Time and again, experienced webmasters will warn newbies away from black hat techniques. They don’t work, they cause problems, Google will catch you sooner or later. It’s all true. Black hat techniques are dangerous because they work, for a while. Then, like the companies that follow, Google finds out. The examples below were all large enough to continue their business, but they’re high profile exceptions to the very common rule.
1: JC Penny
JC Penny, back in 2011, was the subject of one of the largest SEO-related scandals to date. It all started when a curious journalist wondered why the company seemed to rank among the top for virtually every product they sold, even above the manufacturers of those products or other stores selling them. That journalist took the question to various SEO professionals and asked; why is JCP doing so well?
The answer, as it turned out, was black hat link building. Any page on JCP’s website that ranked exceptionally high was found to have a number of links incoming. How often do people link to product pages for products on a page like JCP? How often do those links come from blogs that are otherwise unrelated to the product, n…