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Monday, May 7, 2007

Google Catches Volkswagon Search Spamming

Posted by @ 8:55 pm

The Google Enterprise blog recently featured the Volkswagon website for using new Google features to power a search box on their website. At the time, Google was unaware the major car manufacturer was actually search spamming, but as Danny Sullivan revealed, the website was using hidden text.

Below is the hidden text as reported by Search Engine Land:

“Here is the text that is clearly not visible on the page. It’s kept invisible using a special style called “invisibleContent:”

Volkswagen of America presents U.S. vehicle information, pricing, incentives, deals, comparisons on Eos, GTI, Jetta, New Beetle, New Beetle Convertible, Passat, Passat Wagon, Touareg, Rabbit, R32 and the GLI with links to VW dealers, owner information, Volkswagen merchandise, and VW accessories. homepage, volkswagen, volkswagon,, home, landing, top,, home page, home, top, back, VWofAmerica, Volkswagen of America, Volkswagon of America, VWoA, VWofA,”

This is not the first time a major car company has been caught search engine spamming. Around this time last year, we reported on BMW being banned from the Google index for using a javascript redirect spamming technique. As was the case with both manufactures, Google worked with them to remove the spammy code and both websites are now successfully re-included in Google search results.

Webmasters should see this example as a friendly reminder that search spamming is bad and no company whether large or small is exempt from Google penalties.

Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

View Matthew Elshaw's profile

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