How unscrupulous firms are manipulating Google
It is known as the Google dance, a delicate struggle between technicians at the world's largest internet search engine and the spin doctors who manipulate the worldwide web for commercial ends. Every day one group tries to prevent the other from abusing Google's index of more than 8bn web pages.
The stakes are high. As Britain's online shoppers spend £150m every day in the run-up to Christmas, the value of a high ranking on Google is potentially worth millions to retailers, website owners and criminals alike. Web search has become the focus for a legion of marketers over the past decade, and their tactics - known as search engine optimisation (SEO) - are the basis of a multibillion pound worldwide industry. Most are legitimate businesses, but some so-called "black hat" SEOs use unethical strategies to boost their clients. Guardian Unlimited Business | Business latest | The sparring and spin of the Google dance
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