• May 8th 2007 at 1:05PM
  • 6
Both Volkswagen and Google have responded to criticism that the automaker's web pages were in violation of Google's quality guidelines. The uproar centers around hidden keywords in flash-based pages.
Rather than include the keywords in the meta tag of the HTML page, which is where information about the document is typically placed, VW was hiding search keywords inside the page. Using a div layer, which is a technique of building pages with style sheets, Volkswagen had loads of search terms that would register with web spiders, but not show up to end users. The end result would be the Volkswagen pages would be called up for more searches on Google than they otherwise would be.

The name of this suspect layer, "invisibleContent," seems to clearly register its intent. Since being flagged, Google and Volkswagen's agency had a chat, and the search terms are now properly placed under the Meta description in the page. Oh yeah, the pages now block web crawlers from caching the pages - a total 180 degree turn from spamming search engines with hidden terms. Very weird.

Some webmasters are a little miffed that Google didn't throw the book at VW and kick it from the search engine's index, a particularly devastating reaction for websites that Google often has when a site is found to be violating its quality guidelines. Apparently it doesn't matter, however, since VW's blocked its site from being cached anyway.

[Source: cartoonbarry.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I just do not understand this stupidity. Why does Volkswagen not offer proper content for users without flash, without javascript and those using mobile devices -- the side effect would be being properly indexed? I often stumble upon car makers sites that are even un-navigatable without flash.

      For users with flash and JS a quick DOM tree manipulation could partially replace the content. This would be great for all -- as long as the content of the parts replaced equal the content of the flash animation.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The stupidity Mattias? Hate to say it, but google's target demogrphic actually tends to have modern systems with dsl (well and college degrees, etc)... hell everyone is using flash so I'm not quite sure where your call to the html/xml choir is coming from.

      That said, this article comes as no surprise, given google and vw are already partnering on a few projects.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #4, the Lopez thing happened over a decade ago, and was a personnel issue. How does that have ANYTHING to do with cars, websites, and search engine technology?

      What I always wondered about the Lopez affair was what "secrets" did VW look to get from GM anyway? (sarcasm) GM doesn't build cars, they build trucks, rental fleets, and Corvettes (/sarcasm)


      • 8 Years Ago
      I must be getting old, I do not understand one bit of this post!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not allowing Google to cache a file and not allowing it to index it are two different things. The former just applies to the case when a user wants to view a cached version of the page via Google.
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