tedster - 6:00 am on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)
Well, many people have been using strategies to game Google and didn't even realize that's what they were doing. They learned their "SEO" third and fourth hand and never understood how far out-of-date they were. It's all hit the fan now.
I remember one time in the very early days of Google, before they introduced host crowding, when a site I built (it was pretty "fantastic" for those days, I guess) took all ten positions for my target query term. I was embarrassed - I hated it, and that was the first time I ever "de-optimized" a site. I'm not interested in grabbing whatever I can get - and I never was.
I think this comment from John Mueller about needing time and other signals to assess a site, is worth sitting with. I think anyone who does that it should see their antiquated approach to SEO undermined, and in a big way.