BMW.de Blacklisted by Google

February 6, 2006

Topics: Blogging.

In case anybody ever might have thought that Google wasn’t serious about condemning unethical SEO practices, Matt Cutts, a senior search engineer at Google, mentioned yesterday that Google had blacklisted two major sites – BMW.de, which they had already removed from their index, and Ricoh.de, soon to go the way of the dodo.

This news, in itself, I didn’t think much about – both sites were clearly making use of questionable techniques, serving doorway pages loaded heavily with the key phrases. (I do recommend taking a look at the post, however, to see the difference between the pages served to the search engine and that served to a human visitor!)

Today, however, the London paper Times Online has reported on this blacklisting – and I wanted to mention a few things about their article.

Matt Cutts, a blogger claiming to be a Google software engineer, wrote that the company appeared to have used underhand practices to ensure that searches for BMW and "gebrauchtwagen" used cars — would return the carmaker’s website first.

The practice — known as search engine optimisation — is frequently used by webmasters. But engineers at Google are said to have taken exception to the methods apparently being used by BMW in Germany.

"Matt Cutts, a blogger claiming to be a Google software engineer" – did this article do any research? I have to wonder, since this is something which is pretty easy to demonstrate! Unless he has also managed to spoof the official Google Blog into
believing it, too.

I also have to take some exception to the description of what BMW did being called search engine optimization. A bit more information here, please! Although it’s true that there are parts of the lesser SEO industry who would consider keyword spamming and doorway pages to be SEO, the greater opinion would clearly state that this is unethical! It’s hardly good for the reputation of the industry to have newspapers making statements like this. I just hope that this perception of the SEO industry doesn’t continue to percolate. In the early years of SEO, this was much more common – but the industry has matured as the internet has matured.

In lighter news, the official Google Blog mentioned today that you could download all the Superbowl Ads you missed from Google Video today! Great news for those who are less than passionate about football – but enjoy the brilliant ads that go along with it!

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