Google Denies Keyword Stuffing Claims

Google has responded to claims that it was using banned techniques of "keyword stuffing" and "cloaking" to promote its own site in search results, saying the information was meant only for internal purposes.

On Tuesday, Threadwatch, a group blog that discusses marketing technology, provoked controversy when a thread entitled "Google Caught Cloaking - Keyword Stuffing Titles" gained the attention of the Slashdot online community. The thread suggested that Google purposefully violated its own guidelines to boost the rating of its Web sites to a more favorable position.

Keyword stuffing happens when a Web site is literally "stuffed" with keywords that are picked up by search engines as they spider the Web. Cloaking refers to a shadow Web site with mislabeled content that search engines index, when in fact the page a user encounters is not the same.

Using these techniques, Google could conceivably influence search engine results, but the company dismisses the bloggers' suggestions that it was giving itself an unfair advantage over other Web sites.

A Google spokesperson acknowledged the findings to BetaNews and chalked them up to a technical oversight.

"We inadvertently showed additional information on product support pages to both Google's site search crawler and Google's main web crawler. The additional information shown by the product support pages was intended only for the site search crawler, not the main web crawler," the spokesperson said.

Google also says it is in process of making a technical change so that the pages show only the information available to users.

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