So you might have heard that retail giant, JC Penney was punished by search engine giant Google last weekend for “black hat” SEO tactics. Their search engine optimization firm, SearchDex was fired shortly after the story broke by NY Times reporter David Segal. You can read the whole story here.
What is amazing to me is marketing garbage that this SEO company has on its site about “best practices” and “guidelines”. It really goes to show you how even the big companies like JC Penney are fooled by false advertising. That is if you believe that JC Penney had no knowledge of this happening.
So what did they do that JC Penney got punished for? Well, SearchDex was buying links from other websites. Now paid linking has always been a no-no in the SEO world. Buying of paid links has been around for at least ten years and some do it much better than others and have gotten away with it. SearchDex was buying links on sites like http://www.bulgariapropertyportal.com and http://www.usclettermen.org/. Those sites used descriptive links like “evening dresses” and “black dresses”.
Here is an excerpt from the NY Times article on how devastating this was for JC Penney’s SEO:
On Wednesday evening, Google began what it calls a “manual action” against Penney, essentially demotions specifically aimed at the company.
At 7 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, J. C. Penney was still the No. 1 result for “Samsonite carry on luggage.”
Two hours later, it was at No. 71.
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Penney was No. 1 in searches for “living room furniture.”
By 9 p.m., it had sunk to No. 68.
In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country.
The next it was essentially buried.”
How do you keep yourself from falling into the same trap that JC Penney did?
- Read my post on finding a quality SEO firm
- Manage the SEO expectation – SEO is planting a tree from a seed so it has to be nurtured.
- If it is to good to be true it is – nothing in the SEO world is a quick hit
- Use “white hat” SEO techniques – that means no buying links