One of the most important things to a business is being easy to find online. This is why having a good website, and knowing some basic SEO, is so crucial.
I’m not a an expert myself, but I know a few of the fundamentals. And being a security person I tend to see opportunities for abuse in systems, in addition to the common functionality.
I was thinking about SEO the other day, and how people are constantly trying to spam my site’s comments, and came up with the following:
- We know that spamming is bad for a brand, and that if you do it too much it can hurt your rankings by getting you blacklisted by various groups.
- So why not have a massive network of nodes, similar to what you’d use for click fraud, and then use it to illegally, annoyingly, and abusively promote your competitors brand?
The key here is that anyone can post links to anywhere. There are some limitations, but in general it’s pretty easy to post content and links. So you could simply sign up and do so on a mass scale, promoting your competitor, until a few things happen:
- The forum(s) where you’re posting will hate that brand
- Search engines will discover the tactics, assume it’s the brand itself, and then penalize them
So, blackhat SEO, but in reverse, aimed at your competitors.
I can only assume that this has been going on quietly for years.