Recent reinclusions

I appreciate BMW’s quick response on removing JavaScript-redirecting pages from BMW properties. The webspam team at Google has been in contact with BMW, and Google has reincluded bmw.de in our index. Likewise, ricoh.de has also removed similar doorway pages and has been reincluded in Google’s index.

As I’ve discussed before, Google will be expanding its efforts on webspam in non-English languages this year. Just as a reminder, Google’s quality guidelines have been available for several years in many languages:

We also provide general webmaster information in many languages (from French to Russian and many languages in between), as well as specific guidelines on researching search engine optimization (SEO) companies. As always, if you see webspam in Google’s index, our spam report form is the best place to let us know.

197 Responses to Recent reinclusions (Leave a comment)

  1. This goes to show how quickly Google can turn a website upside down and right side up. I’m sure it’s a lesson learned and a big one for that fact. I heard about this on CNN before I even read it online.

    Was this re-submitted to the index after a normal reinclusion request was sent?

    Thanks for the update Matt

  2. phil

    I’m still wondering if I put metarefreshes in my old site on .mac to point people (and googlebot) toward my new site (changed server) will this hurt me in terms of SEO?

    can’t do a 301 from .mac.

    thanks

  3. Kirby

    I thought one had to wait 30 days to get back in?

  4. I just submitted a report a few hours ago about this little website. (never seen something like this before, actually)

    I truly hope this removel works out quick, as in did in the past, for my other reports :)

    Thanks for sharing crucial info’s Matt.

  5. Not wait 30 … It’s actually 30 until the removal is not possible anymore :) (or similar)

  6. Tony Hill, yes, we processed a reinclusion request.

    phil, if you can’t do a 301 from the old site, I would go with a page that says “This site has moved here” with a link to the new location. I’ll pass the feedback on to the Sitemaps team, because some sort of functionality like that would be useful. I can’t promise how they’d prioritize it, though.

  7. Matt – helpful to all would be correct procedure to follow when pages reappear in index after URL and/or robots.txt exclusion.

  8. Vic

    This is an extremely interesting topic. Question: If you have a flash site for example, and since the engines do not rank them effectively enough right now, and allow the search engines to see the exact content in HTML version to be indexed better, but allow human viewes to see the flash site, would that be considered a violation of the google guidelines? Meaning, same content, different format.

  9. Dave

    Matt, are mom & pop sites treated EXACTLY the same when they are dumped from Google’s index?

    Why not name to ‘so called’ SEO business that did this? To me, that’s FAR, FAR more important that showing us only the end result.

  10. Dave, usually we haven’t “anti-recommended” specific SEO companies. I’ll pass that feedback on, though; in some situations, I think it would be helpful to do that.

  11. I think it’s great to see Google sticking to its principles (read: guns), and the speed with which spam reports are being enacted upon is commendable, but I can’t help but wonder if BMW’s profile helped them get re-included quicker than a mom and pop site who unknowingly hired a blackhat SEO.

    It took less than a week for bmw.de to be removed from and then reincluded back into Google’s index – can everyone expect the same treatment, or did BMW (and Ricoh) jump the queue?

    On another note, Matt, if you have a moment can you please tell someone that the wildcard function in Google’s robots.txt guidelines doesn’t seem to be working. I submitted a robots.txt with a wildcard line via the automatic removal tool and it told me there was an error with my file (I guarantee you there wasn’t, I followed the guidelines perfectly). I’ve seen people complaining about this in other forums, and I sent a note to Google myself, but haven’t heard back…

    Cheers,
    Matt

  12. Hi Matt,

    BMW.de goes out and back into the index in less than a week, plus it gets a complete, black&white assessment of what’s wrong with the site, courtesy of the Matt Cutts no less.

    Can small sites without BMW’s financial clout expect comparable treatment from Google or can we consider this as just another newsworthy case study?

    All the best,
    Marc

  13. Aaron Pratt

    blah blah blah

  14. Dave

    Thanks Matt. Personally I would LOVE to see a list of black hat SEO companies.

    I would also LOVE to see Google take a top down approach (target SEO companies) rather than a bottomn up (target the resulting web site).

    BTW, do I take no answer on my first question as BMW has been given preferential treatment?

  15. Kirby

    Looking at the cache, the date I see is 1/28/2006, prior to being removed. Did they have to be re-spidered prior to be included?

  16. Steelbank

    How convenient for BMW to be in touch with google. How exactly does the average webmaster get in touch with google? How often is the regular webmaster told why their site has been taken out of the google index? How quickly (or delayed) is the re-inclusion of banned sites?

    While I think examples should be made of more high-profile users like BMW.de, I dont think google is sending the right message by giving preferential treatment to those major establishments when they violate TOS that everyone else MUST abide by.

    If TOS are actually meant to be enforced, google should enforce them unilaterally and unequivcally not arbitrarily…

  17. Matt,

    My site has been out of the serps since the jagger update. I belive it was due to a duplicate content penaly for www and non-www version.

    Accidental scew up = over 3 month sandbox
    Bmw.de gets caught cloaking = deindex for 1 week

    Matt, call me crazy but where is the logic???

    How did BMW get this kind of service and how can everyone else get the same?

  18. SpamHound

    Have to agree that while it is good BMW cleaned it up quickly, they should of at least been excluded for the standard 30 day minimum just out of prinicipal.

    I don’t think a smaller site would of made it back in so quickly so this does show that Google favors better known sites.

  19. Wolfie

    Some sites disappear forever without diagnosis from google. I think that this high flier sites are getting favored treatment.

  20. Just read the article on BBC news and decided to drop by. It’s amazing a such huge company uses this “old” misleading way of doing the business anno 2006. I understand the car companies are going through a ruff times lately, but you don’t have to be a genius to see someone destoying your company website… I wonder how could they let it come that far? If someone has a money, then it’s BMW. Let’s hope they spend it better way the next time.

  21. gomer

    I think this shows how every website is not equal in Google’s eyes. There have been many webmasters who have gone unheard for many months without any response. I am confident that BMW had the privledge of two way communication with Google. Totally bogus if you ask me. I wonder when other webmasters will see Matt Cutts posting on his site that their site has been reincluded.

  22. While the speed and terms of the reinclusion certainly deserve proper consideration, I’ll try to get past it; will bmw.de face special filters for new content? Like a probationary period?

  23. Marc, I’ve given several reviews of other sites in the growing series of concrete examples of “SEO Advice” and “SEO Mistakes”. Kirby/Spamhound, not all penalties are 30 days. For example, if site doesn’t rank well for algorithmic reasons, then if a site changes, our algorithms will change the scoring automatically when the data is computed in the next iteration.

    Our main goal has to be to give the most relevant results to our users; there is currently a trade-off between taking action to remove spam from our index vs. removing sites that lots of users look for with navigational queries. In my mind, the most scalable, robust direction to move in is to provide tools like Sitemaps and the webmaster console that allow everyone to diagnose and debug as much information as possible with their site. As we introduce features like the robots.txt checker, that helps every website owner equally, whether it be a mom and pop website or Nissan, Metallica, or the California DMV (all of which have had robots.txt issues in the past).

    S.E.W., to your points 1&2, the doorway pages were at the root level–there wasn’t a single subdirectory or subdomain that could be snipped to remove the doorway page. To your question 3, knowing the background/timeline of how pages outside our guidelines occurred is really helpful to help gauge the situation and whether more pages will reappear in the future.

  24. gomer, you said “There have been many webmasters who have gone unheard for many months without any response.” That’s exactly why we’ve been working on programs like emailing webmasters when we find quality violations on their sites. But if you’ve got other things you think Google should be doing, I’d give the feedback in this post.

  25. Vic, it’s a pretty common idiom to have a Flash site and then provide a text version of a site; I wouldn’t worry about anything like that.

  26. <rant>

    I normally don’t make it a point to criticize another’s posting, since for the most part the people on here, while often in disagreement, present viewpoints and original thoughts on a story or idea posed in the blog that are generally pretty helpful (sardonic or otherwise).

    But I do have an objection to a lot of the bizarre and borderline evangelical rants posted by Search Engines Web. Besides being somewhat incoherent, they are often littered with accusations lacking any kind of supporting evidence or documentation (see point 2) and/or general complaints designed to incite.

    I’m not for censorship, but what does allowing that on your blog really accomplish? At best, it makes you look kind of bad for allowing it. And at worst, it has the potential to hurt your employer, should anyone take it seriously.

    For those who would point out that most people wouldn’t take SEW’s rantings seriously, I concede that. My problem is if someone did, and that someone then told someone else, and so on and so on…

    </rant&gt

    Now, back to the issue of the BMW.de reinclusion.

    I personally would have to take the side of those who disagreed with the idea to let the site back in with relative expediency, albeit not for the same reason.

    My problem with the situation is that either you or Google, and to be perfectly honest I’m not sure which party is ultimately responsble, decided to use it as public example and therefore take advantage of the BMW name. While this isn’t the first time you’ve used your blog to post an example of a spammer, I have to believe you were aware that this particular story would spread and become a hot news item. And I also have to believe you were aware of the potential publicity this would have gotten.

    The good thing about selecting sites that aren’t necessarily big-business websites is that it gives webmasters of those sites, people who may not know better, the opportunity to correct what may well have been inadvertent mistakes.

    By the same token, BMW certainly has the resources to hire SEO firms who [b]should[/b] know better, and the ability to audit their performances. Obviously they didn’t, but that’s something for Google and BMW to deal with.

    I don’t really have a problem with the ban, or the reinstatement. My problem is with the high-profile nature of the offending website and owner of it, and the public example it was used for.

  27. Just reading these comments, I find it interesting that many people focus on the fact that BMW got “special” treatment.

    Well, they did. Google publicly identified them, called them spammers and banned the site. This made headlines worldwide.

    That is WAY more harsh than what happens to “the little guy”, who just quietly gets removed and deals with the mess without being the focus of an international media frenzy.

    It seems only right that by treating BMW and Ricoh more harshly due to their prominence, that the reinclusion issue is dealt with equally quickly and, lets face it, publicly as well.

    Carrot and Stick.

    This wasn’t so much about spam fighting on a site by site basis (which goes on quietly all the time) but about a very effective, public demonstration of the boundries to the corporate world.

    Frankly, I don’t even think it’s a message to SEO’s and webmasters (they usually already know) – it’s a message to the management and executives. Those guys usually don’t respond to emails or guidelines, they only respond to something that makes them look bad to the shareholders, customers or directors.

    Having said all of that, I note with some irony with BMW’s share price rose steadily during this whole thing, so I’m not exactly crying for them…

    Ian

  28. Adam, suffice it I have newfound respect for all the people who run forums and really nail the aspect of getting a community right. There’s some really interesting similarities between Search Engines Web and this fellow who keeps submitting stories to Slashdot. Something I can’t quite put my finger on..

  29. Jab

    That was realy poor. I cannot even imagine, that you wanted such a result. Google is so big, you guys should act more honest!
    Honesty is the best policy.

    Google will get a lot of Newspostings like this:
    http://www.jabz.biz/marketing-news.php?news=57&head=BMW%20SPAMS%20GOOGLE&action=detail

  30. Dave

    RE: “That is WAY more harsh than what happens to “the little guy”, who just quietly gets removed and deals with the mess without being the focus of an international media frenzy.”

    I don’t believe so at all. Imagine any of us mom & pop sites being given media coverage World wide! Bad publicity is still publicity.

    I myself find it hard to believe that money was not invloved.

  31. Dmitry

    I wonder how Google will treat pages that provide different content for different browsers. For example, right now I develop a site that uses ajax if browser supports it. If browser does not support ajax, plain html is used. According to Google guidelines this is bad because Google crawler (which does not support ajax) will see it differently than any other modern browser). I wonder if my new site will be punished…

  32. Ben

    Do BMW happen to be a (large-budget) AdWords customer by any chance Matt?

    Off-topic, but any word on the next toolbar pagerank update?

  33. Thanks Matt for letting us know what’s going on with Google & the international market. I would love it if you could even give a small comment on why IDN domains (multilingual domains) don’t show Google PR. They are already natively showing up in SERPS but we found only 2 old IDN sites that have PR. The newer ones that don’t have PR aren’t redirects either. They are the sites only domain with backlinks & no PR after almost more than half a year.

    This would mean so much…

  34. Ben, I don’t know and it wouldn’t matter. No idea when the next toolbar PageRank update is. I’m guessing that the Bigdaddy changes might cause the PageRank update to come later.

    Olney, I’m pretty sure that IDNs can have PageRank internally. My guess is that toolbar PageRank might not show, but that the urls do have PageRank in the index.

  35. Adam, suffice it I have newfound respect for all the people who run forums and really nail the aspect of getting a community right.

    I’ll drink to that. And if you ever make it to Toronto, I’ll buy you a round of your favourite too.

  36. Whoops…meant to quote your statement. Guess it didn’t take.

  37. Big G

    Matt,

    you’ve said, “As always, if you see webspam in Google’s index, our spam report form is the best place to let us know”.

    I’ve often sended a spam report to Google about a (I think so) real big spamnetwork, but it seems no one cares (sorry for my bad English, if something is wrong).

    E.G. there is a spamnetwork with more than 20 domains, all with nearly the same content, just one site that links to the major domain and to some of the other domains. The major domain uses – like BMW did – JavaScript forwarding and keywordspam. I’ve reported it surely five times. Nothing happens, and that for months.

    I begin to believe that it’s okay to build a lot of spamdomains just to push one domain.

    So why should I help Google with spamreports, when no one cares ?

  38. I would say BMW have done very nicely out of this. All the media attention would be generating at least as much traffic as google would, not entirely unlike a slashdotting for BMW Germany. Perhaps we will see lots of SEOs driving around in BMWs soon…

    I just don’t see 4 days removal being a suitable penalty. Little websites have to work extra hard to compete with giants like BMW with much much less budget. It doesn’t seem reasonable that despite obvious financial advantages, the big players are operating on a different set of rules to everyone else.

    I’m just not sure the right message is being sent here.

    PS. If the little sites are being told exactly what the issue is with their site and re-included a few days after fixing the problem and filing a re-inclusion request then I apologise. I just assumed this isn’t the case.

  39. Thanks Matt
    I guess internally you guys see more than we can.
    We’ve been checking different IDN sites in various language for 4 months & only ran into 2 that clearly show Google PR the rest we can’t see it anyway we try to check, from the punycode, from the native domain, from various site tools.

    Love it if you guys make them appear sometime this year when these domain go full bloom. Thanks for the reply. Just trying to keep ya guys international new school.

  40. Guess it was the shortest Google ban in history? I knew it won’t last with such a big boy, but such an obvious violation of Google’s own reinclusion procedure is truly disgusting. Unless, of course, I missed a “VIP reinclusion service” (constant contact with the webspam team, personal manager, free champagne etc) somewhere on Google’s site.

    It would be excellent if someone of those superattentive members of the [quote]webspam team at Google[/quote] could spare few minutes of their precious time and take a look at my site, – 5 months of unexplained ban. Sorry, no transnational corps here… even no biz at all, just a “do-not-evil” free online service… nevertheless, I’m ready to paypal few bucks to anyone (at Google or elsewhere) who could point out any spam technique on my site or whatever reason G might have to ban me.

  41. Dmitry

    I am also quite disappointed by Google. We have a site in our country (Latvia) about children, falimy and pregnancy. The most visited site in out country on this topic. The most popular. Thousands of hits daily. Many references from various pages. Valid HTML. But on each and every search Google shows various small or outdated pages that did not cover topics that we cover in much grater details.

    We tried to understand why it happens but gave up. People know about our site, we get at least 50 new people dayli for last two months. It is enough for us even without Google.

    Google sometimes is very disappointing when it comes to international searches.

    I also speak Russian and Google is nowhere near in search relevancy to russian’s search engine named Yandex.

    Sometimes I think that Google search technology really sucks.

    Sorry, did not want to offend anyone.

  42. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ = Google Listing for certain

    Google = not evil
    $$$$$$ = not evil

    Sorry, this is just NOT what I would have expected from Google. By giving equal treatment to all sites (bad bad BMW to do hidden text / redirects) but not following up, you’re setting another bad example. What kind of legal letter did you guys get from BMW? I hear BMWs are popular on the Google campus?

    Sorry, stuff like this really makes me mad.

    And to think that the guy who you caught hiding text on a local forists site: “To the SEO that did this to a mom and pop florist site: after your site is removed from Google’s index, your reinclusion process is going to be.. difficult.” — but BMW running full doorway pages, “high quality SEO”, with probably tons of traffic gets a WEEK? HUH!?

  43. Pico_Train

    I agree with JohnMu. The playing field is not level. :(

  44. Ben

    Google is cleaning up spam in other places! The AdSense guys have done something about whIOs.sc (note: it’s whIOs, not whOIs) showing Google ads next to Yahoo ones on pages that are empty except ads. YPN has nothing on you guys, they haven’t even got around to a feedback button yet. :)

    The AdSense guys also sent me a follow up email about the complaint I made about http://www.webproperty.ca/dedicatedhosting_services.html, which is the same trick as the whios site.

    Mat, will you be publicly outing some of the ‘major spammers’ at any stage? The sites that you’ve focused on to date, while they’re by any definition spamming Google, are not the ones pumping truckloads of generated-by-scrapers pages into Google for the purpose of generating revenue through Google/other ad services.

    It’d be much more fun to get a lame spammer dugg, slashdotted and internationally poked fun at. It’d also send a pretty clear message to the rest of them if one publicly had his AdSense account shut down & all his sites delisted.

  45. Mistah

    As someone whose completely whitehat site has been out of the Google SERPS since August, I can’t help feeling a little bit cheesed off out about BMW’s special treatment. I submitted a reinclusion request in November, but haven’t recieved a reply, even to tell me if there is something wrong with my site. I realise that Google probably get thousands of such requests every day, but it sends out the wrong signal to give special treatment to BMW. I’d give my right arm just to know what Google thinks is wrong with my site, let alone instant reinclusion.

  46. How to find major spammers? Find one, query the adsense database -> presto list of all sites that spammer runs. It’s a 15 minute job (max), if you have access to the database.

    Why isn’t it done? Why wait until each and every site that spammer runs is reported? The only logical reason I can think of is M O N E Y. Google could of course prove me wrong, I’d LOVE for them to prove me wrong. Make it hard for spammers / scrapers to make a big buck off of Adsense and you’ll find 90% of the web spam disappears. Adsense is one of the major driving factors for webspam, and a big money maker for Google at the same time.

    Scraped content + Adsense = more money for Google than legitimate content without Adsense.

    But I’m sure if we give Matt + Co. enough time, they’ll figure that one out as well. It’s easy to complain :-)

  47. Sim

    It seems BMW france still has some doorway pages, http://www.bmw.fr/bmw-voitures-automobiles/auto-occation-bmw-serie-3.htm (disable java and scroll down, normal visitors dont see that )

  48. Hey Matt, BMW were reincluded far too quickly, in my opinion. The pages haven’t been re-indexed in the meantime, so they are in the Google cache for all to see complete with all that spam, and presumably still benefitting from it in terms of the judgements of relevance the algorithm makes. The reinclusion should only have happened once the site had be rei-ndexed without the spam.

  49. Ian do you really think that being pinged for webspamming or search engine spamming led to one less sale for BMW?

    Come on man – 99.9% of BMW buyers couldn’t care less if BMW was caught doing the wrong thing on Google. All those people care about is having a nice shiny BMW in their driveway.

    All that’s happened here is that once again Google has proven that there’s a rule for the big guys and a rule for the rest of us.

    I find that rather sad really because I was once stupid enough to think that Google was pretty cool but now they’re just another company who has rules that they enforce when it suits them.

  50. Its good to see them back in – It would be also nice to have a website which listed all the websites that are banned in that way you can make sure your website is in fact banned.

  51. Kilroy

    BMW has been reindexed. And then what?
    I doubt they will be able to rank with the pages that are still listed.

    Has any of you tried to browse their website with javascript disabled?
    All you get is error messages and warnings. Besides, it has frames.

    The website is not search engine friendly at all, like many other car-maker websites.
    This is the reason why they hire SEO companies. But these generally have no way to influence the website design (which is obviousely only handled by marketing services) and make it search engine friendly. They work with what they have and thus have no solution but to work beside their client’s website… with doorway pages.

    What has happened to BMW will certainly have interesting consequences:
    - SEO companies customers will look more closely to what has been done to their websites and ask them for other solutions
    - Only SEO companies able to do more than mere doorway pages will be able to adapt themselves to the news situations
    - Large companies will take search engines into consideration when creating new websites and SEO companies advice for website design will eventually be taken into account.
    - Companies having websites totally search engine unfriendly will be obliged to have them redesigned. Companies using totally search engine unfriendly CMS will have no choice but to abandon them if they want to be listed.

    This is probably a painful move, but it had to be done. It will benefit the white hat SEO companies and consultants and give work to a lot of people redesigning websites that need trafic.

  52. Looking at it objectively.I guess that BMW is a major website with high volume viewing/traffic, and so it would be reasonable to reinclude it according to Google’s policy of providing the world’s information, once the problems with the site had been solved.

    Looking at the bread and butter sites [UK for Mom and Pop!], ln terms of their viewing/traffic figures in comparison to that of BMW, perhaps they are not considered of the same stature, importance wise, to be reincluded quickly once a problem is solved.

    In other words, the percentage of the viewing public affected by the removal of a small site would be much less than that of a major brand site.

  53. Thu

    It seems to me that the people who are upset at the quick reinclusion are reacting as vengeful/spiteful webmasters rather than regular users who want relevant information.

    As a user, I think this was handled as well as could be. BMW.de was made a public exampe of so as to get black hat spammers shaking in their shoes. This benefits me as a user to hopefully reduce spam I encounter in the SERP.

    The quick reinclusion means that I as a user would be able to find BMW.de if I were to use google.de. I wouldn’t care that BMW got special treatment because I would expect to find BMW if I’m searching for it. Google would look worse to the searcher if it did NOT show BMW. And we can’t assume that companies own their domain name since Nissan Motors does not own nissan.com, so we can’t always just enter in the address, but search just in case.

    As a webmaster, I can’t and don’t expect to get equal treatment as bmw. I haven’t spent decades building the reputation of my company so that millions of people will miss my site if it got penalized.

  54. Hans

    This re-inclusion is disgusting.

    It gives a VERY bad light to Google even if i don’t wonder…
    Maybe Google should write to webmasters BEFORE exclusion?
    Wouldn’t that be good?

    Tell the webmasters:
    We found spamm techniques on your site, it will be punished for exactly 4 weeks, remove everything spam, your site will be reviewed ONCE, if still violating rules it will be the normal re-inclusion process.

    This whole thing STINKS!

    Hans

  55. Somebody should advice BMW to find a real SEO to do their site. What a disaster that site is now from an SEO point of view. Why do people tend to always go for difficult solutions?

  56. Thu, I think you’re seeing it too lightly — just because it is a well-known brand does not make their content more valuable than any Mom+Pop store. Either there is a rule or there isn’t one.

    If they treat them specially for reinclusion (I guess a BMW-guy called some favors with buddies that now work for Google?), what is to stop them from treating them differently when it comes to search results / ranking? Isn’t it the same already?

  57. NetSniper

    i was shocked thats going so fast for bmw with the reinclusion. if you have a private page, you have to wait month, years and more, but no chance.

    is this okay?

    i have buy a webproject in google. i woundered after 2 weeks, thats no way going, thats the domain listet in goole. a seo friend give me the information, that the domain are kicked in google and i must start a reinclusion request.

    okay, i have not do anything bad in the past with this domain – i´m the new owner – but now – after 3 months – i don´t have any response from google for my mails or filled out reinclusion requests formulars.

    i´m only a privat person and not bmw – i understand – google is buyable :(

    is this okay, that users and webmaster that to believe about google? buyable?

  58. Fred

    So while an average webmaster whose site has been dumped can send mails to google for monthes and never get an answer, a big international company is being warned of what is wrong with their site and reincluded in a week time.

    Don’ be evil… unless you have big money

  59. Frank

    Hi together,

    it’s a good thing Google is demonstrating his “activity” with such a big name like BMW. Unfortunately many other webmasters (with small and medium sized websites) don’t have a partner to talk to at google when kicked out of the index. All they can do is write a stupid reinclusion request wich (my experience) doesn’t even get answered. And also my experience is that it doesn’t matter if you own the biggest site for a specific topic in your language – you won’t get any chance to find out why you got kicked and also don’t get any chance for a feedback how to get back in.

    I see the importance of removing spam and i also support this. But on the other hand it would be very appreciated if google could find a way to support the webmaters a bit more.

    @Matt: is there any ‘trick’ or something one must know to get feedback from google? I’m not talking about a 3-visits-a-day-page here :)

  60. Vic

    Hi Matt, that’s cool, but what if the site redirects google bot to the html version, and redirects users to the flash site through some backend scripts that detect user agents. Would that be considered tricking the google bot? Cheers!

  61. Mike

    I can see BMW again into serps, but automobile.de I cant see?
    Why? automobile.de has doorways also already removed

    And why you dont used a algo for spam search?
    Example:
    “SELECT TAB WHERE CONTENT = ‘http-equiv=”refresh”‘ or CONTENT = ‘top.location.href=’”

    We in Germany like hidden text for spamming. That folds perfectly.

  62. For those of you still playing “Whodunnit”: Hints are here.

  63. I haven’t read all the comments, so I don’t know if this has been mentioned already, but Google MUST treat big name companies differently to other outfits. They don’t really have much choice. If people search for “bmw”, and they don’t find the BMW site listed, it’s bad for Google because the results are bad for people, and people will go to an engine that *can* produce good results. Search engines need big name companies like BMW in the index more than those companies need the search engines. The power is on the other side.

    To my way of thinking, we have learned something from the BMW event – that big name companies must be treated differently by the engines. It’s something that often crops up in the form of criticisms, and this event seems to have answered it. It’s in the engines’ best interests to get big companies to stop spamming and keep them in the index, and I don’t think that we have anything to complain about with that.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if BMW started with all the spam again? Would they get a second chance? The rest of us wouldn’t. I don’t think the engines have much choice but to bend over backwards to keep them in the index, but it would be interesting to see what would happen ;)

  64. Thanks for clarifying some issues.

    BTW, how much is this action cost to Mercedes ? Sorry, kidding.

  65. A Brother

    Hi, Matt, first of all, I’m from germany and I came across this site, because a friend of my family told me, maybe you can help with this:

    Some weeks ago, my junger sister (12) have to write an essay about dessert vegatations.
    She used google image search for finding some nice pictures about “kaktus” and found ranked on the first place this picture:
    http://images.google.de/images?q=kaktus&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&lr=lang_de&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:de:official&sa=N&tab=wi

    She was shocked and me to. My father thought about to write to his senator for “children protection questins” (?), you know this is a very important topic in germany, but i think it’s better to tell you first.

    We wrote to google many times, but we never got an real response, only automeaed emails.

    After all, I think it’s a good way, to keep the google index clean of junk. But please clean up the image search too.

  66. Guys, why bashing that long on that “special threatment” thing? Someone mentioned above “about the decades of building the companies reputation”, which is NOT the case with average webmaster on this discussion board nor elsewhere… The most of us haven’t spend the decades on that reputation thing and have no millions people public either… so I agree with a part of the special threatment, not everything though.

    The main issue here is this: If this can happen to BMW, it can happen to just about any site/company, having money or not! It’s not the issue for how long the site is being banned. The issue is, they made a mistake and the site got banned… The only pathetic part of the story is that this is a such old spamming method, that it surprises me that anyone is still using it, let alone BMW. I expected more from them.

    Whether there was a deal in between Google and BMW, there is 0,001 % chance for us mortals to find that out some day, but is it worth knowing it? Even it is, have in mind that Caesar could have a honderds of women because he was a big guy. And if you want to be that equal, then you have a plenty of work to do.

  67. Nico

    Hi Matt,

    What a fast reinclusion for BMW.de… not very fair compared to others that have been removed for less in the past few months and that are still…
    Please have a look at BMW.fr (France)… it’s almost worse. Full of hidden text and SEO black hat techniques. You should have made a better deal with BMW : reinclusion for BMW.de only if the brand plays the game elsewhere as well.

  68. Adsense is one of the major driving factors for webspam, and a big money maker for Google at the same time.

    That’s precisely why they don’t shut it down. Business2.0 reported last month that 1 spammer alone accounts for over 1% of yahoo’s ad revenue. That’s huge!

    You’re right that it is a problem, Anybody can buy a pre-set up adsense site, with domain and hosting on ebay for under $50 even.

    While it is a big problem, you don’t see these sites ranking in the search results, despite the fact that there are millions of them, and they make google / yahoo way too much money to be shut down.

  69. Websites without a big name needs many years to come back to a fair google search rank position.
    Is it possible to find out, why google has set penalties to a site?
    Is there a website where I can post an URL to get all the internals of google’s database to this URL?

    Thanks a lot
    Mirjana

  70. Molar

    Hi, bmw and ricoh has the same SEO company that made the doorways.
    its Netbooster. Yes a seo company without pagerank!
    this company works also for a big german provider and asp: t-online.de and you will find doorways an cloacking also by t-online:
    http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:jPJzs13Rs5wJ:kinoticket-shop.t-online.de/wolfsburg/index.html+kinoticket+wolfsburg&hl=de&lr=&strip=1

  71. Stacy

    I am new to all this SEO stuff. I am a little bit lost on doorway pages too. Could you tell me if this is a doorway page as Google sees it at http://www.thepurrfectnanny.com/index.htm

    It redirects to our main page, but has content that shows if the redirect doesn’t work. We just don’t want to be banned! Thanks

  72. Mac

    I’m quite displeased to see 250 million portuguese speakers continuously ignored.

    You could combine all italians, polish and korean and wouldn’t get that many people.

    Isn’t bad enough that google works somewhat “flawish” in portuguese language?

    When are we (250 million portuguese speakers) getting better attention from google?

    Sorry to barge in Matt, but there’s no “reclamations book” on google.

  73. If BMW merits special treatment, why don’t they get a quiet mail from Da Boss asking them to withdraw their redirects? Why act like Matt + co. caught the big name company doing little spammer tricks and act like they were going to ban them just like any other spammy site owner? It doesn’t fit.

    Push them out front like any company and treat them that way.
    Keep it quiet and solve the whole issue privately if they’re special.

    Oh well :-). Matt has better things to do than to explain their strategy to us. At least we can see that reinclusions can work fast, if you do it right :D (perhaps BMW is going to run Adsense on their site, ha ha).

    Sorry. *putting on straight face*

  74. Hurti

    What is with http://www.automobile.de?

    They used the same spammethods and are still banned (the mentioned sites are deleted…since weeks)!

    For me this is embarrassing. If you have enough money, you don´t need to send a spamreport. They have a new money detection algo. Mom and pop sites are banned for months and the bigplayers must wait until the we is over.

    Don´t be evil ?!?

  75. “Adsense is one of the major driving factors for webspam, and a big money maker for Google at the same time.”

    That´s nonsense. That´s not caused by Adsense it self but by the fact that you can make money with spamming. What kind of system is used for it is irrelevant.

    Google does hit spam sites whether or not they use Adsense is also irelevant. (At least that´s the impression I have, but I am sure Matt will agree)

  76. Kirby

    I agree with PhilC, it would be even more laughable to not have BMW in your index.

    The issue that many may be missing is the effectiveness of the spam technique. If it is removed, yet BMW regains its position, then the spam didnt do much good then did it? So if it didnt manipulate the results to any great degree, why the fuss and the removal from the index in the first place.

    I know of one site Google removed for hidden text. It ranked #2 for it target query. The site was taken out, he was emailed about the problem, the problem disappeared and the site came back to #2 30 days later.

    Why all the effort to attack a problem that wasnt really a problem if it didnt ever impact the integrity of the results in the first place?

  77. Hey Matt!
    So who do I have to talk to if my site gets kicked from your index?

    Thanks,
    Till

  78. It would be excellent if someone of those superattentive members of the [quote]webspam team at Google[/quote] could spare few minutes of their precious time and take a look at my site, – 5 months of unexplained ban. Sorry, no transnational corps here… even no biz at all, just a “do-not-evil” free online service… nevertheless, I’m ready to paypal few bucks to anyone (at Google or elsewhere) who could point out any spam technique on my site or whatever reason G might have to ban me.

    Forgive me, Matt, for posting a link to the competition, but in this case at least part of the answer reveals itself:

    http://ca.search.yahoo.com/search?p=site%3Apix2fone.com&ei=UTF-8&meta=vc%3D&fl=0&pstart=1&fr=slv1-&b=21

    Looks like you’re guilty of doorway page spamming, and Big G may well have caught it (although the pages in question appear to have been removed since.)

    So how do I get my Paypal money? ;)

  79. Why all the effort to attack a problem that wasnt really a problem if it didnt ever impact the integrity of the results in the first place?

    The same reason we arrest people for attempted murders if the bullets missed their intended targets.

  80. Olney, I probably need to ask someone to take an IDN domain and run it through our entire system and make sure that it works; thanks for the suggestion.

    “It’d be much more fun to get a lame spammer dugg, slashdotted and internationally poked fun at.” Ben, I’ll check on that for you. :) In the mean time, I will continue to point out tactics that people should be aware of.

    Vic, I would avoid doing one behavior for search engines and another for users. The best way to do it (in my opinion) would be to present the Flash page, but to also have a link on that page to the text version. Plenty of regular users would prefer to skip the Flash as well. :)

    Mike, when I checked recently it looked like the content was gone, but the JS redirects might still be happening with automobile.de. I’m going to check on this again though.

    Ryan, I didn’t see that article. Pointer?

  81. Mike

    Hi Matt,

    Sorry, but although this has been a very good PR (and I don’t mean PageRank) excersise, the fact that BMW is back within 2 days with full PageRank and ranking again with the Javascript pages
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22bmw+neuwagen%22&sourceid=mozilla-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official
    is somehow an insult to all those small-time so-called blackhats out there that get a lifetime ban for their domain, no feedback and they don’t go on the BBC saying: However, if Google says all doorway pages are illegal we have to take this into consideration.

    Please Matt, this is an insult to all of us that know what that means

  82. Matt, this reinclusion has definitely upset…no not upset…dissapointed a lot of people by demonstrating inconsistencies in Googles treatment of different businesses.

    Why not update Sitemaps to include:
    1) Notification of what penalties a site/page has
    2) When the penalty ends
    3) ‘Fixed it’ feedback option with an offer of reduced penalty for good behaviour, and so your spam team knows when and which sites/pages to recheck

  83. Mike

    Apologies for the rant, I know that you are here to help, but noone likes double-standards

  84. Tony

    Why do you treat BMW special?

    Other websites which hardly rely on beeing in the Google index
    for their income have to wait many month for reinclusion …

  85. Kirby

    >The same reason we arrest people for attempted murders if the bullets missed their intended targets.

    You missed the point, Adam. These are not bullets, they are blanks. One doesnt get arrested for shooting someone with a water pistol.

    Those tactics clearly had no impact on the results otherwise these sites would’ve been lower in the serps after being reincluded. That surely is one of the justifications for the quick reinclusion of BMW. They belonged there with or without the spam.

    So why the cat and mouse game if the results were ultimately going to be the same? If BMW had taken a Google-like stand and refused to make the changes, would Google really have left one of the world’s major companies out of their index? Would Google sacrifice relevance that would have been undeniably noticeable to the public, just to fight a spam tactic that, to the user, was both unkown and not harmful?

  86. Pico_Train

    Ay ya yay! We are going to go around in circles on this one.

    Yes BMW did wrong.

    Yes they provide extremely important content given the brand they created.

    Yes everyone should be treated the same.

    Yes they got special treatment.

    Yes I love Matt Cutts for his blog and keeping me, little me, up to date with a world of technology that is beyond me.

    Thanks Matt for taking time out of your busy schedule and life to provide us with info.

    You are doing a great job.

    Take care.

    I think you should get yourself another cat. Train it to give the paw. Mine do. I even have a video. Want to see it, let me know and I’ll post it somewhere nice and easy for you.

    Cheers!!

  87. I have the greatest respect for Matt Cutts as I believe that as much as he represents Google, he is also a great intermediary to the Search Marketing Industry. This “ham in the sandwich” role is very difficult for anyone, especially when he is trying his best, IMHO, to help both Google and SEO-SEM’s, while helping the advertisers and search users.

    That said, I really wish the “appearance of” or the reality of actual favoritism to BMW and Ricoh did not happen. This indeed sends the wrong message to SEO’s, and even more importantly to the big brand client-advertisers. These may now say that since I probably will get preferential treatment, why not do “Black Hat” techniques and get as much “distance” out of it as I can. After all, Google thinks my web site to be so important to the search users, that they don’t want it banned for the usual longer time it takes to get reinstated. So “Big Brand” has got everything to gain and little or nothing to lose!

    I personally have seen what “favoritism” can do within a company, or to a company. It is a “cancer”, IMO, that is as bad as a parent who picks one of his children to be his “favorite” while his other children suffer. Therefore, I feel that Google should treat everyone one the same for the exact, specific violation(s) of their guidelines. I also believe that Google should publish a list of SEO companies that have been caught getting their client’s web sites banned (as “Dave” in these comments said). But, have a notation of all the dates that each banning occured, so that these SEO companies can be given a chance to change their strategies. SEO prospects can at least be able to see if it has been a long time since the “Black Hat” tactics were used, or since they were caught.

    As far as Matt saying “Our main goal has to be to give the most relevant results to our users; there is currently a trade-off between
    taking action to remove spam from our index vs. removing sites that lots of users look for with navigational queries.”, my suggestion is for Google to put up an “explanation page” when a site is banned explaining to the search users that the “banning” will hopefully be temporary, and that it was done for the search user’s long term benefit. Giving “tools” to webmasters, SEO’s and mom & pop web site owners is good, but doing that alone is handing over too much of the responsibility away from Google, IMO.

    I believe that last part, since my premise is that the more all SEO people use, or are forced to use (by their client’s competitiveness), programming and analytics directed at the search engines only (“Black Hat”) vs. “Doing everything necessary to improve a website’s performance for it’s target audience.” (Stony deGeyter’s quote from: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com…17&postcount=16 ), the chances of the overall online search user’s experience being good most of the time gets reduced, IMO.” By that I mean that if what Stoney says is true: “White: Honor SE guidelines; Black: “trick” search engines” and “White: Site marketability is important; Black: Top rankings at any cost”, and finally “White: Content driven; Black: Technology driven”, then the sometimes “forgotten”, but most important part of the whole Search Marketing equation (the online search user) MAY (not necessarily) be served something other than the best quality content on the top of the 1st SERP because of programming and analytic techniques.”

    Lastly, Google needs to communicate more clearly, conspicuously, comprehensively, and comprehendably in their “Webmaster Guidelines”, in my opinion, without giving away too much detail of the specifics of their algorithm. For example, this forum thread explains many “White Hat” search engine optimizer’s frustrations = http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=9765 .

  88. I can tell you first hand I do not think BMW has gotten any special treatment. I have seen results within 48 hours of filing a re-inclusion request

  89. You are correct Adam, the pages in question (the sort of picture metasearch my human visitors used heavily) have been actually removed, – in October 2005, to be exact. Could you please shed some light on some guidelines violations the site has at present time? Once you find any, feel free to contact me directly to request your prize.

  90. Ric

    So why should BMW get the special treatment? They were using blatent black-hat SEO so they should be punished. They were lucky to have someone at Google to discuss this with!

    At the other end of the food chain we have to guess what the problem is and then fix it and then wait to see if it makes any difference.

    At least with BMW it was so blatent that they knew what to fix. Our site suddenly picked up a #30-40 site wide penalty. As we thought we were playing by the rules it was not easy to determine what the problem was. So we made a few changes and waited but still no joy.
    So we tried to contact Google no response. We filed a request for reinclusion- still no reply.

    Whilst I am not prepared to exchange body parts for information out of Google I would be mighty pleased/relieved if someone from Google gave me a clue as to what the problems are.

    I guess I need to change the company name to make it sound more important to the Google Gods..

  91. loki

    Matt, i really don’t get your strategy.
    How come you have waited that long to finally DO something.
    How come you have waited that an non Google blog published something about bmw.de to actually DO something.
    How come you have ignored multiple internal escalations of this site since summer ?
    Why ? Do you trust more external sources than your own googlers ?
    Or is it just because you’re searching for fame and only thinking about PRs ? Do they have to wait for your blogging power ?

    And what about all the webmasters that are doing an honest job and still can’t rank properly because the top positions in EU are SPAMMED by big companies for YEARS now ?

    You know what ? You should remove the “escalate” checkbox on EWOK, and replace it by “Submit to Matt’s blog”. I guess that would be way more efficient and fair.

  92. Peter Dillon

    Hello

    I was wondering if you know does the google API run on a seperate/its own datacentre or server?

    Im retrieving wildly different results from using the api for a search on serp or all in title, and doing the same manually in a browser. The difference is big enough to make the api useless.

    Any comments or suggestions/ ideas on getting api results to approx the ‘real’ deal?

    Peter Dillon

  93. Kirby, obviously they do have some sort of impact, or google wouldn’t be working so hard to eliminate spam, and Matt would be out of a job.

    In this case, they didn’t matter because BMW.de would be considered a “vital” site for a german searching for bmw. It wouldn’t matter what was on the page.. as long as it’s the offical BMW homepage, one can assume that a searcher of just “BMW” would be intending to find a BMW site.

    There are many other factors involved in ranking other than keywords on page. Example: Miserable Failure. It doesn’t appear on the page, but he still ranks number one. If Bush added hidden keywords to his biography, he’d still be #1.. remove them, he’d still be #1.

    But the problem is, hidden keywords etc, DO work in many cases. (or people wouldn’t do it, and google wouldn’t try to fight it)

  94. Mike. The results from the Google search URL that you showed, lists the BMW site in the first 2 positions, but the BMW pages that you go to from there are clean – no redirects.

    Maybe you’ve been looking at the cache pages, which are still the spam pages, but the cache system lags behind other parts of the indexing system. It’s too soon for everything to be up to date.

  95. If Google can spot these pages, why can’t it just ignore the tactics? Ignoring them would do a lot better than pointing out that they’re spotted, letting BMW find a new way of “cheating” its way into the serps.

    The main gripe I have with these “public bannings” is
    *) that they show how Google can’t handle these things automatically,
    *) that they must work (or have some influence at least, otherwise Google wouldn’t care), and
    *) that Google can only handle them manually.

    How many million 100% spam domains? How many millions more legitimate sites with spam-tricks? The only way to save manual work would be to create a sense of fear in the black-hat community (or grey hats in these cases) to talk them into cleaning up by themselves.

    Matt, spend more time on algorithms and less on playing pirate :-)

    Once you have kids, Matt, you’ll see that this kind of “training” does not work in the long run.

  96. Pico_Train

    Come on, who wants to see the cats??!!

  97. Fred

    What upsets me the most is this : why do BMW had their diagnostic while others will never ?

  98. Hey Matt,

    I’ve heard this suggestion somewhere in your blog before, and I’m sure it could help you guys a lot. The addition of a new search operator: status

    say for example a search while bmw was out of comission:

    status:bmw.de

    Result:
    Currently in violation of Google’s quality guidelines. Site’s pages won’t appear in search results.

    Violations detected:
    - Doorway pages (linked to an explanation)
    - Keyword stuffing (linked to an explanation)
    (etc…)

    Reinclusion request:
    Problems must be addressed in full. Click here for reinclusion form. (linked to a reinclusion form)

    Actually, now that I think a little more on this, it could become a part of the Sitemaps interface. That would make it far, FAR more interesting and useful than it currently is…

    Regards,

    Luis Alberto

  99. Kirby

    Looks like the SEO that did this site, or at least the one that took credit, is now either PR0 or grey barred and the .com version is out of the index.

    Perhaps we are missing the big picture here. The targets are not the websites, but the SEOs. How would you like to be the guy who has to explain to BMW why they were just made to look like fools?

  100. I would have to say that Luis Alberto’s post here is a definate win-win proposition for google. It would give full disclosure to all webmasters, not just ones who are seo savvy enough to read this blog and other forums on the subject.

    It is an easy way to let webmasters of any type know there is a problem, quickly, easily, and would not take that much code being added to the engine I would think.

  101. Kevin

    “I don’t know and it wouldn’t matter. No idea when the next toolbar PageRank update is. I’m guessing that the Bigdaddy changes might cause the PageRank update to come later.”

    Matt,

    I know (at least I think I do) that the index is driven by a multitude of factors that are exclusive of PR. That being said, do I read this correctly that PR has little or no effect on the SERPs? Any clarification you can give would be greatly appreciated…

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  102. Pico_Train

    Luis Alberto’s way is interesting but at the same time is like coughing up too much information. How many webmasters would push it until they got the boot to find out what triggered the exclusion. Undo the trigger and wa-bam, back in the index as good as can be.

    When your mom has a recipe that is the talk of the town, she doesn’t go around telling everyone, neither does Google.

  103. God only knows why an SEO felt the need to do such a thing for a brand name such as BMW. I mean he’s virtually there.

  104. The webspam team at Google has been in contact with BMW. Yeah, the webspam team calls me immediately whenever I accidentally violate Google’s TOS. They even bought me lunch the other day.

    Give me a break.

  105. Martin

    Overall, I find this a sad day. Very disappointing.

    > As a user, I think this was handled as well as could be. BMW.de was
    > made a public exampe of so as to get black hat spammers shaking
    > in their shoes.

    Why should they be afraid, if it just takes a week to get back on the index?

    The chances of being caught are minimal anyway, as the algorithms are not good enough to even catch the low-tech keyword spamming BMW did, and Google doesn’t employ enough people to process submitted complains adequatly. Example: [ site:mdm.de ] gives 52.000 hits to the VERY SAME content under different URL. Now if that is not duplicate content the guidelines talk about, I don’t know what is.

    Oh, and BMW being victim to a bad SEO?

    Here is their statement:

    We don’t see how it is supposed to be manipulation. We see the redirection through these pages as a service to our visitors. We only get 0.4% of our visitors from Google anyway. So it is not a big deal. So we are quite calm on this matter. But if google wants the pages removed, we will do so.

    Yeah, this really sends a message to the Spamers…

    And given the 0.4%, the “Google cannot afford to not list BMW” argument does not hold water. We do the website for a major German city, and we get > 70% of our visitors through Google. Just persons entering our URL into Google’s search field are about 3%.

    (BTW: I do not buy the 0.4% figure. Either this is a very creative interpretation of the numbers, or they are bluntly lying. And given their history of denying problems they very well know about…)

    Let’s take a look at http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/reinclusion-request-howto/

    How long do you have to wait now? That depends on when Google reviews the request and on the type of spam penalty you have. In the days of monthly index updates it could take 6-8 weeks for a site to be reincluded after a site was approved, and the severest spam penalties can take that long to clear out after an approval. For less severe stuff like hidden text, it may only take 2-3 weeks, depending on when someone looks at the request and if the request is approved.

    Unless you are dandy with the right folks and can give them a call that is.

    Matt, I have hold you in high respect and was in awe that you did not hasitate to kick BMW. But this express treatement when everyone else gets a “we might reinclude you eventually when we have time for this” as per your own statement (and BMW does not even show any signs of remorse), just rode your integrity down to the ground.

    I am deepy disappointed.

  106. I half agree. I mean BMW is older than Google anyway and the 5th biggest brand in Europe, so what they say tends to hold water. But what they say and what they do are two entirely different things. I mean they sharp put it right didn’t they? Brand protection is the key here.

    Its ok BMW saying they don’t need Google and they are not panicking, but isn’t this true of a lot of big brands like Apple, AOL etc..all older than Google, but all paying the dollar when they probably don’t need to. But nevertheless they still do.

    This is the genius that is Google isn’t it! A free search engine that makes billions of $$$$$$’s. whoohahaha!

  107. Vic, be careful with your Flash site. Do not hide any text in any way. We had been using an industry standard Javascript Refresh page to detect for Flash. We put some of our Flash content on it and got banned. It looked like a doorway page. Matts comment that it is ok to set up a non-flash version of your site with identical content is perhaps a little different from what you were asking. Be careful that your text is out in the open and does not look in any way like cloaking.

    And, yea, we certainly did not get the BMW treatment. We got banned in November, fixed it immediately and just got reinstated today…. A high profile website (understandably) gets different treatment.

  108. Valentine

    Shoemoney,

    Think about it. It may be the money. You make a shed load of money with Google which in turn means they do too. It makes commercial sense to get you back in quickly.

    Sadly, money talks!

  109. I realise this is slightly OT from the BMW site info, but talking about Google/reinclusion request and Spam deterants, I was wondering if any improvements on how Google deals with expired domain names were being worked on?

    I just got caught out buying a domain which a found out after I bought it and put the hours into developing it was an expired domain name *weep*. I dont really want to weep about it, because I havn’t done anything wrong, but am now faced with a problem getting the site indexed.

    Is it just acceptable common knowledge that Google don’t index expired domains because of spammers buying them and cloggin up the index with rubbish, or is there something that can determine a genuine purchase from a..well, spammer?

    Please say there is, please say there is….. :D

  110. You are correct Adam, the pages in question (the sort of picture metasearch my human visitors used heavily) have been actually removed, – in October 2005, to be exact. Could you please shed some light on some guidelines violations the site has at present time? Once you find any, feel free to contact me directly to request your prize.

    You’ve got a problem with your redirect for those removed pages. They’re returning a 302 code first, and then a 404 code as they redirect to your custom 404 page.

    #1 Server Response: http://www.pix2fone.com/free-phone-wallpapers/Jennifer-Sky.html
    HTTP Status Code: HTTP/1.1 302 Found
    Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2006 23:12:19 GMT
    Server: Apache/1.3.34 (Unix) mod_log_bytes/1.2 Resin/2.0.5 PHP/5.0.5 mod_ssl/2.8.25 OpenSSL/0.9.7a
    Location: http://www.pix2fone.com/notfound.php
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
    Redirect Target: http://www.pix2fone.com/notfound.php

    #2 Server Response: http://www.pix2fone.com/notfound.php
    HTTP Status Code: HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found
    Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2006 23:12:19 GMT
    Server: Apache/1.3.34 (Unix) mod_log_bytes/1.2 Resin/2.0.5 PHP/5.0.5 mod_ssl/2.8.25 OpenSSL/0.9.7a
    X-Powered-By: PHP/5.0.5
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html

    So, what you appear to be telling a search engine spider is “okay, the page has been temporarily moved, but it may come back, so don’t go away.” It SHOULD present the 404 code (personally, I’d be a tad paranoid and use the 410 code) just to be sure.

    In other words, you’ve removed the pages, but you appear to be suggesting the possibility that they’ll return.

  111. Ronald R

    Slightly off topic here, but I hope you answer this.

    Why is it, that despite the fact that I’ve reported some sites for spamming and hidden text, after they had spammed my blog, nothing was done about any of them?

    How about allowing those who report spam, to leave an e-mail address, with Google giving commitment to e-mail back their findings?

    It makes me wonder if highlighting the re-directs used by BMW.de, is just used as a deterrent, with many of the spam reports just ignored.

  112. Normally, I’m the one bashing Google. But here, I can’t believe you guys are so clueless.

    If BMW goes down for a week, how many cars did they miss selling, how many people did they piss off that tried to email them but couldn’t find their site, how much egg appeared on the prideful German CEO’s Face (They’re big into losing face over there, believe me). Alternatively, how much revenue would a Mom and Pop lose in a week? a month? how about in the next five years compared to BMW’s lost week?

    Google is a business guys. Right now Europe is knda tricky. France and Germany are developing their own Google killing search engine, and they’re a hair’s breath away from going on their own dark fiber and creating their own AOL proprietary network kissing Google and the world goodbye (you didn’t hear that from me).

    It would not do well for all you guys with Google stock to be prodding Google on making waves in Europe right now. They handled it in the only way they could have which gave all the other major players using the same technique the time to yank their doorway pages down quickly.

    You gotta understand that this is going on here as well.
    http://www.searchengineoptimizationsecrets.com/seo-news-121905.html

    Basically, if you know you have a heavy season coming up, you have to do your risk assessment. Is it worth selling x amount over Christmas and go down a week afterwards when the SEO cops squeal you out.

    It’s business guys, nothing personal.

  113. ilmari suolijoki

    Matt Cutts has never been a webmaster of a commercial website. He doesn’t know what it feels like to spend long hours on building a white hat website and trying to make a living with it and then all of a sudden one day (September 22, 2005 or December 27th, 2005) the site loses all Google traffic. No idea what might have caused it. No response from Google. Removing pages that might have cause a near-duplicate content penalty doesn’t help. Besides, those pages are relevant to the user.

    I just finished 3 more WH sites but since I might loose them any day to some stupid Google filter or sandbox why bother? I can generate thousands of doorway pages in a second if I want to and use them to redirect traffic to my main sites. (Note: keyword pages don’t need any redirects so they don’t break Google guidelines)

    If Matt wants us to clean our sites and SEO habits then we need more information like the status: command.

    At this moment – when Google indexes each page individually making it necessary to stuff pages with keywords – BMW style doorway pages are a must have. If it weren’t for doorway pages you wouldn’t find BMW.de when searching for “bmw 5er neuwagen”.

  114. Markus

    hy matt,

    in some short words from my side:

    google earn much respect for the politic like they do with BMW-bann. Many other banned users will wait a life long to get back in, by changed site, BMW did it within a hand full days and they are back included dw`s, wonderfull!

    automobile.de still waits for reinclusen much time longer. I think automobile.de will be back soon in the index. but a normal user waits how i said before a life for that fast service.

    respect and it sounds as a good promotion

  115. All you whiners need to shut the heck up. Google’s mantra is the philosophic high-brow: “Do no evil”. It’s not “Play fair”, “Be nice”, “Treat other’s like you want to be treated”, or any of the other platitudes you learned in Kindergarten.

  116. HEJ MATTS,

    SEO Scandinavian companies need those GUIDELINES ASAP in their respective languages since no one is following and controling their spamming… and Black hat Techniques

    I do believe it is a must for Google to follow this road in Sweden Norway Denmark Finland and Iceland.

    Thanks,.
    KAI

  117. walkman

    To people claiming BMW got preferential treatment:
    So what if they did? Let’s face it, not all sites are created equal. Plus, Google made their point, and the offending pages were removed.

  118. Schugo

    So Google, when you believe your pages are clean enough
    to be reincluded in my Bookmarks send me a request.

    Google is tracking your clicks!(activated in the mousedown event that
    fires just before clicking in the link)
    > http://www.searchlores.org/ritz_google_anti_snoop.htm

    Orkut (googles social networking service) now forces every user to
    associate he account with an Google Mail account.
    > http://frank.geekheim.de/?p=149

    Google Patent for User Targeted Search Results
    > http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/05/11/06/1626245.shtml?tid=217&tid=17

  119. Stephen Munday

    Even if no one can find BMW in the Google index, they still know the company name and can easily figure out the URL on their own. If they failed in that, a search on “BMW” would quickly bring up hundreds of sites that would have the link to http://www.bmw.de. Furthermore, most people who are seriously considering getting a BMW already know that they want it and where to get it (the local dealer)

    So BMW gets 1 week in the sin bin, and then rapid reinclusion probably without almost any loss of revenue, although a slight bit of negative publicity (and even that was unrelated to their actual product.) Contrast that with a small business that does most of their business activities online and has to wait at least 30 days to be reincluded.

    Spam should be removed, but reinclusion should be on an equal basis and more rapid for all webmasters.

  120. Markus

    Google isn`t a “Kindergarten”, no playground or something else like that. But play fair in my minds mean: same rules for everyone. But its allways the same “shit”, doesent matter if we talk about religion, politic or like that thread here, people TRY to MAKE POLITIC but they loose with that kind the face.

    I`m not BMW 1`s more, most of us are not BMW, some of us are automobile.de and much more webmasters are never play in that traffics from google.

    It is not only on us to stop spam, google forwards that to the user. why google or matt sends reports like BMW to get some publicity for the reason “spam”? It looks for me that google cant handle that kind of dw`s and spam and thats a warning for so many other webmaster to stop the spam. But have a look if ur a BMW or a FAX from RICOH, works fine if do so :)

    Showcase

  121. John

    Web Guerrilla has a great post to this topic. I personally feel they are right on the mark. http://general.webguerrilla.com/why-big-brands-should-spam-search-engines/

  122. N.P

    I was an avid Google fan, recommended them to everyone I knew, our friends, family & users. They were so great years ago. But it all changed when a site we had listed on Google for over 5 years providing free software to the community was delisted last year in May and ever since we don’t even rank for our name. It seems Google favors BIG companies with BIG $$$ over companies that provide free software that help out fellow buddies who can’t afford to buy software.

    If you’re rich and powerful and something happens, you’ll get contacted by Google but if make free software that helps people who like free software/poor students, etc Google won’t even bother to respond to your requests. :(

    ..It’s as if its like the poor kid who turns rich and turns snooby. Won’t talk to any one except people in his league.

  123. Ben

    Nicky I had that problem and filed a reinclusion request, a few days later it was being spidered.

  124. Dave

    Oh no, now there’s whining about the whining.

    My concern by the speed of their re-inclusion (after being reported as banned World wide) is that the message being sent to all that would/do spam. They will now think, “It’s worth the risk. If we get banned we will be back in Google within a few days.”

  125. re: 0.4% of bmw.de traffic stemming from Google searches: Statistics of traffic to bmw.de from search engines is here. Paints a rather different picture, definitely more than 4,400 visitors via Google in January …

  126. Ah..now if only the rest of us small timers could get such prompt responses from Google as to what the hell is happening with our sites, why we have been dropped/penalised/etc.

    I’ve been seeing loads of weird results lately.

    I have one site that fluctuates between 41 Google spiders pages and 11,300 spiders pages day by day.

    I have another site with 80 spidered pages, that gets loads of Google referals, for a few days, then none..

  127. Dave Said,
    February 8, 2006 @ 9:02 pm

    Oh no, now there’s whining about the whining.

    And now you’re whining about the whining about the whining. ;)

  128. As one who has been banned without disregarding the TOS and waiting several months for reinclusion or some hint as to why, I find this preferential treatment very frustrating.

  129. Dave

    Hey, no fair whining :)

  130. Lesson learned:

    Who’s (whios) afraid of spamming a search engine now? They have to find it manually, you’ll be back within a week, big deal. Play all the tricks, cloak, redirect, hidden text, etc — they must all work and Google lets you back in the blink of an eye. Just make sure you put someone elses SEO-signature on the pages ;-)

    *looking for a black hat to buy*

  131. I’am very happy for BMW Reinclusion!!!

    I am waiting for my Site Reinclusion after many requests (12 months) without any answer. But above all without understand Why Google Banned My Site … Please don’t tell me that Google don’t give explanations. – The Answer is: I am not BMW ?!?!

    Sorry for my polemic

    CLAUDIO ANCILLOTTI

  132. James

    BMW was wrong … they should not have done a second site for the search engine. That’s in substance what BMW.de was doing wrong.

    Now, can anyone explain me how you are supposed to have 100% AJAX site indexed WITHOUT doing a second site ? There is no links in a 100% AJAX. Only one page.

    What we’re doing today is building another site (only for search
    engines) that has _exactly_ the same text/image than the AJAX site. The
    only difference is that you find links to pages which you do not in the
    AJAX site and that in the plain html site you got a javascript that
    redirects the user to the AJAX site.

    Is this wrong? It is certainly not unethical.
    I would like to have some directions on Google’s part on how to have a
    AJAX site properly indexed and not delisted given that I am not trying
    to boost my page rank. I just want to be (fairly) indexed.

  133. W.B.

    so, then tell to the google webspam team please to put also the other (now good) private Sites back in the index, not only the big company.
    The german Photoshop Portal is still banned from the index :(

  134. There is one thing here that seems to have been missed out. Now large corporations no longer have any deterrent in the use of unethical SEO techniques.

    I understand that for the user searching for car related terms, yes BMW should be in the SERPS. However I strongly feel that they should have been de-indexed for a longer period.

    This seems to me that for any large corporation they can use unethical techniques to get their site in the top positions. If and when they get caught out, all they have to do is put their hands up and say sorry. One week later they are indexed in Google again.

    Are there or will there be any measures of punishment to BMW, or will any measures be put in place should this happen again?

  135. I don’t get the argument “BMW has to be in the index”. There must be plenty of BMW distributors and fan sites that have the same or better content than the official BMW site. In fact, most fan sites are better than the official sites because they offer unbiased information and are more in tune with the target audience.

    And does anyone here *honestly* believe the 0.4% visitors from Google??? If any site has that few hits from Google, the SEO needs to find another career.
    Most of my sites get at least 0.4% of their hits from people typing the exact URL into Google – why they wouldn’t just type it into the address bar is beyond me….

  136. Martin

    > Alternatively, how much revenue would a Mom and Pop lose in a week?
    > a month?

    more than 70% in our case.

    > how about in the next five years compared to BMW’s lost week?

    BMW says they get 0.4% of their visitors from Google, and there is nothing they are concerned about.

    On the other hand, your Mom and Pop would be out of business waaay before that.

    Thus: For BMW, the loses would be statistical noise, whereas Mom and Pop would go broke.

    Now, what was your point again? That BMW has more to loose and therefore deserves a VIP reinclusion? Why should it be of Google’s concern how much one has to loose anyway?

    > France and Germany are developing their own Google
    > killing search engine,

    Oh yeah, France said they want a search engine on their own, T-Online already backed away, big deal.

    > and they’re a hair’s breath away from going on their own dark fiber and
    > creating their own AOL proprietary network kissing Google and the world
    > goodbye

    Who? The goverments? They are not allowed to. Competition law. Private companies? Right… A network without access to the internet? Yeah, I am sure that would be a greeeeaaat success. That is what everyone wants to have again. Say, what did you smoke? Seriously.

    > which gave all the other major players using the same technique
    > the time to yank their doorway pages down quickly.

    Why should they? The penalty for being caught is minimal, the probability for being caught is minimal, the gain from spaming is rather high. They would be foolish NOT to spam, given how the matter ended up for BMW.

  137. I just wish Google would tell the truth. The story about BMW getting no special treatment might wash for the BBC etc. But anyone who actually knows Google will know that this is just not the case.

    What happened to “Don’t be Evil” :)

    Come on Google, stand up and tell the truth…..

  138. >more than 70% in our case.

    You need to get a day job, cowboy.

    >BMW says they get 0.4% of their visitors from Google, and there is nothing they are concerned about.

    Oh and that’s why they were on the phone ASAP settling a deal with Google and apologizing profusely for their mistake. It’s also why they fired their SEO team..right. If you had even a remote clue of how much money goes out the door of a large corporation on a daily basis…all the salaries…all the overhead….and the constant requirement to replace those expenses with sales then you might have some idea how closing down a sales channel sets red lights spinning. As far as their statement to the press, ever heard of saving face???

    >Now, what was your point again? That BMW has more to loose >and therefore deserves a VIP reinclusion? Why should it be of >Google’s concern how much one has to loose anyway?

    My point if I haven’t made myself clear enough yet is that your Mom and Pop is a pimple on the face of the Internet, whereas BMW generates thousands of jobs and effects the economies of countries. Is that clear enough?

    >Oh yeah, France said they want a search engine on their own, >T-Online already backed away, big deal.

    Let me ask you this bright guy. If you run the government in a European country, and some humongous search engine starts tracking all the personal data of your citizens, as well as sucking a substantial amount of your cash and literature out of your borders, how long are you going to sit on your ass and watch 1984 happen? This is war cowboy, just like all business is war.
    http://www.pandia.com/sew/149-the-multimedia-search-engine-quaero-europe%e2%80%99s-answer-to-google.html#more-149

    It may not happen this week, it may not happen next month, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it’s going to happen.

    >Why should they? The penalty for being caught is minimal, the >probability for being caught is minimal, the gain from spaming is >rather high. They would be foolish NOT to spam, given how the >matter ended up for BMW.

    Because it’s still a week…which means they’ll wait until the dust settles. It’s just like any battlefield campaign. Probe and strike, probe and strike, minimize casualties (lost sales).

  139. And now you’re whining about the whining about the whining. ;)

    And now you’re whining about the whining about the whining about the whining.

    (of course, I’m whining about the whining about the whining about the whining about the whining)

    This is fun.

  140. Ian

    > There’s some really interesting similarities between Search Engines Web
    > and this fellow who keeps submitting stories to Slashdot.
    > Something I can’t quite put my finger on.

    Double pwned!

  141. Ian

    Ryan: So that’s whining^5? :)

  142. Mistah

    As with Nicky’s post above, I would be interested in some clarification on expired domains as I think it could be part of the problem I have with my company website. As the domain in question had only been used as a holding page previously and did not have any pagerank, I didn’t think there would be a problem. However, the site hasn’t been indexed since I put up my new website in August (using the newly aquired domain) and 301ed my old site to it.

  143. I agree with Neoh. BMW has so much to gain from spamming the engines, and not much to lose (Less that a weeks traffic). I am sure these doorway pages have been in place for a while. The more risk you are willing to take, the greater the reward. Although, if you are bmw.de, the risk is minimal. For the average mom and pop, the risk is just too high.

  144. I understand that for the user searching for car related terms, yes BMW should be in the SERPS. However I strongly feel that they should have been de-indexed for a longer period.

    Actually, this is one area where I would disagree.

    Is BMW a major car manufacturer? Yes.

    Would people be looking for them, conceivably? Yes.

    Could BMW still be found if BMW.de wasn’t indexed? Yes.

    This is what people are either forgetting or choosing to ignore. BMW.de is merely one of BMW’s sites. It possesses the unique property of being in German, so this means that some German customers searching for BMW would conceivably not be able to find BMW.de. But in overall percentage terms, that’s not a big chunk of the global population.

    That may have been what BMW was referring to in the 0.4% statement: 0.4% of customers wouldn’t be able to find us because they found BMW.de on a search for German websites pertaining to BMW on Google, vs. say coming through on BMW.com or another similar page.

    So, BMW should have been banned. When they fixed the problem, they should have been reinstated, because it really wasn’t a big offense (although in my mind, it showed a certain lack of respect for customers).

    The problem was that it became a public issue and example, when it really didn’t need to be.

  145. Hi Matt,

    It’s refreshing to see Google reps discussing issues such as this openly.

    I have a mixed view of Google. On the plus side, I have a client whose sister hid text on their web site (green text on a green background); I noticed this when we did an update and thought to check Google, and sure enough, their site had disappeared from the index. All I had to do was lecture my client’s sister about the evils of hiding text, fix the problem, and email Google, and sure enough within a few days the site was reincluded. This site is a small Mom & Pop type business, and does not have the clout that BMW has, so I’d say that you guys are indeed dealing fairly in that regard.

    On the negative side: Google sometimes incorrectly penalizes for duplicate content. Some CMS systems (CMS System; how redundantly repetitive ;)), er, some CMS applications address the same page through multiple means; notably DotNetNuke. A page may be referenced through /index.aspx&tabid=51 and elsewhere as /51/index.aspx – but although these are simply alternate means to navigate to the same page, Google counts this as duplicate content and thusly incorrectly penalizes the site for that, even though it’s simply an alternate way to address a page to enable the less intelligent search engines to crawl a site. I dumped DNN for other (arguably less capable) CMS packages due in large part to this issue.

    What I despise about Google: IMHO Google does not seem to be using all the available methods they can implement to detect spam such as redirects and cloaking. An automated method to detect these sites should be implemented. Why can’t Google create a secondary robot with the MSIE user agent, and run those robots through dynamically-assigned IP addresses from say, Verizon, SBC, etc. which will thwart cloakers who detect Google by user agent OR by IP? You don’t have to crawl the entire site, and you shouldn’t retrieve the pages in a batch. Spot-check perhaps 10% of pages on web sites, but in a very sporadic fashion more typical of real users rather than typical detectable bot patterns. These penalizations are unfair, unjustified, and the so-called “sandboxing” period is too long. My solution was to simply dump DotNetNuke (although very extensible the architecture was lousy anyhow) and choose a LAMP solution, but many folks don’t have the luxury of migrating from one package to another due to expense.

    IMHO Google could be doing a lot more to clean up its index, and to look at some of the penalizations and try to eliminate the incorrect/unfair ones and focus on the blackhats and other spammers rather than “apparant” duplicate content. While you’d say that packages like DNN are broken and need to be fixed, and I’m inclined to agree, it has to be acknowledged that there are often many ways to navigate to a page even in well-designed solutions – take Mambo or Drupal for existence, where a page’s internal name might be /node/8181 and might be indexed at some point, but later on as the page increases in popularity the admin might create a “clean” url such as /page_for_memorable_article_many_quoted – however the navigation to /node/8181 is still valid in the CMS and thusly when a request is submitted for either /node/8181 or /page_for_memorable_article_many_quoted the same content is delivered. These are NOT duplicate content but unfortunately Googlebot seems to regard it as such and seemingly applies a penalty – unjustly. :( Why can’t Google consider these “duplicate” pages to be one singular entity which simply has two or more ways to get to it, and attribute ONE canonical/URL to it? The page doesn’t have to be penalized but certainly you’d want to display only one of the results to this content.

    Lastly, There is a LOT of spam in Google and it’s great that there is a means to report it, but sometimes it takes too darn long for Google to respond. There is a particular technical discussion site which used to use cloaking extensively where the existing topics would be indexed, but when the user clicked on a hit in Google the user would be directed to a page where only the original post (the question, essentially) would be displayed. One could easily bypass this by viewing the Google cache or by spoofing Googlebot (I would never subscribe or buy from a site employing deceptive and unfair SEO tactics but I have no problem leeching from them ;)), but it took a couple of years before something was done and the site disappeared from the index for a while. The site now displays existing threads to all visitors but I’m sure it was only the result of many complaints to Google. It is extremely annoying to have a page full of search results where the indexed page has NO real relavence whatsoever to the search query. Even worse are the sites which employ these same tactics, but which use the meta robots directive or robots.txt to disallow search engines’ from caching the page(s) in question, seemingly to “hide the evil.”

    Matt, thanks for sharing some of the internal goings-on at Google, and thanks for responding to readers. I’ve found this thread enlightening and reading it brought to mind some of the things I’ve been wanting to voice to a technical Google employee for a while.

  146. How does google handle comment spam? We have a problem with spammers posting spam comments or using our site to create fake forums that are spam. While we constantly go through and try and prevent it, as well as go through and clean it up afterwards (I just deleted over 4,000 spam forums this week alone), I don’t want some spammer (or a competitor) to use spam to shut us out.

    I would hope that a message to webmaster@domain.com would go out first.

    Just a little panicked here. Could someone purposely use comment spam to shut out a site that they don’t like for some reason?

  147. And I thought my parents were cruel.

    What kind of parent would name their kid “Search Engines Web”?

  148. Steven, put a lock on the automated spam. Nothing’s perfect, but you can prevent 99% with a “simple” CAPTCHA element (like here). When automation fails, spammers search for an easier target …

  149. bob

    That does it…..

    I will neither buy a bmw or a google (because they are both unethical in regards to se’s and their results)
    :)

  150. Boy am I scared. Being new in this SEO business… And I can see clearly now that I have been making mistakes constantly. For example, according to this excellent Matt’s article http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/dashes-vs-underscores/ I am going to change my urls all over the site and now I am afraid to be banned by google for duplicate content. It looks like I have to look closely to the sitemap project.

    And it is also sad that BMW got away with an intentional trickery whereas such dwarves like myself will be squashed like a bug after just a stupid mistake.

  151. Dave

    Unfortunatley, with this one being picked up GLOBALLY, the message sent to spammers is….”It’s worth a try as you will only be dropped for a day or 2!”.

    I believe Google has dropped the ball on this one by letting (probably the most widely known ban) back in so fast!

  152. While I fully understand the practical reasons for Google to reinclude the BMW site so quickly, I have to wonder what that does to their credibility in terms of setting up rules. You communicate rules, you better stick to them, unless you can keep it under the lid. Ignoring your own rules – or stretching their meaning too far – is bad for your brand perception.

  153. I’m searching for a reason why my domain http://www.netzwerkseite.de is removed from the index.

    I’m not sure, it is a double content problem or another problem. The page is clean and since any years in the web. Ok., we have tested with product pages, but all this removed since one year.

    Unfortunately I have not the publicity from BMW and so I became never an answer from Google. But the site is out of the index and i think it is not correct.

    Lutz

  154. Matt,

    There is a post in threadwatch on this subject that talks about Danny Sullivan’s somewhat apologetic “Google needs BMW in the index” argument.

    While I understand that general business concept, I feel Google needs MORE for their search users to understand what is best for them in the long run = web sites that are the most relevant to their intent, and quality content sites that are easily comprehended and navigable for humans, mostly, as well as SE robots.

    Yes, many (not all) “Big Brand” sites have those qualities, but if Google’s disciplinary actions are too weak or inconsistent, that could change with “cost saving” measures on the part of some “Big Brands”, who may think more short term than long term. After all, who does Google need more, the Big Brands or the search users? I sure hope the search users still come first, as they are the ones who brought Google to the “Google Dance” in the first place.

    I know that some users will be annoyed if they entered the exact “Big Brand Name” in the search box, and don’t find it. So, why not let the Big Brands back in quickly (and do the same for small brands too) for ONLY searches that include the exact “Big Brand Name”. For any searches like, say, “used German cars” or “German Automobiles”, consider doing what I suggest in the next paragraph. These searchers are usually “prospects” who haven’t decided which German brand they are interested in, or who can’t remember the exact “Big Brand Name”. Either way, they are important to the “brand”.

    The key for Google is open, honest, upfront, and good communication with Google’s search users. So, there must be a way to substitute an educational “explanation listing link” from Google in the ranking position of the offending web site (don’t know for sure, but hoping). This would serve the dual purpose of educating the Google search user as to why Google is temporarily not giving them access to that particular brand’s site, while providing public humiliation for the brand due to either the person or company who worked on their site or their own overzealous competitiveness.

    Don’t just have a Google “SEOs” page that says ” a few unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to unfairly manipulate search engine results.” Many times (maybe most of the time) it is the “end justifies the means” big and small brand advertiser who is the real problem. Search users need to understand this, and why “attempts to unfairly manipulate search engine results” are bad for them.

    Good Luck, though, as it is not an easy issue to deal with.

  155. Ralf

    Hello Mutt
    Must be just a coincidence
    BMW pictures on your blog created by Paint.Net
    Nice BMW picture on Paint.Net’s frontpage
    I like free tools too

  156. Hello Matt

    Though I would love to believe that Google is making a dent in the techniques spammers are using to deceive the index at Google, they are missing the boat on many who are so obvious it is laughable.

    There are 3 companies in the pet industry who use hidden text in banners, web awards, SEO badges and other techniques to help them rank #1 and # 4 for the key word ‘dogs’ within Google. If you took the time to look at their ‘link to us’ pages, you will see they hide 16 outbound links in their link exchanges, badges have 5 outbound links and their ‘free search engine submission’ badge has 15 outbound links.

    In the pet vertical you will see every type of spamming technique used to gain rank… unfortunately it is the only way to reach the top of the index.

    Take Care

  157. Thu

    For those of you who are concerned about expired domains having some penalty, have you tried out a reinclusion request? http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/reinclusion-request-howto/

  158. Wow, I have to say I feel a bit insulted to see the preeferenical treatment BMW receives while I’m staying up nights trying to figure out why a client of mine was banned when I stay the ethical road. I have asked repeatedly and sought reinclusion which took about a month, although I’m not sure why it was banned in the first place.

    I am really hopeful Google sets up a team that SEOs can work with. I don’t like feeling like I’m in an adversarial role. I’d rather feel more like a partnership.

  159. I would like to believe that smaller companies can get back into the index just as fast, but I highly doubt it.

  160. Rituel

    I’ve done several spam report (Even bmw.fr that still use cloaked pages) since months without any results … So why do you tell us that Google’s quality guidelines are available in many languages if french spam submissions are not taken into account by your teams …

    Many big french companies are spamming your index and you have never done anything to stop them.

  161. southstep

    Hello, Matt.

    I just want to point out that your link towards Google’s Korean guideline is actually in English. The Korean version of the guideline can be found at:

    http://www.google.co.kr/intl/ko/webmasters/guidelines.html

  162. Only because it’s BMW the reinclusion was so fast…

  163. Google needs to reevaluate. David is right. The top listings often do ANYTHING for rank. Prostitution is the key word.

  164. Are there any long-term penalties on a domain that was previously banned then reincluded?

  165. Hey Matt,

    Love your blog, been going here for a few months now. I couldn’t find a contact link so I’ll post it here. Do you think you could go over Google blocking sites from passing Pagerank (ie. phpBB.com & StatCounter.com). Is this Google’s way of saying “We’re the only PR10 site that’s allowed to pass PR” or is there something else involved. Yes phpBB.com & Statcounter.com sell links … but no where do they even talk about their PR while trying to sell them. Google wants webmasters to do what’s best for their users, in this case giving them links to related topics is what the users want. 1 out of every 5 sites on the Internet will sell a text link if you email them .. so there’s nothing wrong with what phpBB.com & Statcounter.com is doing. If you could answer that for me (via email if you have to) that would be great!

    Thanks a lot Matt, keep up the good work.

  166. Wayne

    Matt Said,
    November 30, 2005 @ 1:40 am

    Fred, you didn’t mention a url, so I can’t really give you much advice. If a site is old but has spam (e.g. hidden text), it can be removed from Google.

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-mistakes-nearly-hidden-text/

    _____________________________________________________________

    Matt if I am understanding your comment correctly, doesnt this imply that Google may remove a site but doesnt have to. Doesnt this statement go against Googles guidelines and also tell spammers that Google will overlook spam if its in Google’s best interest.

    Why not just state in your webmaster guidelines that if we dont like you or you have no benefit to Google we will remove a site that spams, but if your site has some benefit to Google we will not if you break our guidelines.

    IMHO this says to all spammers go ahead and spam, we might or might not remove your site, its 50/50. No offense but if this is the case than it would suggest to me that creating a site for long term use is not worth it as another site might come along that Google likes more even though it is not following the guidelines.

    Since Google controls a majority of the search engine traffic my business model has to include Google in its plan, there is no ifs, ands or buts about it. If I know that Google will not take action or might not against others in my industry or any other for that matter for spamming then what reasons do I have or others not to spam as my competitors or theirs do in Google as well?

    BMW is a great example. BMW has a benefit to Google as a company we all know that, so they received advantages that most smaller companies or sites would not. I like Google for some of the things it has offered the internet and what has been released by you for PR but it is becoming clearer that it is only PR and that Google is not following their own mission statement of Do No Evil.

    I am just a little fish in a BIG POND but I would like to think that we all would get the same advantages as the bigger fish and that when Googles says in order to be in our index you must not do X, Y and Z that we all are held to the same standards. Once again IMHO until Google treats us all the same way and holds ALL OF US to the same standards, the only example Google is setting for the internet is Do No Evil, unless we turn a blind eye and not all sites will be held to the same standards/guidelines that we have setforth for all webmasters to follow.

  167. Matt –

    Quick question relating to International sites – we have a U.S. e commerce site and have recently expanded by opening an office in the UK thus creating another website for the UK. The websites have very similar content as do most US/UK versions. The only problem is that they have different domain names (ex. http://www.company123.com, http://www.company456.co.uk). Since Google does not know that these 2 websites are from the same company, could their possibly be a penalty on the sites for duplicate content? I already sent Google a note in the Google Search Help Center but haven’t heard anything back.

    Thanks!

  168. Doug

    Google works hard with BMW and then us little dudes get the basic answer of hey your banned and if you can figure out why we will put you back in our index, LATER! Just shows how money talks with “do no evil”

  169. Kirby

    >just a little fish

    You used to claim that YOU were the big fish in your pond; that you knew more about SEO than anyone in the real estate industry. My oh my, how times have changed.

  170. That’s great that Google has worked with auto giant BMW to get re-listed. On the other hand it is frustrating that I can’t make inroads to have my little site re-indexed. I submitted a reinclusion request over 3 weeks ago and still haven’t heard back from that team. I followed the SEO guidelines and my site is now VERY Google-friendly (www.gentryfoto.com). Why can’t I get re-listed?

  171. matt

    The fact that we see this post about BMW just shows how much google cares about their business and does not care about your business. In the end it all comes down to money at least Yahoo is upfront, google tries to act like they are some kind of non profit. Google thanks for helping bmw, now they can pay the rent, now what are the rest of us supposed to do when sites get banned and we dont know why. I got it go pay your mortgage with that email printed out from google about your site not meeting guidelines and nothing else.

  172. infirmary

    Hi Matt,

    I requested for a re-inclusion of my site and of the 5 emails I sent, i got three replies from google saying “Thank you for contacting us” or something of that sort… No email saying that the request has been forwarded to their engineers….

    What does Google mean by that? Do we stand a chance for re-inclusion?

    Please help me interpret Google’s answers… Do we still have a chance to be re-included?

    thank you.

  173. infirmary

    And by the way Matt,

    Google’s bot is also crawling my site everyday even if it already banned? Is that ok? Does that mean that I may be re-included soon?

    Thanks…

  174. Tony Meganck

    Dear Matt,

    Somethimes, I’m wondering how Google does make thier toplist for a topic.
    For example, I’m in the forex industry and when I look at the top 20, many irrelevant websites are shown, even a website about plastics did enter the top20, I’m a bit wondered about that.
    Can you explain?

    Thank you,
    Tony

  175. Ian

    Hi Matt,

    One of my clients will be consolidating and re-launching their site in 6 weeks. The launch is extensive, involving thousands of pages. What can we do to mitigate any potential drop in rankings?

    Thanks,

    Ian

  176. You will be re-included, subject to you made changes, according to google terms and condition.

  177. 2/17

    The www and non-www forms of a URI. Here I try and do the right thing and fix my server to do a 301 redirect to the www URI. And Google still slams me for doing that. I find it interesting that MSN and Yahoo don’t seem to care about www vs. non-www but list the pages. Example I find about the same number of indexed pages for both forms in yahoo and msn. But good old google worries about the www and non-www form producing duplicate content.

    In reality, the Google algorithm is apparently not smart enough to tell that the page is the same stuff.

    Maybe this is whay Google is number 3 at Alexa, MSN number 2 and Yahoo number 1. If I was a big shot at Google, I would be looking at those numbers and wanting to fix my positioning by using a spider smart enough not to beat everybody up for using a www vs a non www URI as long as the pages listed were the same. Seems the spider could be set to list one or the other forms instead of trying to force the webmaster to do it.

  178. Is the Google “report spam” site manned adequately? One of the sites ahead of us in the SERPS is using hidden text (white text on white background) and I have reported it twice with no results. That’s still considered a no-no, isn’t it?

    Thanks,

    Duane

  179. Hey Matt, your rapid reinclusion of BMW and Ricoh means only one thing: you give big business preferential treatment. I made a reinclusion request for my delisted site 3 months ago (after immediatedly fixing it) and nothing has happened.

    So great is your power and influence that I will hold my peace out of fear (like many other site owners) and say no more.

    Lucky

    ———————-

  180. How nice of the Google team to unban a popular site like BMW in just a week. I would appreciate if the same thoughtful people gave a look to my ‘quite popular’ women’s website and tell me what’s wrong as well. It’s been in the sandox for almost ONE YEAR now. It won’t even take that much of publicity to go through and much, much less time I assure you.

  181. Kenneth

    I’ve reported a specific case of spamming sites using variations of a domain with different endings. It’s a scam, and now I find that one of the domains is listed two times in Google Norway and Google China. Worst of one of the offending domains has now moved to #2 on Google. A check of the Google cache of the actual text on this page shows nothing but another domain. Checking the cache of all the other domains reveals other domains. Finally you get the offending “main” page. I cannot understand why after even a written letter to Google that nothing seems to be done. Isn’t there some circumstance when a human could do something better than having an engineer “tweek” their algorithm so that the offending domains are removed or severely penalized permanently until the offenders clean up their act? I really want to know what Google people do when they see a spam situation using multiple domains. I am now beginning to think that Google’s rush to include everything, they are failing to abide by their own Webmaster Guideline policies.

  182. Fred

    My site was reincluded late last summer, but I’m wondering if I might be still under some penalty. I remain stuck on 27 Google backlinks, and PR 4, for the past 4 months, also the Google toolbar keeps flip-flopping between white and PR 4. I am getting extremely few hits from google.

    Since reinclusion, I have been adding genuine unique content, including a blog, and publishing articles. I am no longer accepting link exchanges, but I’m not sure what I should do with my existing reciprocal links.

    I’m just waiting to see my good work start to pay off.

  183. Charles

    Can you tell me why google talks to BMW and gets their website right back in the index but ‘normal’ webmasters have to wait months and even years to get back in. Especially in my case where I got burned for offering free web hosting that was abused by spammers. I have never used an black hat seo and I am left here mouse in hand but BMW which deffinately used black hat tecniques gets right back in :-(

  184. I recently added a automatic redirect because I have a Euro, Singaporean, UK and US site… it jumps to their own currency based on their IP. Since then, many of our international customers have said ‘thank you’.

    The minute I added that in, I dropped from page 5 to page 13 of our best keyword.

    I always thought that it provided our customers with the best option (currency wise) when they are shopping with us… yet I was penalised.

  185. Hi Matt,

    We were delisted by Google 2 weeks ago due to hidden text.
    We have since corrected the errors we made. When can we expect to hear from someone or to be reinstated?

    Thanks,
    tbrown@theBravest.com

  186. Im delighted that Google is acting against spammers..

    Its a crying shame for a lowly Webmaster has to go to such lengths to get their site listed in Goolge fighting against all forms of Spammers..

    I thought there was only email Spam until i started researching Internet Marketing… Its unbelieveable what theyll do

    Keep up the Good Work Google!

    Cheers

    Sparks

  187. Thats cool. But how long did it take before it got delisted?

  188. I hope Google dig out more like this!

    I hate searching for my site and finding so much rubbish in between!

    Frank Byrnes

  189. I would have to agree with the comments that google should warn webmasters before banning esp. since the legit webmasters are clueless about the reason for ban.

    My site was banned and I still do not know why.I do not link exchange, no marketing is done, all I have is articles [read original and written by myself articles] added on a weekly basis.

    The site was doing fine until bam the url disappeared from google and I have no idea why!

    Reinclusion would be great but it never seems to work!

  190. Do I have to say it another way?? come on people!!! BMW go back in because google was afraid of being sued by them, big coorporation, big bucks, big lawyers. BMW would argue that they lost business in the Millions due to this banning and would take google to court. Google does not want that, they do not want to lose a few millions so, they send us a clear message, if you do something bad, spam, your site will be remove from google index, unless you are a powerful company that may sued us, then we will not keep you out of the index for too long.

    Sorry for the idiots comment, it was for a few people only ;)

  191. All this makes me wonder, since I don’t know how google can tell the difference between legit uses of javascript and “black-hat” uses: what if I have a page that relies heavily on javascript to present content through document.write() or other technique, but also has an alternative for non-javascript browsers? I think this is legit, and in my case it allows me to present a lot of info without overwhelming the user (many people complained about too much text), but I can see how an automated spider would either miss the javascript content, or penalize me, thinking I was trying to trick it, which I was not.

    This happens to be the situation for my home page, and I’m still listed, but I imagine it’s an issue for many people: how can we ensure that javascript pages aren’t accidentally banned or penalized?

  192. I am new to all this SEO stuff. I am a little bit lost on doorway pages too. Could you tell me if this is a doorway page as Google sees it at http://www.prettypetz.net

    It redirects to my main page, but has content that shows if the redirect doesn’t work. We just don’t want to be banned! Thanks

  193. Sam

    Matthew Howard, you should set off your redirect and what is it for anyway?

  194. Wow, how do you exactly fight spam or even know its spam, if the person is speaking in our of this world language?

  195. If big companies can be reincluded by google and given more attention, can google also do this to small comapnies or websites?

  196. Personally I find Google to be a quiet helper for me and my clients, I’ve recently had one of my sites removed due to so called paid links which were actually not paid for at all. I requested a re inclusion and within a few days the page ranking was back to where it was and everything was normal. They just never gave me a response or a reason.

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