Pretty great article in the NYT today on how Google busted J.C. Penney for paid links and torched a lot of their natural search rankings. The Dirty Little Secret of Search is a must-read for any company that has someone doing linkbuilding on their behalf.
My favorite line of the piece from a J.C. Penney spokesperson – “J. C. Penney 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,”
Either a) She’s lying through her teeth and Penney knew full-well their SEO firm was buying links, or b) She’s telling the truth and their SEO firm was buying links without their knowledge, or c) A competitor put a hit on their site by buying a ton of spammy links just in time to get them ranked for high value terms for the holidays. I’ll let you decide which is the most likely.
What’s for sure though is that a few search marketers think Matt Cutts looks hot/badass:
@mattcutts that photo in the NY Times “spam cop” makes you look both studly and pissed off. My wife approves.
@mattcutts You look like a total badass in that NYT photo. Awesome pic.