Goodbye to SEM / SEO as far as Google is Concerned
With the advent of Google's universal search, and the reshuffling of their indexing algorithm, it is not clear how if at all page rank affects results. For example, how can news have any appreciable page rank? Especially if it is current. How does Google determine when news should appear above the organic results. In fact, how do organic results play in at all anymore? The question is asked in monsters and critics validly. It isn't clear how things work now.
I have said for a long time that SEO / SEM breaks the web. It abnormally affects results, and had made Google pretty much useless. I am glad to see that Google is finally focusing on its search again. In using the universal search, however I haven't found it to be that much more relevant. There is less spam up at the top of the results, which is good, but I still don't see what I want much of the time. I am sure that someone will figure out how images are ranked for example, and find some way to game the system yet still. This is just the latest salvo in the search arms race.
As far as how to rank well on Google, well its simple, don't do any bad stuff, follow their guidelines, and if you want to come up at the top pay for adwords. That is what Google wants, now people have to do it again. I don't find Google's organic search results to be terribly useful, again, I believe due to a conflict of interest at Google. They want you to click on the paid results, they also want for you to have more page views. Its all about what users will tolerate, and Google is finding that users will tolerate a lot of searching before they leave. They have all of the metrics, they know exactly how far they can push it, and they will.