nick4u1 - 1:36 pm on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)
I have always seen SEO at this point to be a bit like a race to the bottom. We can mostly agree that brands have done well, and cutting edge spammers continue to rank. Everything else in between (that's us) seems to have suffered, not all, but a sizable chunk of the SME community.
So I wonder, whilst Google has been over-zealous in dialing down that signal, this signal, updating how it views another signal it has wiped out a lot of the middle ground who to some extent would have been relying on those signals to rank. And of course once you remove that middle ground, what is left? Brands, spam, news websites etc.
I will admit that even though the sites I work on are extremely high quality, I once used a bookmark or 2. I once published an article on a article site, or listed a link on a directory because at the time it worked. Well, now that it doesn't and hasn't for a while, we have worked furiously to figure what WILL work and what is achievable for those who don't have deep pockets.
On a side note, I had a domain with several keywords in, and it ranked very well for 3+ years, then it collapsed with the EMD update. I switched the domain out for a branded one and the main keyword returned - well, to top of page 2 at least but that was within a week.