28 Feb Google says JCPenneys search engine optimisation is blackhat
JCPenney, the famous chain of US department stores, is in trouble for its search engine optimisation tactics.
A reporter for The New York Times posed as an SEO worker and joined an independent search engine optimisation agency to shed light on how the retailing giant was achieving its high status in the SERPs for so many highly profitable search terms.
The investigation soon revealed a tactic of using thousands of links from topically unrelated sites. In certain cases the sites had ceased operations and were abandoned.
Google’s Matt Cutts decried the manoeuvre as “blackhat” in a Twitter post and stated that “manual action” had been undertaken against the e-commerce site.
However, Google has not barred JCPenney. Any links which violated Google’s webspam guidelines have been devalued on their SERPs and the rankings have been adjusted to a more algorithmically correct standing.
A spokesperson for JCPenney stated that the retailer had not been “involved with or aware of” the link building campaign and that their e-commerce department were attempting to remove the links in question. Similarly, the SEO agency, which JCPenney has stopped using, has not been proved to be responsible for the campaign either.
Internet retailers have been warned to be vigilant when seeking out an agency to conduct a search engine optimisation campaign and to be wary of any marketers who promise instant success in the SERPs.