Negative SEO has been a hot topic here for a while. Based on a friend's 2014 test and my own previous tests I have been of the opinion that it is either ineffective, or that it only has a very limited effect. But Google HAS released some updates since the last tests I ran. So I did it again. The Target: A page that I created and had ranked on a contributor-type site. I chose this to simulate taking down an established website like you often see on page 1. I ranked this page of mine for a medium competition keyword over a 8 week period. Total cost was approximately $97. I ranked it to spot #9 (as high as #8 and as low as #12) and had kept it stable(ish) there for almost two weeks before testing. The Spam: I threw four volleys of spam blasts. The first was a blast of 50,000 blog comments using only two anchor texts that share my two words of my main keyword. The next blast was 200,000 forum profile blasts, all with the same profile first/last name and info and with exact match anchor text to my main keyword. Next I blasted 25,000 web2.0 posts using a VERY poorly spun non-unique article, using again exact match anchor text to my keyword. Finally I did a giant SeNuke Fully Monty blast with poorly spun content, all using the same anchor text. These blasts took place over a 10 day period roughly. What Happened: The keyword was ranked at #10 before I started. Which should be a pretty easy spot to knock down, right? Nope. Three days after the first spam blast the keyword was actually UP a spot to #9. The day after my second blast it moved back down to #10 where it started, other related keywords (almost the same phrase) however raised a point or two. By the start third blast, however the keyword had jumped again up to the #8 spot (oddly enough with virtually no dancing). I started the fourth blast immediately after to gain max effect, and again saw little variance in rank over the next couple days as it stuck between #8 and at times #9. The spam blasts were now completed. Over the next 14 days however the rank began to bounce a bit between #7 and as low as #11 day-to-day. The rank would differ depending on the time of day I checked. Now, another (almost) three weeks later the main keyword has settled down... but at the #9 where it has been stably for a week. Its other related keywords are essentially where they were before the test. In effect there was either zero effect or a slight positive gain. What My Thoughts Are: The way I look at it I threw what I would consider to be the nastiest links that aren't obvious negative SEO at this test page. Any SEO would shit his pants if he were told somebody was going to do this to his pahe 1 ranked keyword. But in the end absolutely no harm came of it. What I'm guessing is that Google has really made strides to prevent negative SEO over the last few updates. The last time I tried this it didn't ruin the test page, but the recovery was a LOT more wild and it did lose rank completely for a short time. This time it almost appears that Google ignored the links, or at least took notice to the erratic change in incoming links. Worse yet, there were gains. However this does make me wonder if a simulated negative SEO attack could possibly be a new ranking method, well... I'm not that confident based on this one test, but I can at least say that an under-the-table attack such as this is at best ineffective.