Tuesday, February 15, 2011

JC Penney SEO Fiasco

New York Times author, David Segal, recently published "The Dirty Little Secrets of Search" that describes how JCPenney.com and their marketing company utilized black-hat SEO tactics to rank high in Google for several keywords. JC Penney's SEO Firm unfortunately engaged in what's known as 'anchor-text-based paid links' which are stated plainly in Google's terms of services as being a strict NO NO. We all know that paid links are great for rankings but they can come back to haunt you and your website in the future. And we all know that some SEO firms continue to use this tactic even though they know the consequences.

The article is completely valid in sense that black-hat SEO is a horrid practice, should deter this type of search engine optimization. But blanketing the whole profession and making us look like a bunch of blog spammers is not cool! We at Integraphix, a White Hat SEO and Internet Marketing Company, give the author credit for quoting Google as stating, "[Google] draws a pretty thick line between techniques it considers deceptive and ‘white hat’ approaches, which are offered by hundreds of consulting firms and are legitimate ways to increase a site’s visibility.

After reading Mr. Segal's article though, the uneducated are going to be quite disgusted and turned off with the SEO profession and strategic manipulation of the search engines and this I think is quite unfair.

1. There are Good and Bad Firms EVERYWHERE!

Black Hat SEO
Just because JCPenney decided to do it the wrong way, doesn't mean that every SEO Firm in the world is marketing their clients this way. There are many a credible, trustworthy and ethical SEO company that doesn't violate Google or any other Search Engine's rules. My own company, Integraphix, is an example of a Marketing Company in Chicago that provides white-hat SEO which doesn't violate rules and provides organic optimization.  JCPenney gives SEO a bad name, but Kesha gives a bad name to music and Michael Vick gives athletes a bad name. The main point is - there are bad eggs everywhere, and a blanket bad name shouldn't be said about an industry.

2. You have the right to question your SEO Company!
An SEO company with nothing to hide will hide nothing. Of course there are going to be details that you don't understand, but your Marketing Company should be able to present examples of what they've done for others. Understand that there are aspects of SEO strategy that companies classify as 'proprietary information' and will not give out less their strategy is stolen, but other than that, they should be open.

We're not trying to pat ourselves on the back, but Integraphix has always and will always provide white hat, effective SEO services to our clients and we abide by all search engine rules. There are no shortcuts, and there are no skeezy manipulations. No paid links. No link farms. No unethical SEO! But whether you use us or not, make sure your company is not risking the future of your website rankings and that you're leaving your financial future into the hands of real professionals.

Integraphix, a Chicago Marketing Company

~ Integraphix, a Chicago SEO Company