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Google blacklists BMW Web site

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The company's German Web site fails to show up in Google searches.

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(CNN) -- Google has blocked the German Web site of BMW after accusing the car maker of trying to manipulate search results.

The company was blacklisted for using so-called "doorway pages," using search terms such as "new cars" and "used cars" to boost its ranking in search results lists.

Such pages can be used to trick search engines into sending users to Web sites that are not directly related to the search terms they are searching for.

Google says it will temporarily or permanently suspend any site that breaks its rules. BMW denies any wrongdoing.

A Google spokeswoman said: " We can confirm that BMW.de has been removed from our search results. We never comment on the specifics of individual cases but we would stress that the quality of our index and search results is of the utmost importance to Google.

"We cannot tolerate Web sites trying to manipulate search results as we aim to provide users with the relevant and objective search results.

"Google may temporarily or permanently ban any site or site authors that engage in tactics designed to distort their rankings or mislead users in order to preserve the accuracy and quality of our search results.

"We will re-include sites if we are sure that they are no longer trying to violate our quality guidelines."

Many Web sites choose to "optimize" their ranking by working on the site content and architecture so that Google can effectively rank it.

On Google's own Web site, the company lists a series of quality guidelines.

First among those is a requirement to design Web sites for users, not for search engines.

"Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as 'cloaking,'" Google says.

BMW spokesman Marc Hassinger said the company did not consider the use of "doorway" pages to be a manipulation.

He said the pages had been created to direct people who were interested in topics related to BMW -- such as used cars -- to the right pages.

The "doorway" pages were removed last Thursday after criticism surfaced on a blog written by a Google staffer, he said.

He added the company was in talks with Google and he was confident the site would be reinstated. He said 0.4 percent of traffic to the BMW.de Web site came through Google.

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