It feels a bit like having the police devote all their time to writing minor speeding tickets while violent murders are happening!
Now, to be fair, any site which appears on the level could suddenly start redirecting to a bad location, and thered naturally be a period of time before the search engine bots re-spider the page and realize that theres malware on it. During that window of time between when it was first spidered while appearing alright and the time later when it starts launching evil, it could naturally continue to appear in the SERPs where innocent people could click on it and get infected. Also, the term combinations that Sunbelt cited were moderately arcane in some cases, so average users might notve been impacted by any significant numbers. It could also be that Sunbelt might well be hyping-up the issue in order to get attention for themselves, so you have to consider their assessment as possibly non-objective.
Even so, just the fact that this rather pedestrian combination of black-hat tactics could be used to effectively poison search results with malware listings is significant and disturbing.
Why wasnt the comment spam detected early on? One assumes that the slow accretion of links over months may notve set off alarms, or perhaps the comment text added was made to be cleverly relevant.
And, the spam-laden content of the pages looks blatantly unnatural to me ” that shouldve also been detectable.