Google Slaps Overstock for SEO Techniques

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whackADOTAS – After The New York Times discovered J.C. Penney’s rampant black-hatting during the recent holiday season, word went around that Google had gotten soft. Well, Big G didn’t like that talk and appears be getting its crackdown on — “None of you suckas wanna mess with our algorithm!

Along with refreshing its search algorithm to boost rankings of high-quality sites while — i.e., giving content farms the boot — Google has come down hard on discount retailer Overstock.com after it practiced some naughty SEO. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has banished Overstock’s listings to the fifth or even sixth page of results.

What was Overstock’s crime? Well, the retailer said it made Google real mad when it was encouraging college and university websites to post links to Overstock pages — all the retailer wanted was to give out some discounts to teachers and students (I hear they’re our future). Alas, those sites boast .edu addresses, which Google values as more authoritative in its rankings. Google won’t be played like dat.

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne replied in a statement: “We understand Google’s position and have made the appropriate changes to remain within Google’s guidelines.” The company also says that it killed the program on Feb. 10 — before it was contacted by Google.

Whoa — did Google jump the gun here? Was Big G trying to look tough after blowing it with J.C. Penney? Or did the Overstock guys simply get caught in the act?

Also, on a side note, WSJ makes no distinction in its coverage between white hat and black hat SEO practice, kinda suggesting that all SEO is an attempt to boondoggle search engines. Google doesn’t disapprove of a great deal of SEO techniques that businesses should apply in their online presence to ensure they’re seen in search results.

Just like its reporting on online data collecting technology, Rupert Murdoch’s pub has made SEO sound like another dastardly online activity… Practiced by them!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Isn’t all offsite SEO a way to manipulate the search engine rankings? Google thinks that SEO should happen naturally, and links should come in from interested parties as “votes”, but how to do that without self-promotion is contrary to the way the world works.

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