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NYTimes Finds J.C. Penney Using Black Hat Link Building (and Then Rewards With Followed Links)

February 14th, 2011 admin

The NY Times has an interesting article about how J.C. Penney employed an SEO firm to bolster their Google Rank using Black Hat SEO techniques.

The article explains how they generated thousands of paid links to rank for terms such as “casual dresses”.

You can ready the article here : The Dirty Little Secrets of Search

Unfortunately the article also rewards J.C.Penney with followed links:




Google has responded using what the NY Times reports as “manual” intervention which has resulted in JCP dropping from position #1 to #68 in the SERPS.

This manual change is interesting as Google have said in the past that they don’t interfere with the SERPs and that the results are all algorithmically generated.   So did they alter the algorithm, or is there some form of blacklist which is applied to the results?

It’d be interesting to hear a technical explanation from Google’s Matt Cutts on what actions were taken to correct the SERPS to ignore the paid links.

Google’s “Quick Scroll” Feature Silently Enabled?

November 1st, 2010 admin

I’ve been seeing this feature appearing in a lot of results recently.   When searching for a group of keywords, when you reach the destination page there is an overlay such as the one below:


I’ve only noticed this recently and it doesn’t appear on all destination pages?

Clicking on the “Jump to text >>” link takes you direct to the most relevant place on the page for the search query.

It appears that this is a feature of the IE Google Toolbar, however it must’ve been automatically enabled as it’s not something I chose to switch on?  

Now, I’m not complaining as I often find this useful to quickly find the information I’m looking for, however other users don’t like this feature as can be seen in this thread:

If you want to disable the “Quick Scroll” try the following:

1) Click on the wrench icon in the toolbar

2) on the Tools tab, deselect “Quick Scroll”

3) Click Save

Web Spam SERP comparison – Google vs Bing

August 17th, 2010 admin

Rand Fishkin over at SEOMoz has just posted an interesting article about how Google appear to be showing increasingly spammy entries in the SERPs.

While I agree with Rand’s conclusions, I thought it’d be interesting to compare the results with Bing so see if things are as just as bad?

Rand suggested that the following search terms provide spammy results when searching in Google:

  • SEO Software
  • Starcraft 2 Strategies
  • Birthday Party Supplies
  • Currency Trading Online
  • Tennis Racquet Reviews
  • Leather Crafting Supplies
  • Nanny Services
  • Home Business Ideas
  • French Doors
  • Vietnam Tours
  • Antioxidant Supplements
  • Home Espresso Machine Ratings
  • So I decided to run the same queries through both Google and Bing, then compare the results.

    What I found interesting is that when there isn’t much of an intersection in the results, it’s usually due to Bing listing more local (and less spammy) results than Google.  

    Take for instance the “Birthday Party Supplies” query.   Most results returned by Bing were to local suppliers.



    Unique To Google

    Unique To Bing

    Common To Both

    SEO Software 4 2 6
    Starcraft 2 Strategies 5 6 4
    Birthday Party Supplies 9 9 1
    Currency Trading Online 7 7 3
    Tennis Racquet Reviews 5 4 4
    Leather Crafting Supplies 5 4 5
    Nanny Services 9 8 1
    Home Business Ideas 5 6 4
    French Doors 8 6 2
    Vietnam Tours 8 8 2
    Antioxidant Supplements 6 6 4
    Home Espresso Machine Ratings 6 6 3


    The following Venn diagrams illustrate the overlap in the results.   Google results are shown as yellow and Bing results are shown as orange.


    SEO Software




    Starcraft 2 Strategies




    Birthday Party Supplies




    Currency Trading Online




    Tennis Racquet Review




    Leather Crafting Supplies




    Nanny Services




    Home Business Ideas





    French Doors




    Vietnam Tours





    Antioxidant Supplements




    Home Espresso Machine Ratings