AlyssaS - 1:57 pm on Oct 21, 2011 (gmt 0)
I haven't really noticed a deterioration in the SERPs for queries I do - the page 2 results arn't that good, but I never use page 2 (I just look at it out of professional curiosity).
There are some good sites demoted (though this is in the eye of the beholder) but a lot of good sites have been promoted.
There is no shortage of good sites on the interwebs! That is the real problem webmasters face.
There has been an explosion of businesses since the web and Google took off - and that's because the barriers to entry have been removed. A highly competent person in the past may have been shut out because they didn't have a six figure capital investment or because they had no contacts with politicians. Online all you need is $10 for a domain and $9.99 per month for hosting.
BTW - you see this web effect on other professions too. Journalists used to be paid vast amounts and used to preen themselves that only they could write well. Then came the blogging revolution and readers suddenly found that an awful lot of people write really well and entertainingly - it's just that in the past they were locked out as the newspaper business is an old boys club with jobs being given to people who went to school with each other.
The web explosion has meant that their salaries have gone down, and predictably they are trying to lobby govt in order to shut out the new competition - but it can't be done.
Then take the music business - the artist would produce a record, and the industry would take 90% of the takings, nice for all the hangers on having meetings and talking through their hats. Then comes iTunes and Amazon - the prices drop, but the artist gets paid much what they were paid before (remember they never got much out of the old system, and some are making more under the new system). The middle-man got cut out. Cue wailing from the middleman about the "death of the industry" - of course the music industry hasn't died, it's just the gravy-train for the middleman has gone.
Or take the book industry. Authors were famous for not making much money out of their books - all the money went to the publishing house and the retailer. Typically an author made just 10% or less on the retail price of the book - and they were fed a lot of guff about how artists have to "struggle for their art".
Then comes along the ibookstore with their 80% royalty to authors, followed by Amazon giving 70% and new publishers like Smashwords giving 85% - and authors are really really happy, so are the customers as prices have come down. But the gravy-train publishers have been cut out, and predictably they are crying and lobbying govt about it.
This is the web for you - the most democraticising force we've ever seen because it removes barriers, gives the producer a chance and frees them from all the blood-sucking hangers on.