JCPenny get's Google Slapped

by webjoe
22 replies
  • SEO
  • |
This is an interesting read in the NYTimes:

"The Dirty Little Secrets of Search"
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/bu.../13search.html

Anybody heard of the companies that they listed: SearchDex, TNX.net, etc? Thoughts?
#google #jcpenny #seo #slapped
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    • Profile picture of the author batchos
      Just read this and was about to post the link but you beat me to it. The article reads like a spy thriller. Deny, Deceive and Demote

      I intend to post this article as a PDF to one of my offline sites.
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      • Profile picture of the author 1960Texan
        Originally Posted by batchos View Post

        The article reads like a spy thriller. Deny, Deceive and Demote
        I had the same thought. It was a great read, and the story's not over yet...I was particularly interested in a couple of other points:
        1. Google has about 24,000 employees, but there are hundreds of thousands of spammers.
        2. The E.U. is currently investigating Google's business practices.
        What most of us (myself included) achieve in Internet marketing is a drop in the bucket when you consider the billions of dollars some companies earn online. Whenever and wherever money is involved, you will have a group of people that will try to be successful by any means necessary. They will lie, cheat, and steal to get what they consider to be their fair share.

        Sometimes these people will be working as an organization made up of like-minded individuals (for example, the Mob); sometimes these like-minded individuals will find each other from within an organization that strives to play by the rules (dirty cops).

        There's going to be fall-out from this for a long time.

        Will
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        • Profile picture of the author Jonathan Beaton
          The slap was a must from a PR perspective.

          The NY times pretty much proved that they were spamming.

          That being said, only the bad links were slapped. Google can't just rip a giant like that from the index simply for buying links. Then a competitor could just buy links, point them where ever and then tip off a news paper.
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          • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
            Originally Posted by Jonathan Beaton View Post

            Then a competitor could just buy links, point them where ever and then tip off a news paper.
            That's the scary thing. We may not be far off from stuff like this happening. How would a company prove they had nothing to do with the links being built? Could be a dangerous precedent set here.
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          • Profile picture of the author winsoar
            Originally Posted by Jonathan Beaton View Post

            The slap was a must from a PR perspective.

            The NY times pretty much proved that they were spamming.

            That being said, only the bad links were slapped. Google can't just rip a giant like that from the index simply for buying links. Then a competitor could just buy links, point them where ever and then tip off a news paper.
            Exactly - that's why backlinks cannot damage search ranking. At worse low quality backlinks such as those from forum profiles or blog comment spamming will have zero effect. If competitors are building high quality links they can overtake other sites in the search rankings.
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  • Profile picture of the author Converting Copy
    Wow JC Penney got greedily stupid. They probably had some flash up and coming SEO guy at SearchDex who was like, "I can take you to the top", and JCP gave him tons of men's wear and bedding while his "method" was working. Good read.
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  • Profile picture of the author schttrj
    Just read the article today. I like when Google takes action.
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  • Profile picture of the author LauraJames
    Thank you for posting this. Very interesting information.
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  • Profile picture of the author PPC-Coach
    Interesting article.

    It's also scary how Google really is judge, jury and executioner. THEY control what we see based on thier opinion of what is important and what isn't.

    That's scary.
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  • Profile picture of the author davemiz
    lol.... not sure if you know this but the stuff JC Penny's got caught for doing is going on daily in search.

    how else do you think a site gets 100,000+ links?

    LOL.... do you really think someone is sitting there linking each site?

    all the big players do this stuff... jc pennys just got caught.

    thats all.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rodger McFarland
      I love this quote from the article:

      "... the intrigue starts in the sprawling, subterranean world of "black hat" optimization, the dark art of raising the profile of a Web site..."

      I think I'm going to go buy myself a black hooded robe and start drinking from a large silver chalice filled with...well you get the idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author lexilexi
    Originally Posted by davemiz View Post

    lol.... not sure if you know this but the stuff JC Penny's got caught for doing is going on daily in search.

    how else do you think a site gets 100,000+ links?

    LOL.... do you really think someone is sitting there linking each site?

    all the big players do this stuff... jc pennys just got caught.

    thats all.
    Agreed... the whole darn thing is spam! (It's google's fault anyway for inventing a system that measures "quality" largely in terms of popularity - and they wonder why people are attempting to create popularity instead of quality!)

    Google is too stuck up to admit that their algorithm can no more detect "quality" than it can smell a rose. Get off your high horse, hire some staff and do some manual reviews you cheapos!

    They're all doing it. Link spam, that is. Just pick any major keyword and look at the top 10 results' link profiles in Yahoo site explorer. You think Google is ignorant of this?

    About as ignorant as youtube is of copyright infringing content being uploaded, but that's another story
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  • Profile picture of the author cbpayne
    Why are there 5 threads on this? Do people not check before starting new threads?
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author sylarrr
        Read the article, all article comments + replay from the schemr blog = a lot information to think about, probably more than most of WSOs
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  • Profile picture of the author Jordan Kovats
    Good article. It reinforces a few things.

    1. Google penalties exist, auto or manual. I'd like to see if JC penny's results return in a year, or months. Anyone feel like keeping tabs on JC Penny SERP's?
    2. The SEO firm that was hired can get results.
    3. JC Penny execs were in denial they had an seo firm, so if that were true, you can't backlink your competition into a penalty, until you get caught.
    4. Paid links can get you in trouble.
    5. If you get too big and have an NY Time's article written about your profits and search traffic, then Google HAS to taken action in order to save face.
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    • Profile picture of the author JaySchmidt
      Google ends up looking bad because it proves their ballyhooed algorithm can't tell what the real worth of a web page is.

      The NYT looks bad because its reporter doesn't seem to realize that virtually everyone who ranks for a competitive term uses the same techniques as JCP's SEO was using. They call this sort of thing "cheating". But it really isn't. If Google can't rank pages effectively using on-page indicators of quality (and instead simply relies on the number of backlinks as a quality indicator) then what else is JCP supposed to do?

      The only ones who don't look bad are JCP and the SEO company. They just got screwed by the NYT and Google. Could have happened to anyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author davemiz
    bottom line is this proves you can game google/get rankings using what they call 'black hat' results.

    I'd venture to say, that 90-95% of the 'big' sites that are ranked are all doing this stuff... I know because I have friends who are employed by them. :-)

    they just had TONS of links on bogus sites and eventually when you do this on such a mass scale (they were ranking for TONS of bigtime kw's), you're gonna get on the radar....

    if they did this on a smaller scale with say 1 site, selling 1 product... no one would ever know...
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  • Profile picture of the author xaby
    actually personally i feel google's ranking system is smart.

    1. google's searches consists of informational and commercial (as per article). only commercial searches are gamed. informational searches are truly useful and precise

    2. google doesnt have to worry so much about spam, SEO will grow to a point when the benefits per dollar for adword and seo (paid to us) comes to an equilibrium, then for competitive niches, advertisers will be better off doing adword at this price point.

    and the best part? google has an army of people (all of us doing SEO here) singing "hail google" to all our offline clients FOR FREE.

    i think they will have the last laugh.
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  • Profile picture of the author chris032
    Wow, I would not think Jc Penny would get slap by google, a very big chain of stores they have.
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