Did you hear? Google lifted the -50 penalty on Overstock! Yep. It’s true. Surprisingly, no one really cares. Oh sure, it’s made the SEO news cycle over the past couple of days, but it certainly isn’t causing the same hysteria as when Google was bitch-slapping Overstock, JCPenney and Forbes back in February for their involvement in the filthy evil world of paid link building.
I’m actually surprised I haven’t had anyone ask me about the Overstock penalty being lifted. It hasn’t even come up at lunch or at the water cooler. Nope. People are just too cynical. We all want to slow down to look at the gruesome car wreck, but no one slows down to get a good look at the vehicles being towed away. “Oh hey – let’s slow down to look at a happy ending!” Mark that under ‘Things that you’ll never hear’. People don’t care about happy endings. People want to watch the tigers (Google) devour the gladiators (websites) in the Colosseum (the Internet).
Back on February 24th, I saw the Overstock story, and I decided to do a little research. I wanted to know what kind of impact the Google penalty would have on Overstock’s rankings. And I also wanted to know how long such a publicized penalty would last. So I did what any SEO would do — I found roughly 500 non-branded keywords that were driving a ton of organic traffic to Overstock.com. On Feb. 25th, I ran a ranking report. Sure enough, nearly every keyword had gone from ranking in the top 10 to ranking in the 50′s and 60′s.
Yesterday, when I saw the news about the penalty being lifted, I ran a ranking report on the same keywords. As you can see, the penalty has been lifted. It’s undeniable:
Just look at that. Damn! I know it’s the NBA playoffs, but that is the biggest rebound I’ve seen in a long time! Going from 27 position 1 rankings to 265? Wow. That is amazing. Google really does have the power to ruin your day if they want to. But Google also forgives. So that is good.
And now, how about I upload an overly long JPG file that shows you all the keywords and their respective rankings? Well, okay. I suppose I can do that.
So there’s that. I guess that post really wrapped up nicely. Or not. Not.
BTW I think it’s awesome that Overstock.com sent out a press release to announce the Google penalty had been removed. Online press releases are a great tool for reputation management….and link building! Aside from the obvious irony, I think it’s pretty ballsy for Overstock to use this announcement to build more links to their awesome o.co domain. Well done, indeed.
Interesting note from the SEWatch article:
The toll of the Google penalty on Overstock.com: a 5 percent drop in sales and 32 percent loss of organic traffic.
Wow. I’ll have more on that later.