Welcome Back To Google, BMW — Missed You These Past Three Days

I said BMW
would be back soon after they got banned on Saturday. Matt Cutts over at Google
lets everyone know
they are now back in. So, they got a three day slap on the wrist. It
demonstrates once again how public spam reports can be so effective and how big
major web sites really don’t get the “death penalty,” when it comes to spamming.

Spam always seems to get removed faster after a big dose of publicity. Back
in 2003, I wrote

Google Kills eBay Affiliate Spam Quickly, Others Survive
for Search Engine
Watch members
that looked at how an eBay affiliate using doorway pages was
by Google after public exposure. In contrast, people still complain
that nothing happens when they file spam reports with major search engines
through official

spam reporting feedback forms

BMW’s situation proves once again that the best spam antibiotic is a good
topical application of publicity. So did you spot spam? Blog away. Get others to
blog, and that will probably help get the spam removed.

Are you spamming? If you’re not hiding your tracks well, be forewarned that
the publicity monster might roll over you at some point. On the flipside, we’ll
eventually have so many public spam reports that not all of them will be dealt

For example,
More European Automaker Sites Do Doorways & Should Search Engines Be Able To
Enforce Spam Rules?
on the blog from yesterday covered spamming spotted by
Porsche Denmark and Chevrolet Sweden, but those two automakers remain listed. I
expect they probably will remain listed, too. If BMW took a ding for being
banned, Google took some hits from those who feel spam removals ought to happen
after a warning. Google’s probably thinking about ramping up the
spam notification
it was testing before wiping out any more big time sites that might
push back on no warning wipeouts.

Meanwhile, a second spam truism gets proven. Big companies hardly face a
“death penalty” on Google. They get back in and fast. Let’s do some timings. In
the Spam Olympics event of getting back in after being banned, we have….

  • WhenU: Banned in 2004,
    back in
    after 42 days
  • WordPress:
    in 2005, back in after 2 days or less
  • BMW: Banned in 2006, back in after 3 days

What if you aren’t a big company? Matt covered the timeline on getting back
into Google in his prior
Filing a
reinclusion request

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.

So while BMW was upset that Google didn’t give them a heads-up about being
banned, at least they didn’t have to wait 2-3 weeks to get back in. Over at
Matt’s blog post, you can see some of people commenting who aren’t
happy with such
express service. Matt responds:

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

That brings me back to the advice I’ve long given to those thinking of
skirting search engine guidelines. How big do you think you are? If you really
think you’re running a crucial site, you can sin against Google and gang and
probably be forgiven in short order. They do need you. Absolution will be
provided. Maybe put you back in so that you don’t rank well for generic
searches, but you’ll be back in and find for navigational ones.

Running some small web site that no one’s going to miss? Don’t expect express
treatment nor gamble you’ll be reincluded.

Meanwhile, Barry
to a WebmasterWorld thread
finding that
the same thing that got BMW banned is still happening. Well, not quite. As
Philipp at Google Blogoscoped
points out,
the pages are gone from the live site but Google is still retaining cached
copies of them. Those cached pages should be dropped over time.

Want to comment or discuss? Please do! Visit our Search Engine Watch
Forums threads

Google Removes BMW Germany For Spamming
BMW debacle
good for SEO?

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