If you read only one blog post this weekend, let me micropersuade you to read Steve Rubel's SEO Shenanigans Pose a Clear and Present Danger to Social Media.
Before engaging in the debate, I'd like to invite Steve to expand on his Micropersuasion post in Search Engine Watch, home of Sergey Brin's Internet Doomsday Scenario.
Steve: help our readers around the world understand what specific search engine strategies are "SEO shenanigans." You listed this Search Engine Watch blog post first: Boost Organic Results. Link Build with Social Media.
I think it's a brilliant guide: How to earn more money, improve online reputation and build brand equity online -- goals, Steve, you share for your clients?
Wikipedia (Slate's new BFF) defines a shenanigan as a "deceitful confidence trick, or mischief causing discomfort or annoyance."
I don't think your brilliant linkbait blog post is a con game. It's a great SEO shenanigan!
Anonymous Wikepedian(s) go on to say, "However, in some regions, shenanigans can merely refer to harmless mischievous play, especially by children. It should be noted that the word itself is considered humorous, because of its unique sound."
So Steve were you - a PR maven - just joking around? Let me know. I think I may agree with you to a certain extent but I'm not sure.
So let's dynamically insert "search engine optimization" and "social media" keywords into Dictionary.com's definitions from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary:
1. SEO mischief; prankishness by SEOs: Halloween shenanigans.
social media marketing deceit; SEO trickery.
2. mischievous or deceitful SEO trick (Googlebombing?) practice, etc.
Here's the revised American Heritage Dictionary version of SEO shenanigan:
1. A deceitful SEO trick; an underhanded SMM act.
2. Online social media remarks intended to deceive; SEO PR deceit.
3. A playful or mischievous search engine optimization act; an SMM prank.
4. SEO mischief; SMO prankishness.
None of the above seems to pose a clear and present danger.
Graywolf points out in your post's comments that everyone's playing by Google's rules. Here's what The Google says:
Google's number two SERP (search engine results page) suggests shenanigans engaged in by couples present a clear and different danger.
Shenanigans - Indiana - Midwest's Premier "Couples Only" Club for ...
The Midwest's Premier "Couples Only" Club ! Shenanigans "Where Adults Come for Fun". Couples Only!
For inquiring minds, that's shenanigans.net. Since the keyword's in the title, it's not SEO shenanigans at work (or in play).
Google's paid search algorithm matches "shenanigans" with the "biggest losers" crowd: diet, fat and weight loss tips and tricks:
10 Rules to Cut Belly Fat
Lose 9 lbs every 11 Days with these 10 Idiot Proof Rules of Fat Loss.
Steve, did your database of intentions intend SEO shenanigans to encompass a Google broad match/Thesaurus.com semantic search? For example, did you mean:
SEO antics, SEM capers, SEO dirty trick, fooling around with SEO, social media optimization frolicsomeness, search engine optimization funny business, SEO gag, search engine optimization hanky-panky, SEO high jinks, SEO PR horseplay, SEO PR horsing around, social media misbehavior, social media marketing mischievousness, monkey business*, SM naughtiness, SEO nonsense, search marketing prank, SEO trouble, social media marketing vandalism
If so, Google contextual advertising (content advertising) seems to think shenanigans are just a joke: Super Trooper-style (see YouTube result for keyword "shenanigans") or in a Superbad Knocked Up kind of way.
Here's another AdSense ad matched to "shenanigans" on Thesaurus.com:
Readers, your results may vary - my Google results? Not personalized:
What's in Your Bowl? Turd-O-Gram, send one to your Boss.
Whether that's "funny or die" funny is a matter of taste. What it is: Google's algorithm at work in the Google Ecosystem.