JC Penney’s Busted for “Black Hat” SEO

Today’s New York Times has a fantastic piece about search engine optimization, especially “black hat” SEO and an excellent explaination of JC Penney’s alleged attempts at manipulating search engine rankings.

JC Penney’s was, until last week, consistently ranked #1 in Google’s search results for highly lucrative and competitive terms like “dresses,” “bedding,” and “area rugs,” and ranked consistently at or near the top for terms like “skinny jeans,” “home decor,” “comforter sets,” “furniture” and dozens of other search terms.

According to Google, which has strict guidelines about search optimization, JC Penney’s has been using a shady practice, known in SEO circles as black hat seo.

Google’s guidelines are quite clear when it comes to cheaters, spammers, and disreputable outfits that try to manipulate search engine rankings in deceptive or “non-organic” ways.

Google has pulled the plug and “removed” JC Penney’s listings from the front page of listings and is looking into the matter further. JC Penney’s has fired back, and claims that they had no idea of the practice.

Our advice to JC Penney’s?  Use proven, reputable methods to achieve search engine ranking success. Don’t use spammers or scammers to manipulate search engine results.  Google is very attached to it’s business model and will go to great lengths to keep its search engine listings as pure and organic as possible.

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