SEOs Discuss The J.C. Penney Public Google Penalty

Feb 14, 2011 • 9:03 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search & Web SEO Spam

Google Hammer Mario VersionI am sure all of you read the NY Times piece from the weekend named The Dirty Little Secrets of Search. It talks about how major realtor, J.C. Penney, had unbelievable Google ranking for many keywords that brought them tons and tons of e-commerce income for several months - but how those rankings were achieved through link spamming.

Of course, J.C. Penney management claims they had no clue what their outsourced SEO company was doing and fired them immediately after speaking with the NY Times. But all those months, they had number one rankings for keywords like “skinny jeans,” “home decor,” “comforter sets,” “furniture," "dresses," and the list goes on and on. They reaped the short term reward and now find themselves publicly humiliated and penalized in Google.

If you want to learn more of exactly what J.C. Penney's SEO team did on a technical level, read Vanessa Fox's explanation at Search Engine Land.

There is, as you would imagine, tons of discussion around this in the SEO community.

Here is one quote from WebmasterWorld from Tedster, but the forums are definitely worth a read:

I thought it was interesting that the algorithmic change is described as taking so long to roll out. We have been noticing for months how big algo changes first show up and then seem to bounce around for days. This article seems to point in the same direction. I'm thinking statistical sampling and feedback - machine learning of some kind.

It seems that "how we count backlinks" has been a common description of algo changes for quite a while now. Makes me wonder if Google's address to content farms will also be in this area. And also if a site is tagged as hosting a low value outbound link, might that roll over to other outbound links they host.

I know that Google can negate link equity flow at the level of individual link, the whole page or the whole domain. But I wonder if enough "individual problem links" could spell bigger trouble for the hosting site.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, DigitalPoint Forums and Sphinn.

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02/14/2011 03:20 pm

SEO is long term... if you go after short term... then u get google smacked like @jcpenney


02/15/2011 01:25 pm

Humiliated? Really?


02/19/2011 06:24 am

but what about SEO Round Table.. You too sell links to SEO Companies - isn't it. I can ensure this because you sold one to our competitor as well from your homepage (SEO India - You too need to come up with a new revenue model soon.


02/24/2011 10:23 am

If Google really penalized link spam then I'd just link spam all my competitors' domains and watch myself move up the rankings organically. Please...this is all just BS and propaganda

SEO Professionals

08/14/2011 11:51 pm

At times, the smallest of things terrify a website owner more than the odds of being penalized by Google. Lack of conviction and faith is responsible for that fear. Almost nobody is aware of what will amount to violating the rules of this vast search engine. Therefore, most of the genuine webmasters, time and again, accept that a penalty applies even while it does not.

Richard B.

11/01/2011 06:19 pm

finally, someone with a brain.

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