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Google Slaps JCPenney for Black Hat... HARD!

Discussion in 'Google' started by Tekime, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. #1
    So apparently the jig is up and JCPenney got the big Google backhand for "black hat SEO"... in other words, buying links.
    SEMrush
    I'm not a huge fan of Google making the rules about who can buy or sell links. I'm against all the real "black hat" stuff, but does this really qualify as black hat?

    When did we all cut off our you-know-whats and hand them over to Google?

    What do you think? Fair?
     
    Tekime, Feb 13, 2011 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Shorty89

    Shorty89 Peon

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    #2
    deserved imo. I for one am happy to see that Google treats everyone equally.
     
    Shorty89, Feb 13, 2011 IP
  3. milo_pl

    milo_pl Well-Known Member

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    #3
    Pretty interesting and kind of surprising a huge retailer would go to these lengths when google had already slapped their retail hand in the past.

    When caught practicing these tactics the punishment is to sink to the bottom of the search engine results...that definitely hurts.

    I think it is interesting how the world works and how things go on behind the scenes we never ever think of..in all facets of life.
     
    milo_pl, Feb 13, 2011 IP
    Tekime likes this.
  4. mchrest

    mchrest Active Member

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    #4
    Uhh , Google does not treat equally if that was our site we would be de-indexed, they were simply moved to like page 52. Google has 2 set of standards it seems
     
    mchrest, Feb 13, 2011 IP
  5. sebasago

    sebasago Peon

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    #5
    What he said. It seems really shady that they didn't catch it sooner especially since they already caught them 3 other times.
     
    sebasago, Feb 13, 2011 IP
  6. indyguidedotinfo

    indyguidedotinfo Notable Member

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    #6
    it cant be that bad.. they are still showing up for jcpenny
     
    indyguidedotinfo, Feb 13, 2011 IP
  7. ForgottenCreature

    ForgottenCreature Notable Member

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    #7
    That's what they get. But, they dropped for several keywords.
     
    ForgottenCreature, Feb 13, 2011 IP
  8. smartfinds

    smartfinds Active Member

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    #8
    Hello,

    You know what I didn't understand about the article from the NY Time is why they had active links to these link farms and websites that caused the problem. You would think the author would have learned something about linking and at least not actively linked to them through a reputable domain like nytimes.com. I did write the NY Times about this to find out what their ethical policies were when it comes to linking to these types of sites from their own powerful domain. Of course I have not heard anything yet from them or the writer of the article....in the meantime the SEO company that got fired has great links to them, so do the link farms and then some.

    We decided to write our own question and answer to this on our blog. If you're interested in reading please check out the JC Penney article.

    Of course uncovering this about JC Penney was right on point and we are certainly glad to see that link farms, paid links and other black hat seo tactics are uncovered further.
     
    smartfinds, Feb 13, 2011 IP
    Tekime likes this.
  9. yenny

    yenny Member

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    #9
    Off course its not, if it just you and me i.e ordinary mortals, Google will just send our site to lala land without letting us now what the problem is or was.
     
    yenny, Feb 13, 2011 IP
    Tekime likes this.
  10. ~Monty~

    ~Monty~ Active Member

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    #10
    Well deserved.
     
    ~Monty~, Feb 13, 2011 IP
  11. Steve Marino

    Steve Marino Peon

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    #11
    I'd say it does without question, if what was reported is 100% then it's pretty blatant.
     
    Steve Marino, Feb 13, 2011 IP
  12. Tekime

    Tekime Well-Known Member

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    #12
    Great points you all have me thinking. :)

    If I understood correctly, they were just buying lots of links. I don't know if Digital-Point still has it, but does anyone remember the shared link ad rotator thing? Whatever the name, sounds like the exact same thing to me! :)

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I still believe that if Google can't do it with an algorithm, they shouldn't do it at all. Trying to play link police they will never be able to treat each site fairly. But hey, Google is a corporation so they can do what they want with their engine. I still use it!
     
    Tekime, Feb 13, 2011 IP
  13. dropcatchsell

    dropcatchsell Active Member

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    #13
    They weren't just buying links. They were keyword stuffing their IBLs pretty aggressively across an array of product lines. Also, they were buying IBLs from sites that had little or nothing to do with what they sell.

    I think, ultimately, it was the IBLs from the unrelated sites that got them in trouble. If you're just stuffing keyword links anywhere you can get them, Google tends to catch up with that eventually. If you're getting links for "linens" from a programming site, it eventually comes out in the wash when Google looks at your IBLs.

    I'm a little disturbed to see the double standard applied here. If it were any of us, we would have been nuked right of the web, not just knocked down a couple pages on our targeted keywords. I guess the ultimate argument comes back around to the fact that whether JCP sucks or not, Google visitors are still looking for JCP, and therefore Google cannot wipe the off the web completely.
     
    dropcatchsell, Feb 15, 2011 IP
    Tekime likes this.
  14. Pittsburgh SEO

    Pittsburgh SEO Peon

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    #14
    Buying links for the purpose of getting a better search engine rank is kind of like hiring real people to run around town pretending to like your product when they don't even know what it is. Paying for links is usually done to circumvent the whole system google has in place to provide the most relevant results to searchers.
    JC Penney should have been de-indexed.
    Hopefully the SEOholes who did it will not benefit from links from news agencies, as they have given people yet another reason to not trust even those of us who practice legitimate SEO. I would like to see them get penalized and/or investigated too, and anyone selling links for pagerank purposes.
     
    Pittsburgh SEO, Feb 15, 2011 IP
  15. tera

    tera Peon

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    #15
    Sorry but according to alexa there is no traffic change.How G punished that site?I know from my experience that the only punishment is deindex so i think JCPenney did another clever move and gained valuable links. :cool:
     
    tera, Feb 18, 2011 IP
  16. Tekime

    Tekime Well-Known Member

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    #16
    tera - they got "demoted" in the SERPs for some big keywords.... probably lost a lot of traffic really quickly.

    Pittsburgh SEO - I agree, still in my mind I wonder how this is different than doing say, a paid contest or giveaway, or some other marketing technique that is almost guaranteed to get you blog coverage, etc.

    I guess by slapping paid links Google deals with a lot of the "low hanging fruit" but it seems there are still plenty of clever ways to buy links indirectly, which is basically what all the big companies do. Sort of makes it even less fair for the little guy - these big corps with a lot of cash to burn through can get publicity any number of ways. Not some huge injustice... just remarking on it, obviously there is no perfect solution yet.
     
    Tekime, Feb 27, 2011 IP
  17. SEOSrilanka

    SEOSrilanka Peon

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    #17
    Good to know they have been slapped but the question is for how long??
     
    SEOSrilanka, Feb 27, 2011 IP
  18. Pittsburgh SEO

    Pittsburgh SEO Peon

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    #18
    Paid links are one of those things that draw legitimate SEO into the black hat area. It is different from a giveaway or other promotion in the way that a giveaway or contest at least provides some value to the user, where buying links is more like the fake articles you sometimes see in newspapers that say "paid advertisement" in really small print somewhere at the top or bottom, except there is no disclaimer on the paid link. Google has said paid links are OK as a form of advertising - like the Yellow Pages, can be used to buy credibility - as long as the site selling the links puts a nofollow on it or in some other way prevents it from gaming the system. If you buy ads from Adsense or other non-Google ad networks, they are not actually links, but redirects or some other intermediate link is involved so the ad will not count as a link.
    Another thing that makes this grey area a little darker is the existence of paid directories that are recognized as legitimate - like Yahoo Directory, or even the BBB. I guess you are allowed to buy reputation from those, since they claim to "review" the quality of the link before listing.
    Not an easy thing for Google to police, but if they want to provide quality, relevant results for users, they have to draw the line somewhere.
    The way it works now, the top few positions for a given keyword are very likely held by those who had the money to buy there way there. I think users are beginning to recognize that and ignore the top spots almost as much as they ignore sidebar ads.
     
    Pittsburgh SEO, Feb 27, 2011 IP
  19. longcall911

    longcall911 Peon

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    #19
    The blog post says "Black hat SEO has many tools, but the most powerful one is the purchased link."

    When did buying links become black-hat? It may be contrary to Google rules, but it is certainly not BH.
     
    longcall911, Feb 27, 2011 IP
  20. Pittsburgh SEO

    Pittsburgh SEO Peon

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    #20
    Contrary to google's rules = black hat.

    Google's policy on paid links is that they are OK if they are not used to manipulate rank or keyword position. In other words, they should be nofollow or otherwise redirected so they are not a direct link. Sort of like Adwords or other legitimate ad networks' ads redirect through their system rather than counting as a backlink.
    Here is a link to Google's official explanation: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66736

    If you don't think that violating rules is the definitition of "black hat", how do you define it? Is it only black hat to you if you are breaking a law or something? You can make up your own definititons, but in the end Google makes the rules and sooner or later those who are gaming the system will get slapped - or Google will become irrelevant and unusable (I think it is on its way there already).
    If you are providing SEO services to a client and you get their site banned, is that how you want to do business?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
    Pittsburgh SEO, Feb 27, 2011 IP