Google points to over cloaking

Volkswagen’s US marketing web team has made changes to the way its pages are constructed following an intervention from Google. had been featured by Google’s Enterprise blog last week for making search front and centre of a new design.

But, Search Engine Land found, in an effort to raise the site’s visibility in search engines, site developers had used an HTML class “invisibleContent” that goes against Google’s rules.

The class, on a page containing a Flash applet, included text describing the car marker’s vehicle range that was rendered invisible to human readers but was digested by search crawlers.

Kevin Gough, Google’s senior product manager for Enterprise, confirmed he contacted Volkswagen to request a change because the tactic “is not in keeping with Google’s site quality guidelines“.

“I reached out to the technical director of VW’s creative agency and found out that they were including the keywords in this manner to increase the amount of content crawled by the Google Search Appliance for the Flash-based pages of the site,” Gough wrote.

“Once alerted to this, VW switched to including relevant keywords in the META data in the of the web pages on the site, an approach that is in keeping with Google quality guidelines.”

BMW and even Google itself have previously fallen foul of the rule.