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Take it from JC Penney – Avoid Blackhat SEO

     -     Feb 15th, 2011   -     Accounting Marketing   -     1 Comment

For several years now CPA and accounting firms have been told how search engine optimization (SEO) can help drive traffic, build their brand and drive new sales. While most understand the benefits very few realize how the technical aspects of the service work.  What makes this an important issue is there are certain SEO tactics, if used, can create a significant problem for you. Such tactics are referred to as blackhat SEO.

What is Blackhat SEO?

Blackhat SEO is an approach to search engine optimization that use prohibited tactics such as link farms, link spam, wiki or guestbook spamming. These tactics are generally designed to quickly increase a website ranking in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s). If discovered most search engines, including Google, will de-list your website from the search engine completely until signficant changes are made. Clearly it is important to avoid blackhat tactics so you don’t get into hot water with Google.

I recently came across a great article,  JC Penney’s Blackhat SEO Backfires, that explains what happened when a large retailer was caught using blackhat SEO. The piece is informative because it not only outlines what happened, but also provides several valid reasons why such an approach is not worth the risk. If you are new to the SEO world or jsut curious to learn how this company was caught I highly recommend this article.

An exerpt from this article includes:

The process of trying to cheat yourself into the top of a Google search is considered “black hat” optimization or SEO.  Google has different ways of monitoring this process and is generally successful in locating the problem situations.  In JC Penny’s case this was not caught until much later.  Websites caught in this act are de-listed from Google and need to clean-up their act in order to get back into Google’s search database.

The short-term benefits of black hat SEO do not make any sense to the longevity of a business.  It is better to focus your attention on developing real links from reputable websites and communities mostly using Content Marketing with articles, news releases, documents (e.g. Powerpoints), Videos, and Social Media. ”

I could not have said it better myself. If you firm is working with a SEO service provider be sure to inquire about the tactics they are using. If you suspect “black hat” tactics are being used then you should immediately stop the work and ask them for a detailed review of the working being done. Chances are most SEO providers are not engaging in the type of tactics JC Penney’s did, but you don’t want to have the experience of being de-listed from Google for several months. It is just too high of a price to pay!

Read the full article, JC Penney’s Blackhat SEO Backfires.


There is 1 comment


  • 7 years ago

    Hugh Duffy   /  

    Great article. I was surprised that Google and Matt Cutts did not penalize them like Mercedes Benz was years ago.


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