By now, most marketers have heard about J.C. Penney’s issues with black hat search optimization. Trouble began when Internet users noticed that the major American retailer was consistently ranking high on search results pages for an unusually wide variety of search terms. News outlets are now reporting that this was a result of the company allegedly posting thousands of links to on hundreds of websites that were not necessarily related to any merchandise that J.C. Penney has to offer. Though not technically illegal, getting caught using black hat techniques can tank a company’s search rankings and often damages a company’s image with its customers.

Companies can look to J.C. Penney to know what to avoid. White hat SEO strategies are the real solutions to building up search rankings. For one example of what strategies they should be using, companies should turn to companies like Toys “R” Us.

Toys “R” Us is one of a number of companies that are using keyword domain names as a part of their white hat optimization search strategies. By owning and properly using domain names such as and, Toys “R” Us is occupying additional page one real estate and gathering organic click-throughs. Because of this strategy, Toys “R” Us enjoys an increase in sales, an increase in impressions and the image of being the “go-to” retailer for its product market. The company also has the chance to deliver quality content where consumers are looking for it, which results in an increase in goodwill with Internet users.

Given how many benefits companies, especially retailers, can get from keyword domain names, it’s surprising to see how many either don’t own the right names or aren’t using them properly. Auto parts retailer J.C. Whitney owns, but you would never know it from going to the site, for example. outranks nearly every other website (including for searches on “Car Parts”. and, major opportunities for apparel retailers have yet to be claimed. Knowing the value that the right keyword domain can have for a company unlocks business opportunities that makes the company, literally and figuratively, rank above their competitors.

Author: Josh Bourne, Managing Director of DigitalDNA

DigitalDNA specializes in transacting digital assets, and works closely with clients to identify and capitalize on unique business opportunities. The DigitalDNA team conducts industry research, analyses, and competitive comparisons to assess the real and potential value of digital assets, and transforms that knowledge into targeted, strategic advice to clients.