Got Bad Links? Consider Google’s Pummeling of Overstock Fair Warning

A clear message was sent this week to CEOs, webmasters and marketing managers across the industry: go check the inbound links to your site and the SEO firm that’s getting them for you. You may be the next casualty of Google’s newfound quest for improved natural, search results. In the last thirty days, Google penalized JC Penney and most recently for abusing link practices.

JC Penney took a blatant approach of paying for links across the Internet. This risky black hat gamble paid off in massive traffic volume during the holidays. Unfortunately this strategy sent JC Penny to page four and below in Google’s search results.

Overstock took a less blatant approach to improving its natural rankings. SEO experts have long assumed that the Google algorithm gives more credence to .edu links. Overstock to a cleaver approach to leverage this assumption by offering schools discounted merchandise for links back to their site. On some level, you can give Overstock credit for thinking out-of-the-box on this scam, but in the end they were caught and now feel the pain.

The punishment of JC Penney and now Overstock raises the question, why now? Could Google be feeling the pressure from a surging Bing?  I believe Google feels the pressure a bit (remember when they added an image to the front just like Bing?), but Bing’s results are worse than Google’s. My guess is that an increase in user complaints about the quality of search results spurred Google to address the issues by first penalizing sites that abuse link practices.

I doubt that Overstock is the last victim of Google’s new crusade. It pains me to see Google wielding such power over these companies. There is no doubt that good people at JC Penney, Overstock and their respective agencies are losing their jobs over this change. However, it’s also a good lesson not to cheat. Google is too damn smart. You may cheat them for a bit, but eventually they will catch you and like Chris Rock, they will Bring the Pain!

About Paul Uhlir

Paul Uhlir is the Principal at Addthree agency. Interactive advertising addict. Proud Father. Helpless Arsenal Fan.

5 Responses to Got Bad Links? Consider Google’s Pummeling of Overstock Fair Warning

  1. Pat Grady says:

    g rewards links, driving demand, then punishes it. i wish Pavlov were alive, i’d love to have a few beers with him and discuss this, we’d laugh until the sun came up.

  2. […] Got Bad Links? Consider Google’s Pummeling of Overstock Fair Warning ( […]

  3. Vlad Rascanu says:

    On another topic…. Google is also cracking down on websites with duplicate content on a larger scale so begin adding original content to your sites people if you still want to rank well in Google in the future.

    I thought this would fit in well with your article on what not to do. Good post

  4. […] is one area in which JC Penny and failed to work with their SEO agencies. On the one hand, their agencies should’ve educated them in SEO best-practices. On the other […]

  5. nice information , help every seo person to be passionate towards work like the theory so much