If you think back links don’t work to make a site move higher in search results, consider this, excerpted from The New York Times article, The Dirty Little Secrets of Search.

It says in part

The company [JC Penney] bested millions of sites — and not just in searches for dresses, bedding and area rugs. For months, it was consistently at or near the top in searches for “skinny jeans,” “home decor,” “comforter sets,” “furniture” and dozens of other words and phrases, from the blandly generic (“tablecloths”) to the strangely specific (“grommet top curtains”).

This striking performance lasted for months, most crucially through the holiday season, when there is a huge spike in online shopping. J. C. Penney even beat out the sites of manufacturers in searches for the products of those manufacturers. Type in “Samsonite carry on luggage,” for instance, and Penney for months was first on the list, ahead of Samsonite.com.

Doug Pierce of Blue Fountain Media in New York, was asked by the Times to analyze the search results and talk about the methodolgy.  He reported:

Actually, it’s the most ambitious attempt I’ve ever heard of,” he said. “This whole thing just blew me away. Especially for such a major brand.

Pierce found 2,015 pages with text links that led back to ‘Jacques Pennyea.’

Someone paid to have thousands of links placed on hundreds

of sites scattered around the Web, all of which lead directly to JCPenney.com.

A spokeswoman for J. C. Penney, Darcie Brossart, says it was not Penney.  Of course she did.  Penney did, however, fire their seo firm.

Why would they cheat? Google serves it up as first choice, we click.  Is that simple

A study last May by Daniel Ruby of Chitika, an online advertising network of 100,000 sites, found that, on average, 34 percent of Google’s traffic went to the No. 1 result, about twice the percentage that went to No. 2.

That drive to be number 1 shows up in our desire to ‘dominate’ the search results we’re on.

When Black Hat Specialist Mark Stevens (a psuedonym) was asked about his activity in link building activity prohibited by Google,  he replied, in part:

…Google is amazing. But in commercial searches, Google’s results are really polluted. My own personal experience says that the guy with the biggest S.E.O. budget always ranks the highest.”

And that, in a nutshell is why “black hat” firms prosper.  Those links work.


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