Welcome to SEO Advantage’s Trivia feature Friday, where we discuss, dissect and comment on the internet and marketing, and how the two intertwine.
What famous department store was ‘outed’ for using ‘black hat’ SEO practices?
- J.C. Penney
The 2011 holiday season was a busy time for J.C. Penney. In terms of internet search results, they found themselves in the #1 slot for numerous categories—everything from ‘dresses’ to name brands like Samsonite.
However, after doing some digging, Google discovered that this lucky streak was the result of ‘black hat’ SEO practices, namely, purchasing links. According to a NY Times article, roughly 2,000 sites linked back to J.C. Penney using the phrase ‘dress’ alone.
While not illegal, black hat SEO practices are a quick way to have Google penalize your website. After Google took action against J.C. Penney, their rankings fell from No. 1 to the high 60s (and even 70s) in a matter of two hours, which shows the power that Google’s ranking algorithm has for website search rankings.
Google taking steps to enforce strict policies against websites that practice black hat SEO practices in hopes to encourage companies to rely more on organic search results rather than purchasing links.