The NY Times in it’s Feb 12, 2011 edition reported that JC Penny has been using black hat links farms to get ahead of it competitors in the search engine ranking. In an article titled “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search” they reported that JC Penny had been using Black Hat link building that does not reflect the real interest in it’s products.
For example, The phrase “black dresses” and a Penney link were on a site called nuclear.engineeringaddict.com. “Evening dresses” appeared on a site called casino-focus.com. “Cocktail dresses” showed up on bulgariapropertyportal.com. ”Casual dresses” was on a site called elistofbanks.com. “Semi-formal dresses” was pasted, rather incongruously, on usclettermen.org.
Google did not like this. So what happened.? Quoting the article, “On Wednesday evening, Google began what it calls a “manual action” against Penney, essentially demotions specifically aimed at the company.
At 7 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, J. C. Penney was still the No. 1 result for “Samsonite carry on luggage.”
Two hours later, it was at No. 71.
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Penney was No. 1 in searches for “living room furniture.”
By 9 p.m., it had sunk to No. 68.
In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country.
The next it was essentially buried.