I can always appreciate when google makes updates on improving its search results. Even when my sites are negativity effected I can accept the fact that googles main goal is to provide the most accurate results to the searcher.
I have a client who I have been working with for about 5 months now who reached out to me out of desperation. He runs an ecommerce site about specialty widgets. He knows very little about seo or web related stuff. What he knows is the product he sells. It is a very specialty item and its what he focuses on his entire career. Nobody in the world knows more about these widgets than he does, I tried to find someone but no site comes close.
He used to rank #3 for specialty widgets right below wikipedia and howstuffworks. On a penguin update his website was knocked deep into the abyss of the google SERP's. Not page 2 or page 3...but more like page 50 where he will never be found. His google traffic had pretty much disappeared overnight.
His website offers the most competitive prices than any other site on the net...believe me I have looked at every site that now ranks above him, nobody comes close. He offers products that nobody else sells. Each product has its own description because he has hands on experience with every product he sells and the manufacturer descriptions dont tell the full story as he says. He has videos of him using and demonstrating more than 60% of the products he sells and these videos are embeded on the product pages to help give the user a better understanding of the product in action before they commit to purchase. His youtube videos are embedded onto 2 competitors websites which are based out of china and do not even ship to america.
To sum it up, if you are looking to purchase this product, his site is the one you want to find. And now nobody can. This is bad for him and this is bad for google. All because he paid $60 to a seo company and they made link wheels. Basically his link profile consists of profile pages that interlink to each other. This is easy for google to detect since each link can be traced to the next site.
My gripe here is that google is focused more on punishing a website trying to manipulate its SERP's than providing accurate search results to the end user. In this very case, the results are very poor and barely mention the searched term anywhere on the page. How is this good for the user?
His site has everything you want on a site that you want to buy from. He has his 800 number prominently displayed on the site. 100% price match, security badges etc. I am a picky, educated online shopper and I would have no problem placing an order on his site and feeling 100% secure about it.
Instead of google main focus being "Does this website try to manipulate our rankings", their number 1 focus should be "Is this site relevant to the searchers request?"
My gripe here is that google is focused more on punishing a website trying to manipulate its SERP's than providing accurate search results to the end user.
I don't know why it is so difficult for many on this thread to understand it. If you don't punish them, they will be happily testing every possible alternative to decode and game their algorithms. They don't want that to happen anymore.
But the side effect of this change is negative SEO will get bigger and more popular. Innocent websites of small/medium size will suffer, but they (Google) don't care about it (they cannot afford to care).However, negative SEO wouldn't work so easily against bigger websites, not just because of their established brand, popularity, spending power, "can't live without them" tag etc. but also because of their SIZE as most of their so called new "quality" and "Spam" flags are determined site wide and applied to the site as a whole.
I am in a Web business long enough so I can make same remarks about SE. Web badly need a strong SE competition. Soon or later it will happen, to many people suffer for without reason and that can't last forever like anything can.