J C Penny was ranking at the number one spot for key terms like dresses, bedding and area rugs, for months and most importantly around the festive period. These weren’t the only terms though they ranked highly for furniture, skinny jeans and many others too.
Google states that its main objective is to trawl throughout the web to find the most relevant content for its users search terms, so does Google really believe that J C Penny was the most relevant site for all these terms?
The New York Times asked an online search specialist, Doug Pierce to ask this question to. He discovered that J C Penny had a lot of paid links coming from sites that had no relevance to the link. For example the phrase “black dresses” and a Penney link were tacked to the bottom of a site called nuclear.engineeringaddict.com.
A spokesperson for J C Penny said “J. C. Penney did not authorize, and we were not involved with or aware of, the posting of the links”
When the New York Times showed a list of these paid for links to head of Google’s Webspam team, Matt Cutts “I can confirm that this violates our guidelines,”
On Wednesday 9th February at 7 p.m. Eastern Time J C Penney was No. 1 in searches for living room furniture and Samsonite carry on luggage. Two hours later they were No. 68 and No. 71 respectively.
J C Penney was unhappy with this outcome and sacked its search engine consulting firm for employing the Black Hat Techniques in the first place.