The wages of Blackhat SEO

Google rolls out “Farmer Update”

The following quote refers to a huge scheme that was launched on behalf of JC Penney and was operating across the Christmas holiday. Coincidence? I think not.  The relatively blackhat company that was handling the SEO for JC Penney – while JC Penney claimed absolutely no knowledge of any of this – set up a ton of sites and basically was doing link farming putting links everywhere for everything. Best place to buy a “black dress” Penney’s?  You’ve got to be kidding me.

“Am I happy this happened?” he later asked. “Absolutely not. Is Google going to take strong corrective action? We absolutely will.”

And the company did. On Wednesday evening, Google began what it calls a “manual action” against Penney, essentially demotions specifically aimed at the company.

At 7 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, J. C. Penney was still the No. 1 result for “Samsonite carry on luggage.”

Two hours later, it was at No. 71.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Penney was No. 1 in searches for “living room furniture.”

By 9 p.m., it had sunk to No. 68.

In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country.

The next it was essentially buried.

Read the full article at Search Engine and Its Dirty Little Secrets

So, how DID you build up your website SEO?

So while there may have been a lot of good organic SEO at one point on the JC Penney site, it pretty much got blown away when Google discovered what had happened with the whole link farming thing – and absolutely tanked the site.  I love it as I’m a huge proponent of doing things white hat. Could I do the black hat SEO? Sure, it doesn’t take NEARLY as much effort to do it – but the downside to getting caught – is something that I couldn’t live with for me OR my clients.  I don’t believe the company had no clue what was going on. More likely they said that they didn’t WANT to know how they were now miraculously at the top of dozens and hundreds of search results. If they didn’t know?  Shame on them.

Google released the “Farmer Update” – and it’s taking square aim at low quality websites – the one pagers, the link farms, the directory conglomeration sites. I am personally jazzed as those stupid conglomeration sites are the bane of a lot of local websites that actually DO have content worth reading. Instead, on a lot of searches, people are usually treated to 7 or 8 “directory” sites for whatever service that you happen to be looking for – and contain exactly zilch as far as content.

We’ll be seeing the results soon. I haven’t seen a dramatic shift on any of my sites as I usually focus on having good quality content – but be warned, if your content has been lifted from other websites, is nothing more than a list of services – I suspect you’ll be seeing some not so pleasant results shortly. Some webmasters / SEO people are reporting some shifting already, but I can’t say I see much yet. I am however looking forward to seeing some results.

If you want to talk about setting up some decent content to make your site worth reading – contact Lizardwebs and let us work out a solid white hat SEO strategy for you!

Author: Eric Erickson

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