The second retailer in as many weeks has been exposed for using unscrupulous methods to force their site to the top of Google Search Results.
Overstock.com was found to have generated external links many hosted on .edu educational websites to promote common items for sale on their site. While they were successful at modifying their search rank for a number of weeks SEO experts say that Google has now penalized the online merchant pushing their links 5 or more pages deep.
It seems that Overstock.com found out that .edu sites push rank harder then any other backlink.
In Overstock’s case, the retailer offered discounts of 10% on some merchandise to students and faculty. In exchange, it asked college and university websites to embed links for certain keywords like “bunk beds” or “gift baskets” to Overstock product pages.
JCPenny had recently been found to have employed similar methods of backlinking to promote rank and was similarly adjusted by google’s search algorithm.