BMW falls into the Abyss

Author: Edward Bowen

Back in October 2004 I talked about the importance of being listed on Google and how valuable it is to get top rankings in search results. This is now truer than ever - being number one on a Google search list can now bring tens of thousands of visitors to your site each day!

In the UK Google has a virtual monopoly - over 80% of web searches happen on the search engine. In fact ‘Google’ has now become a verb, with the expression ‘Google it’ entering into common parlance in recent months.

Google prides itself on generating unbiased and accurate search results that give the user the information they’re looking for. So it doesn’t take kindly to people who bend the rules to trick the system.

This is where BMW fell foul. Google discovered that they were artificially forcing themselves up the rankings by using doorway pages. These are pages packed with popular and powerful keywords, designed to attract search engines rather than for users to read.

BMW have been penalised for their mistake. They’ve been cast into the Google abyss - plunging to the very bottom of search results, way out of the reach of searchers. They will now pay a heavy price by losing out on all that site traffic, let alone the damage to their reputation.

Google is a great tool, but the more websites that use sneaky tricks to get round it the less effective it will become. Hopefully such a high profile case of punishment for abuse of the system will put others off trying the same.

Edward Bowen is Director of GUMPTION, a leading web agency.


Edward started his career working for the world-renowned consultancy, The Henley Centre, helping major blue chip clients develop their web strategies. He then went on to manage an e-commerce service for a top UK retailer. He has a BSc in Economics from Bath University and an MSc (Eng) in Operations from Birmingham University. With this background he brings with him a strong mix of business, marketing and web-related knowledge and experience. Personal interests: tennis, golf, surfing, ...

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