A Cautionary Tale, With a Silver Lining

by Janine Yagielski, Catalyst

If you haven’t already, check out David Segal’s New York Times article titled: “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search.”

It’s a great piece of investigative journalism (with help from technology company Blue Fountain Media) that questioned J.C. Penney’s impressive organic search ranking on keywords that may be appropriate but aren’t necessary intuitive for the retailer–dresses, bedding, area rugs.

Segal uncovered a Black Hat search campaign that, he concluded, paid thousands of sites to link to the former-cataloger’s Web site. (Penney has since fired its search agency.)

While Black Hat campaigns violate Google’s terms of use, this story reinforces the importance of quality links to and from your site. You can’t buy them from nearly “abandon” sites, but you can find and encourage cross linking from quality topic-appropriate sites to improve your natural search ranking.

So, after you read Segal’s warning about how NOT to promote your site through linking, put on your White Hat and go find a few sites that will help you!

Like situps, cleaning your house and weeding the garden, get in the habit of doing it on a regular basis. Post new content regularly, monitor your keywords and guess what? You have an SEO effort.

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