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The fact that they're restricting this feature across the board suggests that they're more scared about SEO efforts. Malware-related searches would be easier to spot as an anomaly and filter out (and the article states that they do this in some cases).

They don't restrict it across the board, I use many of these operators all the time without issue, the only time I run into difficulties is doing very specific "Google dork"-like queries repetitively.

That's exactly the SEO use case though. I mean, it's not exactly a secret that grey/black-hat SEOs want to do this, the problem is that the limits Google places on it inconvenience every power user too!

I must be missing something here - How would this impact SEO? Blackhat SEO is primarily about generating false backlinks to your site, often through blog and comment spam. Search queries to Google will have little if any impact, especially using fancier operators.

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