Google Bans and Buries Web Sites: 6 Search Engine Showdowns

Senator Hutchison, BMW Germany and others get blocked by search engine giant.

ByABC News
August 4, 2009, 6:25 PM

Aug. 6, 2009— -- When it comes to Google, you'd better not try any mischief.

The Internet giant has very specific guidelines for Web sites that want to be found with its search engine. But when those sites don't comply, it isn't long before they get a slap on the wrist or worse.

"If a site has been penalized, it may no longer show up in results on or on any of Google's partner sites," Google says on a page devoted to Webmaster guidelines.

And don't think they aren't serious. Web sites belonging to corporations, individuals and political campaigns have been buried or banned altogether because of tactics that game or disrupt Google's system.

In the latest search engine showdown, Google blocked the Web site of Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign last week after it found hidden text in the Web site's source code.

To the average visitor, looked like any other political site. But those who could pull back the layers of the Web found something else.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the source code for the site included more than 2,200 hidden phrases, including word combinations with Hutchison's name and Rick Perry, the name of the incumbent. The newspaper said it also included the phrase "rick perry gay."

A spokesman for Hutchison's campaign told that its Web technology company, ElectionMall Technologies was informed by Google last week that the site had violated its guidelines. He also said that they had dismissed the firm.

When contacted by, ElectionMall declined to give a comment.

The URL has been discontinued and directs to But when it was still alive, aides for the senator said the phrases were computer-generated based on campaign-related terms that Internet users would likely search for and were intended to help target online banner advertising, the Statesman reported.

But hiding text in source code is a giant Google no-no.