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Google Accuses Ricoh Unit, BMW Of Search Results-Stuffing

BMW and Ricoh used a technique commonly referred to as "cloaking," where a Web site presents different pages to search engine bots than it displays to visitors, a senior engineer for Google said in his blog.
Google Inc. says it has dropped from its index the German Web site of carmaker BMW AG, and plans to also remove the German site of office-equipment maker Ricoh Co. Ltd., accusing the companies of using a banned technique for getting a higher ranking on search results.

BMW and Ricoh used a technique commonly referred to as "cloaking," where a Web site presents different pages to search engine bots than it displays to visitors, Matt Cutts, senior engineer for Google, said in his blog.

In BMW's case, a keyword-filled page was presented to Google bots, which gave the page a high ranking as a result. Web surfers who clicked on the link, however, were redirected to the actual homepage of BMW.de.

Google lists the use of so-called "doorway pages" as a reason for removing a site from its index, which means the site would no longer show up in Google.com or any of the Mountain View, Calif., company's partner sites.

BMW.de was tossed from the index as Google ramps up its efforts to reduce the amount of Web spam in search results, Cutts said. The German Web site of Ricoh would also be removed from the index "soon" for using tactics similar to BMW's, Cutts said.

At least some of the redirecting pages have been removed from BMW.de, which Cutts said was "very encouraging," However, it's unlikely the site would be added to Google's index until BMW submits a "re-inclusion request" that explains who created the doorway pages, Cutts said.

"We’ll probably also need some assurances that such pages won’t reappear on the sites before the domains can be re-included," Cutts said.