Latest in Cheating

Image credit:

NYT uncovers the tawdry, seedy tale of the SEO games of J.C. Penney

Laura June
02.13.11
181 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

The New York Times has run an incredibly detailed piece about a feat of Google search engine gaming which seems to have been done by or for JC Penney. We won't bore you with SEO basics -- we're pretty sure you've got those down already -- but suffice to say that The Times noticed that the retailer was at the top of Google's search results for many more terms than seemed possible or natural, so they started to do some digging. What they found was that thousands of links had been placed on what were essentially spam sites all over the web, resulting in the retailer ruling the Google juice for terms such as "little black dress," and even super generic ones like "rugs" and "bedding." This is one of the dreaded kinds of 'black hat' optimization that Google frowns upon, because it's so obviously cheating, and it's punishable by a massive sinking of the offending site's ranking in results (which is, of course, not the desired effect).

JC Penney unsurprisingly denies knowing anything about it, and no evidence exists to suggest it was directly involved, so on Wednesday, Google began 'corrective action' to bring Penney's results back to planet earth. One example -- before the action was taken, JC Penney held the number one spot for the search term 'living room furniture,' and after it stood at number 68 -- is enough to show the awesome power Google holds over the results it delivers, but the story also serves to show how truly broken search is, as well as Google's seeming nonchalance about the issue. Hit up the source link for the full story.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Share
181 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

'Black Mesa,' the fan-made 'Half-Life' remake, finally has a release date

'Black Mesa,' the fan-made 'Half-Life' remake, finally has a release date

View
Samsung finally adds period tracking to its Health app

Samsung finally adds period tracking to its Health app

View
Firefox now encrypts domain name requests by default in the US

Firefox now encrypts domain name requests by default in the US

View
Qualcomm reveals a reference headset to show off its XR2 chip

Qualcomm reveals a reference headset to show off its XR2 chip

View
Samsung Galaxy S20 is the first phone certified for USB fast charging

Samsung Galaxy S20 is the first phone certified for USB fast charging

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr