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This is very interesting! I have enjoyed reading this very insightful post. Very engaging and informative. Thanks for sharing.

I couldn't have said it better myself, David. As soon as there is a system for something, there is always a race to "game" that system. I like humans because they are emotional, irrational, and thus unpredictable. That can be a good thing given the alternatives. To quote myself on a Starbucks post at Fast Company, predictability can be a double edged sword.

Google is a necessary evil, especially to newer blogs with less traffic. Like you noted, I'd love to be getting 200 consistent hits a day. It can be an asset, but like you said, it can't be the be all and end all.

As you noted, Google is just a machine, so it can only judge a blog page empirically. Google can never judge the quality of the wrting on a blog or any other web page. The fact that there is an entire career path (SEO) based on the concept of improving the positioning of sites on Google shows the essential flaw in the system.

The irony to me is that the changes which are causing this phenomenon are probably being done in good faith. Google is fixing its algorithm trying to eliminate bad linking practices. The problem is that since it cannot differentiate between links created by questionable SEO and links created by "sweat equity" and strong content, it sometimes penalizes the wrong one.

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