OverStock Also in Google’s Penalty Box

Google's Penalty Box is Filling UpHow big a data center will Google need to house all the sites they are penalizing? Their Penalty Box sure seems to be growing fast.

It seems we just posted about JC Penny being penalized by Google for black hat link buying conducted by an outsourced SEO firm that violates Google’s long standing position on this method. Shame on that SEO Firm, but we also think JC Penny shows a serious lack of judgement and understanding about the importance of their Web site.

Our respected friends over at SearchEngineWatch.com has posted another in-depth article about Overstocks’s Paid Links at Universities and Colleges.  In some ways, this seems an unfair penalty. The gist of their violation stems from asking the sites to embed links to related Overstock.com product pages, such as “gift baskets” in exchange for offering a 10% discount to their students.

Why was this a violation? OverStock wasn’t penalized because they had a link on a college site saying something like:

“10% discount on gift baskets for all XYZ College students”

While they DID have those links, which are fine, OverStock asked the colleges to go a bit deeper into their site. For instance, there could be an FAQ section for new parents that states “Loneliness is the biggest reason for first year drop outs. Consider sending your child a gift basket near special occasions.” In this case, the link “gift basket” would take a parent to OverStock’s gift basket product page.

Once Google detected this similarity across lots of universities and colleges, they pitched OverStock into the Penalty Box. Another reason why businesses should consider having an SEO in-house expert or outsource they can trust.

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6 thoughts on “OverStock Also in Google’s Penalty Box

  1. Pingback: Big Change in SEO “Best Practice” – Anchor Text in Links « Astute Marketing

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  4. I almost never comment, but i did some searching and wound up here OverStock Also
    in Googles Penalty Box | Astute Marketing.
    And I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or does it appear like some of these comments appear like coming from brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional social sites, I would like to follow anything new you have to post. Could you list of all of your public sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    • Yes…lots of comments are from bots or cheap overseas labor being paid to post comments on any blog with the hope that the blog master allows URL links back to “a site”. They are trying to “link build” and create links on our blog sites to point back to their sites in the hopes that will boost their search engine rankings. This is an old trick that no longer works in the majority of cases. But it’s still sold as a service and occasionally generates a click or three. My Twitter account is @chanhall and LI is LinkedIn.com/in/JChandlerHall

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