All good if Google and other search engines actually reward. If you get rid of something bad you better reward the good behaviour. In my experience setting up sites the latter is rare. I know of two sure ways of being ranked well:
1)A niche/specific subject or topic. You will see a high rank if someone explicitly queries the specific key words ... obviously if I search for "cody donationcoder" I should get donationcoder.com on page one. Doesn't need a complicated algorithm.
2)The site is popular .... again, if first result is cnn.com/_topic containing your query string_ what's the point of algorithms?