I read it for the first time today. Someone suggesting that sometime in the near future ... Google would no longer rely on incoming links to a site to determine search engine ranking.
Knowing how long Google's used back links to determine the social value of a website, and therefore its ranking, it's interesting to think about this going away. However, it won't. Not entirely. But I agree with what I think was the spirit of the content.
As always, Google (and other search engines) wants to deliver the highest quality results possible to its users. This means something relevant to their search while providing the best in terms of information and/or products and services. So their eternal goal has to be rooting out spammers. And spammers, to be sure, have abused the heck out of back linking, building thousands of unnatural links to websites just to show up at the top of Google.
So recently, Google de-indexed a massive blog network, which people used to build links to their sites. Not that this was all spamming, because that depends not on the network, but how you USE the network. Still, Google slapped the entire network at once by just removing all its blogs and therefore the links that people had spent possibly months or years building. Especially painful if they weren't building elsewhere. Especially appropriate if they used the network just for links (what's in it for me?) rather than for giving valuable content (what can I offer you?)
As I pointed out in a recent blog entry, if you want to succeed long-term in the search engines, you have to give them what they're after, which is quality. If you're going to build links to your site, they'd better have variety to them (types and locations) and be of QUALITY -- not just spam comments that link back to your site. Press releases and articles that you post elsewhere will of course link to your site, but they should be done with purpose, and should be well written, once again offering real information to consumers.
With quality content on your site, you're also better poised to create natural incoming links to your site -- just what Google's looking for. People honestly talking about your website because there's something worth talking about.
If you take a look at my personal website, you'll see that I offer a lot of my personal short fiction and even my own music for free on the site. Me offering something of myself to the world, and hoping that others will want to mention it to their friends if they've enjoyed it. If people want to buy my novel (or get it for free as an Amazon Prime member) because they've learned about it on my site, then that natural process of generating word of mouth works just as Google and others envision it.
Over the last decade, we saw a lot of manufacturing head overseas, and this included work for writers because companies weren't looking for quality writing. They were looking for links. Now I have a feeling that, just as manufacturing is starting to head back to the States, writing will too, because businesses will discover what I've said all along: that building with quality is the best kind of building of all.
I don't deny, by the way, that the grey and black hat techniques (what Google doesn't want you using for SEO) have worked for many. They are, by definition, techniques to trick the system as it is today. But by their nature, they are ripe to fail any day as Google finds them and wipes them off the books through deindexing sites or simply changing its algorithm, as we've seen happen many times. So yes ... these can work, but the long-term results come from offering something real.