JC Penney….Really?


I read a very interesting article in the New York Times over the weekend, and I thought I would share some of this information for those in constant search of being #1 on search engine rankings.

Right around the holiday season last year, if you typed in anything from dresses, to rugs to kitchen utensils, one retailer would constantly appear at number one: JC Penney.

JC Penney even bested the manufacturer sites for specific products being searched. So, what gives? Google’s main focus is to find the most important and relevant websites and rank them based on popularity.

When Google did their research into this strange activity, they noticed what they call “black hat” optimization, which is a big no-no with Google. It’s like cheating on the internet….copying someone’s paper and using the same thing on your “paper”.

From what the article states, black hat services are not illegal, but using them will put you from #1 on a Google Search rank to number #67 if Google catches you. The opposite of “black hat” optimization is of course, “white hat” optimization which is offered thru hundreds of internet providers, Web Developers and yours truly.

As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, one of the most important ways to increase your page ranking is links from one site to another. If you can get your website link on another’s website, you’ve just created an inbound link to your website.

In essence, it’s a popularity contest for Google and how they rank pages. As long as the websites you are linking to are complimentary to your business or service, the better off you’ll be. It takes alot of networking and time to build a strong inbound link base, but in the end, it eventually pays off.

What JC Penney did was use “anchor text rich” on others’ sites to get people to click on the JC Penney website. Simply put, the link didn’t just say “Go to JC Penney for a cute black dress”, but rather, “Get awesome, sexy, black dresses here.” But, this is also called link scheming if your link takes you somewhere it didn’t pose itself to be to begin with.

So, what happened to JC Penney? At 7 pm on a Wednesday, after Google found out about this, JC Penney was still ranked at #1 with over 2,000 different types of searches. Two hours later, it was ranked at #71.  So, in order to borrow a word now dug out from the dungeon and dusted off by President Barack Obama, JC Penney received a firm “shellacking” from Google.

You can read the entire article on the New York Times website.

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2 thoughts on “JC Penney….Really?

  1. First off I would like to say terrific blog!
    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Thanks!

    1. Hi there –

      My mind is always cluttered with thoughts, so I never clear my mind. Perhaps that’s why I suck at meditation. How to begin? I find that reading current events, and news pertinent to my job help spawn ideas on where to begin. Since I always have an opinion (as well as others), I am never shy to express myself. That’s where a lot of people falter. They are afraid to express their opinions online, even if your opinions are not popular. However, that’s the whole point. Stirring up the start of a conversation and responding to bloggers who post something that really made you think, laugh, educated or entertained yourself.

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