What can we learn from the JC Penney SEO Debacle?

Filed under category: Search Engine Optimization

jc penney seo debacle

Back in February of 2011, Google discovered JC Penney was engaging in some black hat SEO tactics for their website and as a result was garnering first page results for some very competitive keywords. The SEO company that was managing JC Penney's website was allegedly purchasing links and creating link farms and blog spam in order to increase the importance of JC Penney's website and artificially inflate their search engine rankings. No one knows for sure how long this was going on, but once it was brought to Google's attention, they buried JC Penney's website in a matter of hours. JC Penney denied knowledge and responsibility and the SEO company was since fired.

What can Potenture learn from JC Penney? As a professional SEO company, we learn basically what we already know. And that's not to mess with Google's search engine algorithm. Luckily, we do not dabble in any of the sort of black hat tactics that JC Penney's SEO company was using, so there is no concern on our part. But what we can take from the situation is to keep a very close eye on Google's ever changing search algorithm as they will continue to tweak how they present their search engine results. An SEO technique that is very relevant today may become a black hat tactic a year from now. Google takes this very seriously (and they should) and clients should ask their SEO company lots of questions about what is going on with their website.

Perhaps JC Penney and their SEO company should have been more aware of the penalties of black hat SEO tactics.