JC Penney SEO – Lazy, Stupid and Deserved

I am sure you have read about the JC Penney Google slap at the beginning of the week, they basically spammed their category pages with irrelevant anchor spam.

For those of you (like me) in the UK JC Penney are a major US Retailer turning over in excess of 17 billion dollars a year and yet they couldn’t invest in their site enough to avoid this SEO car crash!

The truth is I can fully understand why they spammed the heck out of their pages…….¬†they have a terrible site!

– Bad Architecture
– Lack of Basic Optimisation
– Lack of Content

The very basics of SEO were missed and I think they knew about it all along. Let’s just break this down…

Title Tags

The very basics of SEO and most important aspect of your page, the title tag, yet let’s look at what JC Penney consider a good title tag;

Bedding = JC Penney: bedding

Jeans = JC Penney: jeans

I mean come on?? Terrible, just a little bit of effort and they could have doubled the traffic on all their category pages just by optimising them better.

URL Structure

17 billion turnover and they can’t be bothered to rewrite their URL’s and redirect them to more keyword rich URL’s.

Jeans URL = http://www5.jcpenney.com/jcp/XGN.aspx?DeptID=70673&CatID=71043&cmCatLevel=3&shopperType=G&CmCatId=&cmAMS

I have worked with various websites with URLs like this and getting them to rank is almost impossible.

But hey, don’t clean your site up just spam.

Content, Content, Content

Come on guys, where’s the content? Surely thats not too much to ask?

In fairness they have implemented user reviews on product pages, but the categories are terrible, check out the above jeans page.

Really no excuses.

I have no doubt their SEO company gave them this same, very basic advice and probably got the reply “Sorry you can’t touch the site”. This leaves the company in a position where they either spam or deliver no rankings.

Having said that, they were with their SEO provider for the last 6-7 years, surely they could have persuaded them to sort out their site in this amount of time?

So they were..

Lazy – because the changes were basic

Stupid – because they have a big enough brand to rank for anything

Deserved – because they have the budget to employ the right people and make the right changes

If you’re a big brand with a bad site, my advice is invest in this before even thinking about building a link.