JC Penney SEO = Get 2000 backlinks
JC Penney has just been dinged for black hat SEO techniques. According to the New York Times, JC penny was ranked number 1 for many unrelated keyword terms (such as bedding, area rugs) on Google. Once the search engine found out, JC Penny got demoted to lower ranks. Obviously Google wasn’t happy because it showcases how to cheat their most cherished algorithms.
The power of Backlinks
The question is how does this cheating work? Someone (not JC Penney, according to their spokesperson) placed more than 2,000 backlinks from various sites. This was the main reason why JC Penny got ahead. But in fairness, their web pages are also very search engine friendly too. They have done this by on-page optimization by:
- Making good use of the <title> tag
- Placing keywords in H1 and H2 tags
- Sprinkling contextually relevant keywords on pages
But their biggest payoff was off-page optimization, mainly backlinks. Google considers such a link as an assurance from the source site towards JC Penney. If enough sites vouch back to JC Penney, Google automatically starts to rank JC Penney higher.
But if such links are irrelevant, then Google considers this as black-hat optimization. Something you want to stay away from, because eventually it’ll come back to bite you in the butt. What you can do instead is create an incentive program which genuinely encourages people to backlink to your site.
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