Google Penalizes Overstock for Search Tactics

Google Inc. is penalizing Overstock.com Inc in its search results after the retailer ran afoul of Google policies that prohibit companies from artificially boosting their ranking in the Internet giant’s search engine.

Overstock’s pages had recently ranked near the top of results for dozens of common searches, including vacuum cleaners and laptop computers. But links to Overstock on Tuesday dropped to the fifth or sixth pages of Google results for many of those categories, greatly reducing the chances that a user would click on its links.

The incident, according to Overstock, stemmed in part from its practice of encouraging websites of colleges and universities to post links to Overstock pages so that students and faculty could receive discounts on the shopping site. Overstock said it discontinued the program on 10 February, before hearing from Google, but said some university webmasters have been slow to remove the links — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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