Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

1410 Posts and Counting

Linky, linky, linky, link me. I want to feel dirty.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | February 13, 2011

No. 578

Did you ever hear of a “black hat link?”

Well, you can’t ever answer that question with a “no” again.  A black hat link is the kind disapproved by Google, the cheatin’ kind. When Google discovers so-called  paid links being used to enhance page rank, it takes action — sometimes to make the website vanish  from the Google search entirely.  The New York Times contained an interesting article about the extraordinary case of J C Penney.  Search “dresses” until recently and J C Penney came up first.  And so it was with a host of other items, some not so obvious.  The times stated:

The company 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.

Penneys claim to have no idea who placed the links, which included low value sites all over the world.  Nor does anybody else know for sure.  No one will publicly claim such an honor.  While not illegal, paid links will earn you an all-expenses paid one-way ticket to Google Siberia.

By the way, if you Google “Pittsburgh Legal”, the first two listings belong to the Pittsburgh Legal Journal.  The number three listing is Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk.  No fooling.  And we came by it the old fashioned way.  We earned it.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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