Over the last year I worked on a case study on SEO and how it works with Wonkie cartoons - I am currently writing a short White paper that I'll publish online and also be teaching as part of an information systems course later this year.
It is somewhat unfortunate in some ways that Google is so protective over their search ranking algorithms. Many SEO companies are finding it hard to predict their own rankings despite having years of experience in the field. With the introduction of the latest Google algorithm, results have become even more unpredictable than before. Basically Google is incorporating all sorts of funny stuff and changed, quite fundamentally the structure of how it evaluates potential search results with the latest release.
As a result it seems many affiliate programme owners are finding their websites either blacklisted or penalised severely and suddenly in terms of the new ranking. There will no doubt be a backlash against Google as the dominant market player imposing unilateral rules and apparently subject to no criticism. If webmasters choose to complain, they do so at their own peril - if they get banned for whatever reason (and I mean whatever reason!), getting any sort of justification from Google is futile.
In any case, all the best for the New Year and I hope things go splendidly for you in 2010! More on SEO coming soon - as soon as we figure out how best to work within the rules of the new Google game.