vivalasvegas - 9:02 am on Oct 25, 2011 (gmt 0)
They do it by a algo which is less perfect than a manual review.
Webmasters do manual reviews and I think are perfectly entitled to judge what websites should be showing in the serps and thus should be able to expect that hard work on creating a top ten website will result in traffic from search engines.
I am with Cabbie on this. People who don't agree that traffic from Google is free traffic aren't just misunderstanding the OP's post. Here's how I see this long debated issue: as long as there will be search engines and demand for the search results they provide, there will be money to earn from the "free traffic" they send our way. Of course you need diversification and by that I don't just mean finding multiple traffic sources, but also building multiple websites. If one day Google stops sending traffic to one of your websites you will likely still have your other website(s) to make money from. And of course you don't have to sell or desert the downgraded site if you are an honest webmaster who believes in his work. Instead you can continue developing and improving it and eventually there is a good chance that you will regain your SE positions. About a year ago one of the websites I maintain lost about 60% of its visitors due to a drastic drop in rankings. I have kept working on this site and promoting it and a year later my rankings are back and traffic is better than ever.
Sure, the ideal situation is to build a popular brand like PlentyofFish or Facebook, etc. But I guess not all of us possess the right combination of skills and genius required for this. Until then we can at least try, and in the meantime stay in business and earn a decent income on the web.