Yesterday it was reported that J.C. Penney have showed signs that their Google penalty has now been lifted.
The original penalty was imposed at the end of Feb for “shady SEO practices”. Searchmetrics have published a report to show that organic search traffic is back on the rise again for J.C. Penney:
Obviously we can only speculate about the SEO activity that J.C. Penney have employed in order to get this penalty turned around so quickly. The obvious steps would be to clean up their backlink profile and remove any paid or suspicious links and then submit a re-inclusion request (which has been confirmed by Matt Cutts).
So when analysing J.C. Penney’s recent backlink history, wouldn’t you expect to see a drop in links?
No! Majestic SEO shows that they’ve actually had a significant increase in recent links. So what does this mean? Maybe they’ve bought more links 🙂 Or perhaps they’ve had a very successful PR campaign? In fact, that is much closer to the truth!
So even when it’s assumed they’ve made large efforts to remove links, they’ve actually increased volumes by considerable amounts. But it’s not just about numbers – if you look deeper into the quality of these new links, you’ll find that the quality of these are very high. There are many global media and newspaper websites covering the story, along with hundreds of authority blogs such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, Econsultancy, Techcrunch etc – as well as the huge number of SEO blogs picking up on this.
That’s all without looking at the PR value of how much coverage and brand visibility they’ve generated from this. Being from the UK, I’ve got to admit – I’d never even heard of J.C. Penney before this.
So what can we learn from J.C. Penney?
The end result: J.C. Penney have set a great example of how to turn a negative into a positive.
They’ve cleaned up their backlink profile, replaced these with a huge volume of very high quality media and blog links which are far more natural and defensible – and are likely to return to Google in a much stronger position than ever (certainly long-term).