Rules for Webmasters

Google’s rules for Webmasters has a little quote that has been on my mind. When explaining to Webmasters what is reasonable and ethical when optimizing your site for its index, the rules encourage you to ask yourself: “would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” Their point is that too many sites/Webmasters are letting the search engines drive their design and construction decisions.
Unfortunately, Google’s success makes us all fail their litmus test. It’s not a fair question. They’re building a culture-altering business based upon Web searchers -and- Web advertisers. The impact has been so significant that an aggressive marketer is almost forced to alter their online efforts because Google exists.
I’m all for fair play, but Google’s search formula seems to really reward the folks who play the game well. Try a few searches on some general keywords and notice that a fair percentage of the high-ranking sites are ones who excessively repeat words to a point where the text on pages doesn’t even make sense to a human being. That’s just one of many ‘violations’ that many employ. Yet, they’re rewarded.
What’s needed? More policing? Harsher penalties? From my perspective, the ‘rules’ seem to be in a bit of conflict with the rewards.