May 3, 2007
I Busted Google & Volkswagen Plus They Admitted It
This afternoon, I wrote about how Volkswagen was spamming Google.
Now it was funny, because Danny and I were chatting on the Daily Search Cast and we were talking about how the Google Enterprise blog featured Volkswagen's web site as using their search service smack in the middle of their site.
Deal is, while Danny was chatting, he noticed that Volkswagen was spamming Google by hiding text. Basically, the Volkswagen site did not show text that was found within the site code. I.e. Only Google saw the text but me or you as a human did not.
This clearly goes against Google's quality guidelines and can result in a site being banned from their index.
Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
So Google actually acknowledge Volkswagen's wrong doing;
Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land pointed out that the VW of America site that I previously blogged about was including site keywords in an invisible div layer on site pages, which is not in keeping with Google site quality guidelines. I reached out to the technical director of VW's creative agency and found out that they were including the keywords in this manner to increase the amount of content crawled by the Google Search Appliance for the Flash-based pages of the site. Once alerted to this, VW switched to including relevant keywords in the META data in the of the web pages on the site, an approach that is in keeping with Google quality guidelines. Thanks to Barry for pointing this out and to VW for being so responsive to the issue.
Nice, so Volkswagen gets personalized Google support for this and will not be deindexed from Google. Nice to know people in high places, I guess. :)
In any event, I am happy Google responded to this report. I am not really to thank for this, Danny is. He spotted it and asked me to write about it. But I don't mind taking the credit. Thanks Danny!