JCPenney Accused Of Manipulating Google Searches

It’s a constant battle for retailers to draw attention to themselves online, and JCPenney has been winning the fight due to some blatant search engine manipulation.

The New York Times analyzes why JCPenney has dominated Google searches for specific articles of clothing and other products it sells for months, and has discovered search engine optimization black magic is behind the dominance.

The Times found that scores of sites with little to do with shopping link to JCPenney, and the influx of links is powerful enough to boost the company’s site to the top of Google’s rankings.

The paper speaks to an expert who says JCPenney is engaged in some blatant Google whoring:

“Actually, it’s the most ambitious attempt I’ve ever heard of. This whole thing just blew me away. Especially for such a major brand. You’d think they would have people around them that would know better.”

A JCPenney spokesperson denies the company’s involvement and says it’s working to fight the phenomenon:

“JCPenney did not authorize, and we were not involved with or aware of, the posting of the links that you sent to us, as it is against our natural search policies. We are working to have the links taken down.”

Google says it’s aware of the problem and is taking corrective action.

The Dirty Little Secrets of Search [The New York Times via Engadget]