This is a comment regarding the thread on Matt Cutts Blog.
There is a hidden beautiful message hidden between the lines of this thread. With every complaint of the Google algo, means that each of us think we can determine quality better than Google can. That is a beautiful statement in 2007 on the continued ability of the individual to ascertain quality beyond the greatest machine mind that has ever been created. This is set in the context that my wife is currently doing SEO analysis as I write this trying to figure out why a site that sells Prada shoes for $129 new, a fraction of their real cost, is ranking so high in Google and if she should trust the site or not, PR3.
I still think Google should have total transparency. I think we all should. When I first started studying SEO a few years ago, my of my first questions on a major webmaster site was, â€œWhy wonâ€™t Google tell us exactly what they want?â€ In fact I was a little indignant on the subject J
I get the fact that the algo of how Google figures what ranks where, may be best kept a secret to prevent theft of their hard fought for content. On the other hand a precise listing of the targets Google wants us to hit and how, should result in Google getting exactly what they want. Although Google wants to â€œorganize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and usefulâ€
I think in truth what Google is in reality trying to do is find the most helpful page for a given user looking for a specific thing.
This of course has nothing to do with links, page rank or SEO and in fact the most valuable content may not even have the text I am searching for in it.
I might be looking for a page on printer repair, and find an article about repairing a DC motor that solves my problem and never mentions printers.
In fact I have a piece of content on my site that has literally changed the lives of thousands of people, where grown men have broken down into tears after reading it, and another page on my buying experience when I got my new laptop. The laptop purchase page got picked up by the V.P. of the ex big blue computer company and now has many, many links to it. The life changing page has a few links after being on there for many years. (even after my continued begging of people to link to it J)
This is why I am such a supporter of human edited directories. I assume Google still gives the big human edited directory, and I am glad they do. Even with itâ€™s frailties it still will beat a computer any day. I also love the idea of the browsers feeding Google info on the stickiness of sites, which of course is easy to fake also.
After years of study the Nielsen ratings eventually became fairly accurate for measuring T.V. viewers watching habits. It may not have shown how helpful the sites were, but at least it measures how interested the viewers were.
I know Google has in its roots the concept of links measuring the value and trust of a page, which of course was genius. Long term however if links will be the most valuable, or one of the most valuable assets a webmaster can have, the collecting of these will simply become more clandestine and covert. The days of â€œpsst, hey buddy do you want to buy a link?â€ Will be over, and a new era (perhaps already here) of â€œHey, if I had a friend, and he maybe was interested in buying links, would you know anyone who might, letâ€™s just say understand the value.. of giving a link to a guy, who might, you know.., you know.. â€œ