The Dirty Little Secrets of Search

This is a very interesting article from NYT online outlining the pitfalls of ‘black hat’ techniques when applied to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Companies such as the US retailer J. C. Penney are using increasingly aggressive and deceptive techniques to ensure that they are at the top in searches for their products and services. However, as this article reveals, if you incur the wrath of the big search engines such as Google, spectacular successes can quickly turn into spectacular disasters!

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.

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