J.C. Penney black hat SEO methods

I hope everyone that is interested in SEO and how Google ranks websites for certain terms read the Times article about J.C. Penney called The Dirty Little Secrets of Search. If you are interested in how search engine optimization works, the article had a lot of great takeaways. The basis of the article is that J.C. Penney has recently been paying a third party company to get their website to show up on the first page of Google for all kinds of different search terms. The J.C. Penney website was outranking Samsonite.com for the search terms “Somsonite carry on luggage,” now that is crazy! The reason I say their website “was outranking” is because Google has recently caught on to the black hat methods that J.C. Penney was using and applied a “manual action” against J.C. Penney’s search rankings.

The article goes into explaining how Google displays organic search results.

If you own a Web site, for instance, about Chinese cooking, your site’s Google ranking will improve as other sites link to it. The more links to your site, especially those from other Chinese cooking-related sites, the higher your ranking. In a way, what Google is measuring is your site’s popularity by polling the best-informed online fans of Chinese cooking and counting their links to your site as votes of approval.

Link building is a very important role of SEO, but obviously not the techniques J.C. Penney was using. The firm J.C. Penney was using for SEO were getting links from any and every site they could. This also included getting high-quality links from SEO experts; and if you were to read their seo blog, you’d know of the success rate that links have on SEO. The sites that were linking to J.C. Penney didn’t relate to their clothing business at all and some of the sites looked abandoned or used as link farms.

Another great insight from this article is the paragraph about Google’s PageRank.

The hardest part about the link-selling business, he explained, is signing up deep-pocketed mainstream clients. Lots of them, it seems, are afraid they’ll get caught. Another difficulty is finding quality sites to post links. Whoever set up the JCPenney.com campaign, he said, relied on some really low-rent, spammy sites — the kind with low PageRanks, as Google calls its patented measure of a site’s quality. The higher the PageRank, the more “Google juice” a site offers others to which it is linked.

When looking for link trades online, not only do you want to find sites that relate to your business, but websites with a high PageRank. You will find a lot of people and articles online saying how PageRank doesn’t matter as much as it use too, but I still think it should be a consideration when building incoming links and the above statement explains why this is important.

I have always wondered the mindset behind the SEO’s using black hat methods to rank organically for certain terms. Of course you may get fast results, but all the work you put into the SEO campaign is worthless once Google and the other major search engines ban your website for life. If you are going to start a SEO campaign for your business be sure you do your research and stay away from theses black hate methods. You can outrank your competitors and drive organic traffic to your website without worrying about being banned.

Now its your turn. Use the comment section below and let us know what you think about J.C. Penney’s search engine strategy. If you were in charge of a company this size, would you gamble with your organic search results like J.C. Penney did? If you have questions or need help with your SEO strategy, let us know. We are here to help.