Monday, March 19, 2012

Search Engine Optimization- The taggers AKA JC PENNY

JC Penny- Shady Business.

The New York Times published a story last February regarding a serious SEO no-no and a JC Penny Scandal.

JC Penny has become a house-hold name and seemed like the go to place for just about everything from luggage to the “little black dress”.  JC Penny quickly became the number one search for hundreds of items such as, comforter sets, clothing, and home d├ęcor.  

Investigations soon began of the strange search engine results. It was found that JC Penny had found a new niche to the online dark-side to market their company. Leave it to JC Penny to be shady! What JC Penny didn’t know was that Google sorts their results in accordance with many factors, and one of those being the number of outside links that filter into any given site. What does this mean for JC Penny? Well come to find out JC Penny had tagged more than 2,012 sites with a direct link to their site. The bulk of their tagged websites were out of use meaning that the sole purpose was purely to boost JC Penny's search ranking. WAY TO GO JC PENNY!

New York Times reported that tags were found off topic sites:

New York Times reported that JC Penny had attached the phrase “black dress” to the bottom of a website titled

What else did they find, you may ask? “Evening dresses” was on a site called while  “Cocktail dresses” showed up on ”Casual dresses” was on a site called and “Semi-formal dresses” was pasted on  JC Penny seemed to cover all their types of dresses…… (Good thinking, JC Penny!) The list seems to go on and on as the links to’s dresses are on sites about, cameras, dogs, travel, snoring,  online games, jewelry stores, ADOBE flash, and even dentist.  JC Penny was clearly targeting a wide audience.

The links were quickly taken down, however it did shed light on how effective their  scheme was.

"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." Sorry about your bad luck JC Penny.


  1. That's so interesting that in a matter of hours, they went from being No. 1 to No. 71.

    I guess that goes to prove there is a way to do SEO's and there is a way NOT to do SEO's.

    Great post.

  2. SAY-WHHHAAAT! No. 1 to No. 17. Oh SHOOT! I'll be takin notes from these crazies! Thanks, Tara!