For a long time there has been speculation about Google playing favorites in their search engine results pages (SERPs). An example of which would be a big-name brick and mortar company appearing in seemingly impossible positions with little or no content to justify those positions. However, a few days ago senior Google engineer Matt Cutts laid much of this speculation to rest. On his blog, Cutts gave big-name spam the boot in the form of BMW.de. If there were a font that embodied glee and jubilance with a hint of “I told you so”, his entire post would have been crafted in it.
This development has caused both applause and fear within the search engine marketing industry. But what does this really mean? Will Google “dropping the hammer” on BMW really have a significant impact on the overall industry landscape? Unfortunately, no. Those that are willing to employ these tactics will still do so, accepting (or ignoring) the risks associated with it.
Although this slap on the wrists may hurt the pride of the BMW company, I really don’t see this having a huge impact on their bottom line. However, Google’s BMW ban may be the warning shot that some companies need to start spending a little more time looking into the history and tactics of their online initiatives. No one wants to end up in a situation where they have spent years and a considerable amount of money building a brand name to be suddenly invisible to their online users.
Whether or not this development does change how companies choose a search engine marketing vendor, I would like to applaud Google for the stance they took on this issue. I know that with the huge target they have on their back, everyone, myself included, likes to cast a stone now and again, but what they did showed integrity and conviction. So, no stone casting today.