The New York Times had a long article about Black Hat SEO they uncovered for JCPenny.com over the last few months. Google has severely lowered their ranking as a result.
…the digital age’s most mundane act, the Google search, often represents layer upon layer of intrigue. And the intrigue starts in the sprawling, subterranean world of “black hat” optimization, the dark art of raising the profile of a Web site with methods that Google considers tantamount to cheating.
It’s like the old robber-baron day of railroad when big brands did whatever they want.
I was surprised to learn this fact: 34 percent of the traffic from Google go to the #1 result, about twice the percentage that go to #2.
I rechecked my own PageRank: I’m up to 6 out of 10. That reminds me of other SEO successes my clients have had. And new clients I have connected with since I started targeting “WordPress Expert” on my own site. Including an internet lawyer who is using SEO effectively to get his new business off the ground.