I decided the algo updates (aka "Panda" and "Penguin") have nothing to do with improving the quality of the results.
I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hear me rant for an hour, so I will sum it up this way instead:
Google is a business.
The business of Google makes money primarily through ads (PPC).
SEO does not make Google money.
Big sites with big money paid SEO companies to rank them organically with SEO.
Google sees SEO as competition for PPC.
Google knows websites with lots of links have lots of money to spend on marketing.
Google came up with a plan to get that money.
Google devalued sites with lots of links.
The sites that lost organic rankings lost traffic.
These sites need traffic.
Sites use what once was their organic SEO budget on PPC with Google instead.
Google pockets all the cash.
Google continues to feed the public with confusing propaganda regarding SEO.
Google improves free tools to aid in PPC management.
Google inundates website owners with free ad coupons.
Google has no problem serving your website up in the paid listings even if you were penalized organically.
More sites decide to use PPC instead of SEO for website traffic.
Google pockets more cash.
Quality websites are nowhere to be found in the organic rankings.
Crappy websites that have no budgets for SEO or PPC remain untouched.
Google claims they have penalized sites for breaking their terms.
Jenny moves to Bing. (half kidding)