In a recent exposé by the New York Times, JC Penney was found to have been sneakily juicing up Google search results. For months during the holiday season, the retail giant has been first for keyword searches “skinny jeans,” “home decor,” “comforter sets,” “furniture,” “tablecloths,” and more. From the basic to the highly specific keywords, the retail chain had almost a monopoly on a large amount of Google search results, which translates into a greater number of online sales.
One of the main contributing factors to come up high in searches is to have web pages link to your website. There were apparently many spam pages that linked back to JC Penney, some of which didn't have anything else up on their sites other than the links. This is a big no-no in the Google books, and the tech firm has subsequently manually reduced JC Penney's rankings. This means that the retailer will no longer be coming up as high as they used to, which may mean a smaller market share of the ecommerce industry.
Lesson to be learned: don't try to be sneaky with Google or you'll be banished to the back pages of no return.