A common tactic of increasing page rank to improve organic search results is to align your site with authority sites in your business vertical, industry or just plain gorilla PR sites. This is all worked into Google’s algorithm to help determine a sites reputation, thus position in Google’s SERPs (Search engine result pages). One recent event however to strategically manipulate this comes from Overstock.com. I tip my hat for the effort.
Overstock.com’s tactically brilliant yet ethically deficient plan to game Google’s search engine has blown up in its face.
The popular online discounter had struck deals with several universities, offering students and faculty 10% off in certain categories in exchange for a product-based link from campus websites. Google has been known to rank sites higher if they are linked to from the authoritative vantage point of .edu domains.
Smart move by Overstock? Not so fast. Google’s been coming under fire for the sneaky ways that content farms and some e-tailers are trying to rank higher on popular search queries. One can argue whether Overstock’s ploy was white-hat or black-hat, but the correct answer is that the closeouts specialist was donning a gray hat here.
Google doesn’t like to be embarrassed this way, so it’s penalizing Overstock’s organic results by backing out the PageRank gains resulting from its .edu campus invasion.
As Rick at Fool.com elegantly put it, ‘I guess the scholar just got schooled”.