Travel sites warned ‘don’t cheat the system’

Travel companies have been warned against cheating to improve natural search listings on Google after the search engine banned car giant BMW for breaching its rules.

Digital agency Tamar commercial director Neil McCarthy said Google’s crackdown on BMW illustrates it is serious about cleaning up the search process. Earlier this year, Google removed BMW’s German site from its listings for using doorway pages to make it the top listing for ‘used car’ searches.

The site created doorway pages full of keywords to make sure it appeared high on the listings. However, when a user clicked on the Google link, they were directed to another page instead, which had far fewer key words so would have appeared much lower down on the rankings.

The site’s ban was lifted after three days. “Google is trying hard to clean up the site,” he said.

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