This day in search marketing history: February 12

This day in search marketing history: February 12

Google penalizes JCPenney for link scheme, plus: Google SEO certifications, Automated Bidding overhaul, canonical tag announced and more.

Google penalizes JCPenney for link scheme

In 2011, JCPenney was caught engaging in link schemes and, as a result, found itself on the receiving end of a Google penalty.

The New York Times was apparently perplexed by how well ranked in organic search for practically everything the retailer sold. So they asked someone familiar with SEO to look into it.

What they found: JCPenney’s site had thousands of peculiar links pointing to it with very descriptive anchor text. The Times shared its findings with Google – and Google took manual action. The JCPenney website was nowhere to be found on Google for the queries they had previously ranked number one for.

JCPenney said they knew nothing about the links – and subsequently fired their SEO firm.

Read all about it in New York Times Exposes JCPenney Link Scheme That Causes Plummeting Rankings in Google.

Also on this day

New chart annotations make Google Ads’ change history reports much easier to navigate

2020: Annotations were available in campaign-level change reports in the Google Ads UI. 

Video: Ann Smarty on the history of guest blogging & the future of link building

2020: Smart ran MyBlogGuest, which got hit hard when Google cracked down on guest blogging.

For retail advertisers, Shopping ads continue to overshadow text ads

2019: Fourth-quarter reports from Marin and Merkle highlighted the importance of Shopping ads for merchants’ search advertising strategies.

Analyst: 8 billion voice assistants by 2023

2019: Analyst firm Juniper Research predicted “nearly 8 billion digital voice assistants to be in use by 2023.”

Google, Getty Images enter a multi-year global licensing partnership

2018: The deal effectively ended Getty’s European antitrust complaint against Google.

Google Won’t Provide SEO Certifications To Webmasters Or SEO Companies

2016: Google discussed internally if they should add an SEO certification program and decided not to do so.

AdWords Automated Bidding Gets An Overhaul: Welcome, Portfolio Bid Strategies

2016: Terminology changes came with some new functionality, including the ability to set different CPA targets at the ad group level within the same bid strategy. 

Google Mobile Image Search Adds Drop-Down & Other UI Changes

2016: Google added a drop-down menu on the image search result page for mobile devices and tweaked some more user interface features.

Streetmap Loses Anti-Competitive Lawsuit Against Google In UK

2016: Streetmap had sued on grounds that putting Google Maps at the top of search results was an “abuse of competition.”

Search In Pics: Google Jedi Master, Aerial Silks Class & Sundar Pichai Meets NFL’s Ronnie Lott

2016: The latest images showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more.

Google’s Search Impact Report Goes Live For Select Few Webmasters

2015: Google released the alpha version of their new search queries report in Google Webmaster Tools to a small number of Webmasters for feedback and testing. 

Now It’s Expedia Vs. Priceline As Orbitz Swallowed For $1.6 Billion

2015: After buying Travelocity the previous month, Expedia grabbed Orbitz in competitive bidding.

Google’s Matt Cutts On Being A Spam Fighter: Looking For Patterns & Always New Spam Efforts

2014: He answers the question “What’s it like to fight webspam at Google?”

5 Times Google Penalized Itself For Breaking Its Own SEO Rules

2014: When Google took action against itself – Google Chrome, Beat That Quote, Google AdWords (2x) and Google Japan.

Microsoft: We Don’t Censor Search Outside China

2014: An article asserted that Bing search results for Chinese language speakers in the U.S. were radically different than those in English for controversial terms such as “Tiananmen Square” or “Dalai Lama.”

Report: Mobile To Drive A Third Of Paid-Search Clicks By Year End

2013: The company said that as of December 2012, mobile devices accounted for 23.4% of all US paid-search clicks.

Bing Ads Updates Pro Accreditation Training; Exam Is Now Free

2013: Among the changes, Bing transitioned the training segments from video based to text based content.

Foursquare Improves Android App, Makes Search More Prominent

2013: An “Explore” search box was added at the top of the screen.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me: “I Search Google. So Does Bing”

2011: NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” quiz show did a funny send up over Google’s accusations that Bing was copying Google’s search results.

Google AdWords Now Offering “Bid Ideas”

2010: The feature gave suggestions on if you should increase or decrease your bids on certain keywords.

Google Tweaks Mobile Search, Adds Olympics Onebox, Yahoo Offers Dedicated Mobile Olympics Site

2010: Google made some subtle changes to its mobile homepage and searchbox.

Google May Offer Buzz Independently From Gmail

2010: “It’s clear that interest in Buzz may extend beyond the current Gmail base, and we’re open to serving that community.”

Google Offers Beta Features In New “Maps Labs”

2010: So that people could get a look at new functionality and Google can get early feedback on potential new features to introduce.

Google’s Sergey Brin Talking China At TED

2010: A transcript of an impromptu Q&A with Google cofounder Sergey Brin on Google’s decision to leave China.

Nielsen: Bing Regains December’s Losses In January

2010: Bing’s January share wiped out its drop from December.

Yahoo Founders To Sell Up To 5 Million Shares

2010: Jerry Yang, the former CEO, would be selling 3 million shares and David Filo would sell up to 2 million shares.

Google, Yahoo & Microsoft Unite On “Canonical Tag” To Reduce Duplicate Content Clutter

2009: The birth of the rel="canonical" link element. The search engines would use this as a hint, not as a directive.

Google Turns Off Radio Ads

2009: Google Audio Ads and Google Radio Automation wasn’t as successful as they hoped

Google Buys Paper Mill In Finland For New Data Center

2009: It cost $51.7 million.

Google “My Tracks” Uses Android GPS To Capture Outdoor Performance

2009: It helped runners, skiers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts capture their routes and performance using the phone’s GPS chip.

Microsoft Continues Peeling Off Yahoo Search Talent

2009: Yahoo executive Larry Heck would be working on Microsoft search.

Internet Ads Grow; Google Sees Slight Decline

2008: IDC reported that overall Internet advertising had grown 27% year over year to $25.5 billion in 2007.

Google Maps Adds Street View Photography For Several New Cities

2008: 30 cities had the street views feature.

Mobile Musical Chairs: Google Befriends Nokia; Yahoo Snags T-Mobile Europe

2008: Yahoo appeared to have replaced Google as the search provider for T-Mobile in Europe, while Google became a major search partner of Nokia.

Tech Companies Go After Yahoo Employees In Wake Of Microsoft & Layoff News

2008: The companies were seeking developers, project managers, and key executives who may have wanted to jump ship ahead of a possible Yahoo-Microsoft merger and upcoming layoffs. Related: Updated: Yahoo Layoffs Happening Now

MSNbot 1.1: Live Search Implements A More Efficient Crawl

2008: Microsoft announced changes to their Live Search crawler intended to reduce bandwidth resources during the crawl of a site.

Google Accused Of Profiting On Film Piracy: Discussions Continue

2007: Google is said to have supported two websites that allegedly offered pirated movies in part by an ad rep suggesting they bid on terms like “bootleg movie download.”

What Are Google Sitelinks?

2007: Many more people were reporting seeing Google Sitelinks update.

Yahoo Signs Mobile Advertisers; Google Partners With Vodafone On Maps, Live Search Mobile Leaving Beta

2007: A variety of expected mobile announcements ahead of 3GSM World Congress.

Search Love Triangle: Wants Those Looking For On

2007: We’ve never heard of a search engine advertising for those seeking another search engine on a third search engine. Until now.

Ironically, You Need A Map To Find Google & Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Map Apps

2007: It was an incredible challenge.

Yahoo Go For Mobile Goes “Gamma,” LG Partnership Announced

2007: It featured the ability for consumers to search directly from maps and share oneSearch results, news articles and the service directly with friends.

Microsoft, Google & Others To Build New Wireless Device?

2007: Was this a way for these companies to offer mobile services without having to work with mobile carriers? Chooses Central Washington For New Data Center

2007: In related news, it seemed like Google’s North Carolina deal was going to be reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee.

Past contributions from Search Engine Land’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

These columns are a snapshot in time and have not been updated since publishing, unless noted. Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

  • 2020: Learn how to chart and track Google Trends in Data Studio using Python by Hülya Çoban
  • 2018: Monitoring web migrations: A checklist for moving from one site to another by Aleyda Solis
  • 2016: A Layman’s Visual Guide To Google’s Knowledge Graph Search API by Barbara Starr
  • 2015: AdWords Scripts Bulks Up With Bulk File Uploads by Russell Savage
  • 2015: 10 WordPress SEO Questions That Took Me 10 Years To Answer! by Trond Lyngbø
  • 2014: How 3 B2B Companies Integrate SEO In Their Online Marketing Strategies by Derek Edmond
  • 2013: Your Top 5 Questions About The New gTLD Domain Extensions, Answered by Kathy Nielsen
  • 2013: Is Your Local Pricing Strategy Blocking Search Engine Spiders? by Bill Hunt
  • 2013: How Search & Social Will Hit The Fast Forward Button In 2013 by Jim Yu
  • 2013: How 5 Years Of Doing The Right Things Can Be Undone In 9 Months Of Doing Nothing by Erin Everhart
  • 2010: Information Architects Are From Venus, SEOs Are From Mars by Shari Thurow
  • 2010: A Guide To Choosing Your Paid Search Management Tool by Josh Dreller
  • 2010: User Generated Content Offers Significant SEO Benefits by Brian Klais
  • 2009: Are You Sitting On A Good Idea? by Aaron Wall
  • 2009: How To Lose Money & Alienate Your Customers by Lance Loveday
  • 2008: How To Shout On Social Media Sites Without Screaming by Muhammad Saleem
  • 2008: LinkSpotting – Headlines That Lead To Links and Why by Eric Ward
  • 2007: I Have A Link Building Secret by Eric Ward

< February 11 | Search Marketing History | February 13 >

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