Content Marketing Blog

Forbes joins JC Penny on links naughty step

Forbes, the popular online news provider, has become the latest major brand to run into problems with its linking activities.

Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a story about department store JC Penny apparently gaming Google's organic search results with some dodgy linking practices.

It would appear that the company – or an agency working on its behalf – was pushing its pages up Google's rankings by planting inbound links on various websites.

Now Forbes has apparently run into a similar problem, with Google writing to the management and warning that linking practices on, one of the top 200 websites in the US, were in breach of its rules.

The matter came to light when one of the techies at Forbes, Denis Pinsky, asked for help in Google's Webmaster Forum after he was apparently unable to work out which links on the site had prompted the warning letter.

While he got the help he was looking for, it made what was a private matter and a news story that is likely to cause some embarrassment at Forbes.

Google's problem was with links on one of's pages, pointing to external resources on third party sites. These links appeared to be paid for, with the aim of boosting the page rank of the destination pages.

These two incidents show that Google truly has its work cut out when it comes to enforcing its rules, but it is also evidence of the growing dominance of links when it comes to organic SEO.