Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another SEO Scandal! Overstock.com playing dirty with SEO



Marketing Company in Chicago

I am personally surprised that companies are still doing this since Google appears to be cracking down on black-hat SEO practices. Integraphix prides itself on being a Chicago SEO Company, that only practices ethical SEO. The fact that Google is penalizing such huge companies make them look better in the public's eyes though. Go Google. Now the story.

Google, Inc has penalized Overstock.com after the website retailer skirted important Google policies that strictly prohibit companies from artificially boosting their ranking on Google's search engines. Overstock's website had, until recently, ranked near the top of results for a TON of common keyword searches such as 'Vacuum cleaner', and 'Laptop Computers'. Now, if you search for these terms, Overstock is showing up on page six or worse, severely hurting their chances of being clicked on by a user. According to Overstock, they had encouraged the websites of colleges and universities to post links to Overstock.com pages so that students and faculty could get discounts (nice right?). Backlinks are important but to use unethical SEO on such a huge company... bad idea.

Overstock's CEO said in a statement, "Google has made clear that they believe these links should not factor into their search algorithm. We understand Google's position and have made the appropriate chances to remain within Google's guidelines."

Experts say educational (.edu) sites rarely, if ever, link to commercial (.com) sites so a website can surge to the top if this is done en mass. Google wouldn't discuss the nature of the incident in detail, and only cited a policy against discussing specific websites. A google spokesman says 'Google's goal is to deliver the most relevant content possible, but attempts to game Google's ranking goes on 24 hours a day, every single day."

Many companies, including Integraphix, use a variety of techniques to try to enhance their positions in search results. The process is search engine optimization, or SEO. Appearing high in search rankings is a big part of failure or success in the online business world. Some companies hire SEO services (like Integraphix, a Chicago Marketing Company and Chicago SEO company) to boost their rankings too.

Overstock's whoops is the second move by Google in two weeks against a large retailer (JCPenneys) for violating Google guidelines. Make sure you're practicing ethical SEO people! In Overstock's case, they were offering discounts of 10% to students and faculty. The retailer claimed they weren't aware that this was being done, and hadn't authorized them. Also, a spokeswoman for JC Penney has terminated it's relationship with the SEO consultant they were employing.

The penalizing came after a competitor complained to Google about Overstock's backlinking scheme. Overstock, which is based in Salt Lake City, was founded in 1999 and is known for discount merchandise. Last month alone it had 10 million unique visitors. Just saying, in my opinion, that number might have been influenced by the numerous TV commercials, though I'm guessing their hits are going to go down.

:: Integraphix, a Chicago SEO Company and Chicago Internet Marketing Company