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There is a website I am interested in reviewing for academic purposes. It is a highly corrupt business in my opinion, and is still very popular and profitable.

I believe it is using Blackhat SEO techniques to push down the rankings of pages that criticise it's operation, one technique it uses is domain spamming, buying multiple domains in an effort to flood results with positive messages. It has also been known to shill (send paid employees to forums on other sites spreading good sentiments about it's business, this has been proven as IP's came from their HQ).

I would like to fairly review it's site, and the site of competitors in regards to their application of Blackhat techniques.

Is there a definitive list of Blackhat techniques? A definitive and respected check list that I can go through?

In other words, is it possible to ethically review a site, has anyone ever tried doing this before and how do you do it?

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"Is there a definitive list of Blackhat techniques?"

Anything to deceive a Search Engine is black hat. The list could be endless.

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  • And the list would also need to be updated frequently — could be a community answer? – Baumr May 15 '13 at 13:11
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Agree with @Joe's answer, but here are some links which maybe of use

Google's spam report page - this includes a list of "problems"

and the quality guidelines at the bottom of this page

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You might want to check the backlinks of the website using:

site:domain.com

in yahoo. Another alternative is Open Site Explorer: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/

I'll bet that most of the backlinks are spam, probably from Scrapebox or Xrumer.

Greetings from another unethical SEO :)

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The best way is to use a program like XENU's Link Sleuth to mine their backlinks to look for suspicious links and other black-hat tactics. If anything is not in line with Google's webmaster guidelines then you can report them. With the release of the Penguin update from Google, hopefully it will only be a matter of time before they get spanked.

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