see who can push harder.
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Old 02-06-2006   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradBristol
I don’t think so. Matt has his spam sword all polished up.

Whenever a method or technique comes to light that google has trouble spotting and dealing with or when google feels its face has been slapped they usually pull out all the stops going for the source and any networks that maybe involved.
I have to wonder about that, Brad. Look at all the sites that have been reported to Google that still show up #1 in the rankings. Also, many would say that Matt himself "sleeps with the devil" when at conferences and so-forth, but we have rarely heard of known manipulators of the system being penalized. If Google is so against such tactics, why have they not spoken up in defense of Aaron Wall in the TP sucks saga?
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Old 02-06-2006   #19
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Look at all the sites that have been reported to Google that still show up #1 in the rankings.
Ya, I own a bunch of them, some of them even deserve, in my opinion, to be where they are.

Quote:
we have rarely heard of known manipulators of the system being penalized.
I hear about it all the time, just not on forum boards.

Quote:
why have they not spoken up in defense of Aaron Wall in the TP sucks saga?
Being for one thing does not make you against something else. Besides, google's Lawyers would have a cow, if someone inside google were to make a public comment about an ongoing court case where they are involved.

Last edited by BradBristol : 02-06-2006 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 02-06-2006   #20
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Originally Posted by vayapues
The end user does not care why BMW was banned, just that they can't find them.
My point exactly; you CAN still find BMW easily via Google (at least in the UK and USA). Just not by typing in "used cars".
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