Google remains unbiased when providing significant and precise information as it has the responsibility to provide searchers what they’re looking for, and if in case it catches someone providing spam sources, the name applies punishment immediately, termed as ‘Google Penalty’.

It’s a procedure that Google undertakes to identify and remove the Spammy and dishonest sources, to retain its dignity and credibility in the eyes of users.

So, if you are planning to save your website from these penalties, seek the examples we have brought for you and absorb lessons from the chapters that these 10 big names have studied, once getting penalized by Google. Have a look on these big brands:

10# BMW Delisted for Cloaking

In the year 2006, Google found out that British Motor Works (BMW) was using cloaking or doorway page techniques in order to hide code from a searcher or bot for the betterment of their ranking in Search Engine result pages.

Google doesn’t like these core Black Hat SEO techniques and, thus BMW was completely removed from its index, under the severe penalty terms.

This is an example of what BMW actually did:


Lesson you learn here:

The minute Google finds your webpage or blog guilty of using hidden texts and doorway pages stuffed with the keywords to manipulate search engine results, be ready to pay the price.

9# Google Japan got Slapped for Buying Links

Trust it or not, but Google penalized itself five times for violating its own quality guidelines. In 2009, Google Japan started buying links from different bloggers in order to rank higher on Yahoo.

Although they claim their intention wasn’t to go against Google’s policies, yet landed on the incorrect side mistakenly.

Lesson you learn here:

When it comes to SEO strategy, you must play well through Google’s rules and policies. This will help you to save your website/blog from manual penalties and loss of traffic.

8# Forbes busted for Selling Links:

In February 2011, the was caught in the act of selling links on its own website, without a second thought of adding ‘nofollow’ attribute.


What’s also interesting about this incident is that it was not for the first time Forbes got in woe with Google for selling links. Back in the year 2007, the popular magazine received punishment by the giant search engine for the same reason, experiencing a huge drop in its Page Ranking.

Lesson you learn here:

Buying and selling links in order to gain high page rank has always been a big no in Google’s guiding principle.  If you consider link spam is the matter of the past, think again.

7# Overstock for offering discounts on Backlinks

The famous online retailer Overstocks bumped into trouble when one of its competitors found it offering 10% discounts on its products, to students and faculty of universities in exchange of ‘.edu site links’ back to its website.


Since Google trusts links originated from educational sites, the ranking of the Overstock’s website had boosted many folds.

But, it didn’t take long for it to smell the rat, and hence, Overstock experienced terrific drop in its ranking.

Lesson you learn here:

Paid links are always treated as a big scam, it doesn’t matter what type of sources you are using to buy it.

6# Mozilla got spam penalty for User Generated Spam

It’s really hard to believe that popular open source Firefox browser was penalized by Google for holding user generated spam in its blog comments and forums.


But, unlike other penalties, it was an exceptionally specific situation where only a single page that was considered excessively spammed was hit by Google out of 22 million pages.

Lesson you learn here:

Pay attention to what users are doing on your website. A user generated spam might lead to your website getting penalized.

5# penalized for selling crap links

‘’, a popular newspaper based in New York got a major setback from the search giant for selling crap and irrelevant links without using ‘nofollow’ attribute in the footer of its website’s homepage.


These links were navigated to some irrelevant sites, like lung cancer, law firm and others, considered as spams as per the quality guidelines.

Lesson you learn here:

It makes no difference how efficient your brand is, if you are selling spammy links to unrelated sites (excluding classified sites), sooner or later Google will surely penalize you.

4# Rap Genius for spammy SEO

Rap Genius, a famous US based lyrics website allowed bloggers to stuff links into their lyrics content and in return, asked them to tweet about their website on twitter, resulting in unnatural hike in traffic rate.


After this link-tweet exchange game came to light on Christmas Eve 2013, Rap Genius faced the consequences and Google instantly brought them down in their rankings.

Lesson you learn here:

The quality of outbound links matter more than the quantity. Links inserted in your content should be relevant and trustworthy otherwise be prepared to suffer from the penalty.

3# BBC Slammed for Unnatural Links

The reputed British Broadcast Corporation, BBC was slap with penalty in the year 2013 for having unnatural links pointing towards a particular webpage.


The Tech Giant found it as an act to modify the search results because it would actually land up as a matter of disbelief, if a website gets 30k+ backlinks in one day using just a single piece of content.

And similar to Mozilla, the penalty involved single page degradation.

Lesson you learn here:

Unnatural links are counted as fake and manipulative outbound links every time. Even though these fake links can boost your website ranking strongly for a short span of time, there is a possibility that soon you may get caught.

2# WordPress hit for Doorway Spam

It’s true, that our beloved Content Management System, WordPress was found guilty for hosting more than 1 lakh article with unrelated backlinks. These articles were stuffed with high-cost keywords written by a third party site in order to earn money.


As a punishment by Google, the WordPress homepage was unable to rank even for its own brand name. Moreover its page rank got reduced to zero.

Lesson you learn here:

Doorway pages are not only spam, but also bring bad experiences to the users. By using these spammy practices on your website you turn out to be the culprit of your own success.

1# JC Penney for Paid Links

JC Penney Cheat came into light when one of the popular America based newspapers ‘New York Times’ exposed JC’s paid link strategy to rank better on the Google. At that time almost every trending product you searched for- You were supposed to see JC on the top.

As soon as the news rolled out, Google observed and penalized this spammer retailer. Its website ranking experienced almost dropped to hundredth position in the search results.

Lesson you learn here:

If you are using paid link scheme to boost your ranking and don’t get noticed, then it’s not mandate that you will be able to escape from the search giant’s eyeballs.


The above listed examples prove that sometimes even the big names may go wrong with their SEO strategies. Many companies achieve a top ranking in Google by simply being good at what they do and by playing with the rules. Google has a very clear set of quality guidelines, which if ignored or overlooked, can lead to severe penalties, and so, to make an escape from these sorts of penalties, one must play safe.

DSIM Blog is created to help you to know all aspects of Digital Marketing ranging from basics of Digital Marketing to Advance Level Topics, Read our posts and feel free to reach our team for any queries.

4 thoughts on “10 Big Brands That Got Penalized By Google”

  1. I tһink this is among the most vital іnformation for me.
    And I am glad reading y᧐ur articlе. But wanna remark on few general things, The web site styⅼe
    is wonderful, tһe articles are really great : D.
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  2. Excellent information, Google is also penalizing the big brands, but I think they are giving them a chance to recover the search results again.

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