Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:57 am

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The search engine giant, Google recently caught and cracked down onwhat is arguably one of the greatest attempts at deviously manipulating a company’s search engine ranking. While stories similar to this aren’t uncommon when it comes to spam tactics from, certain dubious web games and so on, the accused party behind this scam might surprise you: It’s retail giant J.C. Penney.

Based on an up to date New York City Times article, suspicions were raised when it had been revealed that J.C. Penney was the superior result to get a wide array of searches that most people wouldn’t necessarily associate with the company (examples include “dresses”, “bedding”, and “area rugs”). The Times asked online search expert Doug Pierce of Blue Fountain Media to help them figure out how this might be, and also the man’s answer was enough to upset Google it had been forwarded tothe company.

Pierce found out that, when he searched for “dresses”, there have been over 2,000 sites listed that referenced dresses. However, a number of these sites had not do dresses, but they included text links to J.C. Penney. In reality, a number of these sites were only link farms.

The Times contacted Google on this information and ended upin an interview with Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team. Cutts clearly wasn’t happy around the issue, that wasa clear violation of Google’s advertising terms. Cutts also mentioned that jcpenney.com had previously violated Google’s guidelines 3x in the past (the newest was in November).

J.C. Penney, needless to say, isn’t happy concerning this. The retail chain fired SearchDex, itssearch engine consulting firm. A spokeswoman for the company denied any wrongdoing inside matter, plus the company issued this statement following Google’s response: “We are disappointed that Google has reduced our rankings for that reason, but i will always work actively to retain our high natural search position.”

That is a very public black eye for J.C. Penney, but many cannot exactly bring themselves to feel sorry for the company when it had been pretty obvious it’s taken part in something so shady. This event should come as warning to SEO companies that utilising black hat techniques such as link farms should not be patronised.

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