In a revelation of sorts about “dirty little secrets of search,” a recent article in The New York Times has drawn attention to how retail biggie JC Penney successfully gamed Google to deliver its website as the No. 1 search result for an array of terms.
The suspicious search rankings for JC Penney is yet another indication of how ‘content farms’ manage to get top rankings for different products; thereby calling for the Internet search giant to speed up its attempts in the direction cleaning ‘content farms’ from search results.
According to the NY Times’ story, JC Penney apparently used links from bad publicity to prop up its rankings for the products of which they sold counterfeit versions. The retailer was found to have secured No. 1 ranking in the Google search results for certain specific terms, including "dresses", "bedding", and "area rugs."
In addition, the retailer’s site was consistently at or near the top “for months”, in searches for terms like "skinny jeans," "home decor," "comforter sets," and "furniture"; as well as a horde of other words and phrases that included blandly generic terms like "tablecloths" to the strangely specific ones like “grommet top curtains.” As per an explanation by writer David Segal, JC Penney apparently used a massive link-back scheme to artificially shore up its search results; leaving links on as many as 2,015 websites, most of which had nothing to do with JC Penney or its products.