Prepare to be Monetized, Punk: Google Plays Sherriff with Commercially-Oriented Search Listings:
"The shortest path to the truth seems to be the following rule: 'where there is a critical mass of advertisers, Google has chosen to re-rank the index.'
Google is doing what search engines have been doing for years: studying common SEO techniques and trying to ensure that clever marketers don't get the upper hand in the "free" index. What's different is how much is at stake if Google can indeed dislodge the best-laid plans of free-riders at this crucial stage.
We've seen trends towards giving more top-ten listings to sites that involve discussion, comparison, content, resources, etc.. It's just been accelerated now, and made more aggressive.
Another revenue angle to consider: Google now actually stands to make money from quality content sites which get ranked well. That's because many of these sites now show AdSense ads, and Google gets a little revenue share from them, too.
Advertisers who have always struck the right balance between paid and unpaid listings, between interesting content and company information, and commercial pages, won't have been caught flat-footed by this latest diabolical Google reshuffle.
But plenty of cocky search-marketing cowboys -- those who felt a growing sense of entitlement to rankings they "earned" for their sites on the strength of little more than a few cheap parlor tricks -- have been knocked to the dirt hard in this latest dustup. Most will pick themselves up, knock back a couple of shots of the hard stuff, and prepare themselves to fight again. But some won't."