rish3 - 9:08 pm on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)
10 years ago their were a lot more sites that did rank higher than they deserved through pure reverse engineered seo - but overall the results produced much better and interesting fruit than they do now. There was far more diversity, and much more purely hobby, and informational gems to be found.
Totally agree with this. From my perspective, Google missed something big in their approach.
There were, and are, a lot of sites manipulating the results. However, many of those sites are great sites, with high quality content.
These great sites got swept out with the actual low-quality sites, and in many niches, there wasn't anything high-quality to backfill them with.
A better approach would have been a sort of hybrid Penguin-Panda, where the focus was more on sites that had BOTH low quality content AND low-quality backlinks. The serps would be much better at the moment if they'd been following that track, and didn't move outside that space until they were good at it.