J.C.Penney gets Second Chance from Google…

May 18th, 2011 | Analysis 19 comments

Two months ago the New York Times published an article with the headline “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search“. They where able to prove that US department store J.C.Penney used excessive linkbuilding practices on its online store, violating Google’s Web master rules. Google reacted immediately and many of J.C.Penney’s keywords lost their rankings in Google’s result pages. And Searchmetrics’ Organic Performance Index recorded a dramatic drop in visibility for the site.

Spokesman  Darcie Brossart denied any knowledge and pointed to their agency: “J. C. Penney did not authorize, and we were not involved with or aware of, the posting of the links that you sent to us, as it is against our natural search policies.”

When checking our latest data update we found that there has now been a significant increase in visibility:

J.C.Penney OPI

What happened? We cannot see a massive reduction/change in their link structure – this also would be way to fast and require more time. So it might be that the people at J.C.Penney have managed to convince Google that they really had no clue about what was going on at their agency – or the algorithm is giving them another chance. We have observed this happening for algorithm penalties many times before: after a couple of weeks or months the penalty has been taken back – at least partially. What’s surprising in this case is that the reinstatement did happen for what clearly was a manual adjustment.

When checking the history of some of their important keywords we found that they got their former rankings back – to exactly where they have been before. This can be seen very nicely when you look at the development of the keyword “jewelry”:

J.C.Penney Keywords

And – just to be clear: this case is completely independent from any Panda effects.

We (and of course all Searchmetrics Suite users) can watch with the quick analysis function how the J.C.Penney story continues…

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Who’s writing this stuff? My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze every kind of online data, we can give you more insights than any other company in SEO, SEM and Social Media. It’s not a job, it’s passion. You can find me also on Google+ .
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Comments (4)

Comments (19)

  1. 2012/03/30

    JC Penney was made an example of to try and scare the ‘black hatters’ straight. With Googles new ‘over optimization’ penalty in the works, the search results are only going to get better!

    ‘plastic storage bins’ guy, no issue leaving your link.

  2. 2012/04/02

    Google is cracking down on ‘over optimization’ techniques which most online businesses will fall victim to. Google has sent out a strong message which needs to be taken seriously.

    Google was even forced to penalize ‘chrome’ a few months back which seen it deindexed from the serch results.

  3. 2012/04/02

    Following from my last comment, more recently Google deindexed a huge list of blog networks, which had a snow ball effect on thousands of sites. If your site was using these networks to build links, then you can expect a loss of links and more than likely rankings too.

  4. 2012/07/18

    Thanks for posting this. Quick question, if you wouldn’t mind. Where did you grab your web theme? I’m establishing a blog and like yers.

Trackbacks (15)

Comments (19)

  1. 2011/05/19

    [...] a post on the the SearchMetrics blog, the company shows a couple of graphs: one showing the general organic performance, and the other [...]

  2. 2011/05/19

    [...] J.C. Penny, famously outed by the New York Times for gaming Google in a paid link scam, has apparently received a pardon from Mountain View. SearchMetrics is reporting that for a number of those terms, J.C.Penney is coming back from invisibility. It is not unusual for Google to ease restrictions after a number of weeks or months and the turnaround is too fast to be caused by new SEO efforts. Source: [...]

  3. 2011/05/19

    [...] a post on the the SearchMetrics blog, the company shows a couple of graphs: one showing the general organic performance, and the other [...]

  4. 2011/05/19

    [...] a post on the the SearchMetrics blog, the company shows a couple of graphs: one showing the general organic performance, and the other [...]

  5. 2011/05/20

    [...] a post on the the SearchMetrics blog, the company shows a couple of graphs: one showing the general organic performance, and the other [...]

  6. 2011/05/24

    [...] of this has been confirmed by both SEO Clarity and Searchmetrics who have been tracking keywords related to JC Penney. SEO Clarity suggest that in the last couple [...]

  7. 2011/05/25

    [...] Searchmetrics shared a chart last week showing J.C. Penney’s return to visibility in their proprietary “Organic Performance [...]

  8. 2011/05/25

    [...] also reports their findings via their blog post. Below is an image of their Organic Performance Index [...]

  9. 2011/05/25

    [...] SEOClarity and SearchMetrics are both reporting that JCPenney’s search visibility is back, three months [...]

  10. 2011/05/26

    [...] The original penalty was imposed at the end of Feb for “shady SEO practices”. Searchmetrics have published a report to show that organic search traffic is back on the rise again for J.C. Penney: [...]

  11. 2011/05/27

    [...] The original penalty was imposed at the end of Feb for “shady SEO practices”. Searchmetrics have published a report to show that organic search traffic is back on the rise again for J.C. Penney: [...]

  12. 2011/05/30

    [...] Now SEOClarity and SearchMetrics are both reporting that JCPenney’s search visibility is back, three months later. [...]

  13. 2011/05/31

    [...] Google tends to favor big brands. JC Penny seems to be recovering after their spamvertising. Tweet This entry was posted in Google and tagged big brands. [...]

  14. 2011/07/11

    [...] The original penalty was imposed at the end of Feb for “shady SEO practices”. Searchmetrics have published a report to show that organic search traffic is back on the rise again for J.C. Penney: [...]

  15. 2011/07/15

    [...] The strange chastisement was imposed during a finish of Feb for “shady SEO practices”. Searchmetrics have published a news to uncover that organic hunt trade is behind on a arise again for J.C. Penney: [...]

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