Hugo Boss Next Big Name Caught Breaking Google T&Cs

Seems outing big name websites for using methods against Google's Terms and Conditions is the flavor of the month. Former Google Web Spam team member Hessam Lavi has outed Hugo Boss for using doorway pages.

Apparently, Hugo Boss has been using no script redirects to allow the search engines to see an optimized page for various items but push their shoppers to a sales page for the actual products. While it definitely breaches the T&Cs, the method really questions if showing the engine one page and a visitor another based on possible retargeting may be good for the user experience but bad for the search engine's experience.

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I have to give a nod to Dave Harry for this story - he also noticed the new online pastime - "Be vewwwy quiet, we're hunting big brands! Yup, it's time once again for everyone's favorite feeding frenzy, let's out a big brand!!"

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Interestingly, the cache shows the differences and if you look at the pages with javascript turned off the redirects can be found in the no script tags.

Like Dave I think this new outing may show a bad practice but it is one that aids the user. "In this case I almost feel bad for Hugo Boss (almost). They were seemingly looking to please engines and users separately. Do they NEED to? Probably not, I'd imagine that site has enough authority to rank even fairly thin pages if they wanted to."

What they missed was it could have been done by just 301 redirecting the pages to the ones they are showing the user and that page would rank where the spidered page does.

SEOs are being hired now to do research to out sites for work they may have done in the past for other sites. What tricks were used in the past that now can be outed to other clients? Some of this stuff was done when not breaking rules.

Our industry is in an interesting period. How many sites will suffer as this battle continues?

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.