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Gaming Google? Better Watch Out...

In a rather high profile move, Google has once again signalled its lack of tolerance for
dissent websites who attempt to game Google search results. Recently, the Germany website of car maker BMW was removed from the Google index because of its nefarious use of code.

Google engineer Matt Cutts highlighted the removal on his website, and noted that BMW wasn't the only European car maker using sly techniques. Ricoh's German website was also de-listed from similar reasons.

A comparison posted by Cutts between what the user sees and what the search engine sees shows a massive difference; the latter sees a page of keywords, and the former sees a shiny beamer. Users went through a javascript 'gateway' meaning they wouldn't have noticed the alternative content. Cutts said the difference was 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

The practice, known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), involves a number of tricks to improve a sites listing on search engines. Some are approved, and some are not. Google had previously focused on English language SEO, but has recently turned its eye to foreign sites. Google prides itself on the quality of its index, and can't afford to have sites muddle it up. If you're playing with SEO, you'd better watch out. A de-listing from Google is a serious event, in a day and age where the search engine directs traffic, and revenue.

View: Matt Cutts Blog

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