JC Penney hits back at New York Times over black hat SEO allegations

Posted on February 23, 2011

 

US based department store JC Penney has hit back at claims which accused it of using black hat SEO techniques to manipulate its standing with Google.

David Segal, an investigative reporter with the New York Times, recently published an article which demonstrated that the company had hired search engine optimisation company SearchDex, which went on to indulge in some seemingly suspicious activities. The actions of SearchDex had propelled JC Penney to the top of Google’s SERPS for a multitude of search terms just before Christmas last year.

One of the techniques alleged to have been used is that of buying links. Ethical SEO experts would recommend that links are built naturally over time, but there was evidence to suggest that, in this instance, links had been bought, or rented, as they were from websites not relevant to JC Penney’s services.

When Segal contacted Google about the matter, it admitted that its attention had already been drawn by the suspicious activity, and it decreed that its webmaster guidelines had been violated.

As a result, JC Penney’s results were buried – instead of appearing first for the term “Samsonite carry on luggage”, it now ranks as 71st.

JC Penney has denied involvement with any nefarious activities designed to ‘game’ Google. Darcie Brossart, VP of corporate communications, said:

“The characterization of JC Penney in the New York Times article is misleading and unwarranted.”

“JC Penney was in no way involved in the posting of the links discussed in the article. We did not authorize them and we were not aware that they had been posted. To be clear, we do not tolerate violations of our policies regarding natural search, which reflect Google’s guidelines.”

The sad fact of the matter is that most businesses who hire SEO companies to do work for them have no idea that Google’s terms of service are being violated in their name. They do not know links are being bought, or indeed where the links are coming from. Some website owners even find that links to their site are coming from sites also linking to adult orientated websites – an association that most businesses don’t want but, thanks to their SEO company, have.

Do you know what your SEO company is doing in your name?

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1 Comment »

  1. […] JC Penney hits back at New York Times over black hat SEO allegationsStuckOnUS based department store JC Penney has hit back at claims which accused it of using black hat SEO techniques to manipulate its standing with Google. David Segal, an investigative reporter with the New York Times, recently published an article which …How To Boost Search Results, Without Ticking Off GoogleForbes (blog)Google News involvement could help firms with SEO, expert saysHostwaySEO Southampton: Or How to Use Keywords to Optimise Your SiteImpact Media (blog)Econsultancy (blog) -Bizcommunity.com -Vertical Leap News (press release)all 34 news articles » […]

    Pingback by JC Penney hits back at New York Times over black hat SEO allegations – StuckOn | Click News Network — February 23, 2011 @ 10:14 am

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