I actually agree with some of their changes, but others not so much
1. Penalization of black hat link building / built links / anchor text over optimisation
The penalisation makes things harder for the people trying to game the system, so I actually agree with this change as it now puts pressure on webmasters to have to actually earn links (through the production of useful/engaging/interesting content) as opposed to building links themselves or getting other so called SEO's to build links for them.
2. Hiding of PageRank data
Their hiding of PageRank data is one that I am on the fence about. I can see why theyve probably done it, as before they made he change, so called SEO's and webmasters can use PR info to manipulate rankings ie. they will look for link opportunities on high PR pages, as opposed to the pages of sites that would find the content most useful and where the content will most help the readers.
However does this make it unnecessarily harder for webmasters to easily assess the overall strength of a site when deciding whether or not they should reach out for them for a link?
3. Hiding of keyword data from analytics
This one was really annoying. Hiding the data means that you can no longer see which keywords are driving traffic to your site. However you can still analyse things at page level ie. instead of looking at which keywords are driving traffic, look at which pages are driving traffic and from there you could probably ascertain which keywords are driving the traffic.
Additionally webmaster tools still provides keyword level analytics up to 90 days.
My question is
Up to now the changes have been just about bearable and in most cases have a logical standpoint and are working on making it harder for spammers ect...
However how soon will it be until Google really oversteps the mark and does something really out of line that makes it exceptionally harder for even the ones providing real value and trying to build legitable authoritive sites and ecommerce sites on the web...
Say for example...what if they decide they will penalise any blog/site for linking to an ecommerce site via a transactional anchor text - ie an anchor text of a product...to encourage the ecommerce sites more toward PPC. They havent done anything like this yet, but I could see it happening in the future.
Or they decide to blanket all the keyword level data in webmaster tools too, so people are forced to look at things from page level, which although can work, is not as granular in most cases.
Their frequency of changes causes an unsettling feeling, which causes even the people that are doing things by the book now, to think, what if they make it even harder in future...
where will they draw the line...