Like many people, I have a vague idea about how Google goes about generating its search results. I am also aware that many firms employ search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to try to climb high in the Google search rankings. This article “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search” (New York Times, February 12, 2011). gets behind the scenes and describes how J.C. Penney climbed its way to the top of the search charts. The article is kind of long, and goes well beyond what we might typically cover in an introductory marketing class. But for many firms, especially online retailers, SEO can be a very important source of customers. This behind the scenes peak is fascinating. It raises ethical questions, too.
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