The sparring and spin of the Google dance:
"To test the effectiveness of these tactics, the Guardian created a spoof site and tried to force it up Google's rankings. Over one week, a number of tricks - some similar to those used by black-hat firms - were used to successfully push it to the top.
The spoof site was set up to promote eco-friendly flip-flops, a bogus product promising zero harmful emissions. The simple page featured a disclaimer to make the nature of the experiment clear, and a picture of the goods. At the start of the experiment, there were more than 11,500 results for "eco-friendly flip-flops" on Google, and the spoof site did not feature. Within two days of creating the site, Google's spider - the program that explores the web - had discovered the site and included it in its main index, but it appeared within the lowest 100 pages.
A second site was created which contained a large number of links to the first. Because Google rates the authority of a site partly by how many times they have been linked to, this ploy can makes a site appear popular. Within hours, the effect was apparent - the spoof site was now the top result in our test search, trumping the other 11,500 sites within days." 4:57:28 PM