Milanoo’s “passion for fashion” is being overshadowed by their desire to be at the top of Google’s SERPs. The China-based online retailer, founded in 2008, has been accused of “gaming” search results with the same type of blackhat SEO tactics that caused JC Penney to see a dramatic rise in popularity – and an equally dramatic drop in the rankings after Google discovered the scam.
It has hard to mention the effects of gaming Google without mentioning JC Penney. While the US retailer claims no knowledge of what its SEO company was doing, the damage to its once top ranked site has been done. While Google hasn’t yet determined whether Milanoo, which serves customers in 180 countries, has indeed been spamming the search engine, many experts believe that to be the case. What is the company doing?
Every inbound link to the site is paid for, and many are thinly disguised spam. Searches for “evening gown,” “cheap dresses,” “summer dresses” return with Milanoo at the top of the list, this despite it being a relatively unknown startup. It ranks higher than Macy’s, Saks, Gap, and other well-known retailers, which is a red flag according to Digital Due Diligence’s Doug Pierce, who played a role in the New York Times piece that exposed JC Penny.
Milanoo appears to be buying links to its homepage and individual product pages, which boosts its visibility. Pierce said he couldn’t find an inbound link that wasn’t paid for, such as those from NFL New Jerseys and Auto News.
Getting called on this will no doubt impact the online merchant’s bottom line. Overstock.com was penalized by Google for a similar offense and saw a drop in sales of 5 percent. Search engine traffic is crucial to online retailers, and gaming Google often ends in a loss.