Friday, February 18, 2011

JCPenney's dirty little secret


I wanted to focus this morning’s blog post on search engine optimization as it has been a hot topic at my work this past week. I was recently contacted by a SEO company who gave us a free consultation on our website and showed us a few things we were doing wrong. Our company has previously worked with SEO companies and has been given conflicting information from multiple companies over the years. We got into the topic of link partners and what they can do for your company. I was also shown a few things our competitors were doing, and found out one of our top competitors was using a so called “black hat” practice of link farming. The whole idea of link farms is quite interesting to me.
I found an article this morning from The New York Times talking about what happens when search engine marketing goes wrong. The New York Times reported that this past weekend JCPenney’s website was receiving so much web traffic that even Google caught on. Interestingly enough, the retail giant was appearing in many different search terms from “area rugs” to “dresses.” The article reported that such “black hat” practices were taking place, with thousands of back links were crated to the JCPenney website. JCPenney has reportedly fired their search agency and denies all allegations of having a hand in the operation.
I find this surprising coming for such a large retail giant like JCPenney, which makes me wonder who was in charge of hiring their search agency and were they actually checking into the back links. We currently use Hubspot – Inbound Marketing Software to monitor our back links, and where they are coming from. You may remember from a few years ago, Gordon Campbell was being scrutinized by the media for having links from pornographic sites to his political site. The public later found out that his site was using link farms to increase his ranking in the Google search.
The New York Times also made a good point when they said no matter who was at fault here, it is JCPenney who will ultimately suffer the consequences in terms of their lower Google search ranking and negative publicity.
To read the article from The New York Times click here

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