Though Google’s precise search algorithms are unknown, those in the search engine optimization (SEO) business have a general understanding of how the system works. Thanks to a number of analytical tools that Google openly provides, savvy marketers can use the search engine to drive traffic to their website.

Unfortunately, this knowledge can also be used for malicious attacks. According to research conducted by the internet security firm Zscaler, computer hackers are abusing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to promote malicious links on Google.

Zscaler searched the top search phrases from Google Trends, and found there were up to 86 malicious links appearing in the top 100 search results for some terms. In competing search engines, the malicious links were generally limited to 10 or fewer.

Zscaler attributes this to the speed at which Google adds new links to its database, which is faster than other search engines. Zscaler also suggests that attackers tailor their pages to target Google, which results in more of them being posted. Zscaler urges Google to "step up to the new security threats."

Earlier this month at Google Atmosphere 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that it was constantly implementing new security measures. "Google is now particularly paranoid about [security]," Schmidt said, reports