Roughly two months ago the search marketing world heard the news that J C Penney’s ranking were dropping on Google because it was proven that their site had been optimised for the search engines in the wrong way. They successfully achieved the number 1 position on Google US for a plethora of search terms, ranging from “skinny jeans” to “furniture”, even over the Christmas period.
It was discovered that the site had been using “black hat” SEO strategies, which typically means excessive link building into a website for a wide range of phrases, therefore violating Google’s Web Master rules. Link building however, is only one part of a well-planned SEO campaign, that adheres to the Web Master rules moreover there are many criteria that Google, simply do not discuss to take into consideration. At the time Darcie Brossart, a spokesperson for J C Penney stated that they did not know of their agencies bad practice. If you would like to find out more about this, you can read the article titled “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search” by the New York Times.
The latest news for the search marketing community now is that there has been a marked increase in J C Penney’s visibility on Google. So, what has happened in the interim? It has been reported that there has not been a reduction or change in the website’s link structure – this would require more time. It is possible therefore that the staff at J C Penney have successfully convinced Google that they did not know what their agency were doing in regards to the website, alternatively it is possible that the algorithm is simply taking another look at the website as a second chance. This is something that the search marketing community has seen happening before, where after a number of weeks or months, penalties are revoked usually slowly. What is surprising in this case is that the recovery has happened for a manual alteration. It is possible to trace the recovery on the US specific Google for terms such as “jewelry”, as they have now recovered to roughly their previous position for this term.