Aaron Wall over at SEOBook, has put together an infographic explaining how Google has made the organic link irrelevant.
It's ironic that Google's actions have largely devalued the search rank benefits of a link from another website. Yet this "PageRank,"named after CEO Larry Page, was the heart and soul of the Google algorithm. It was his eureka insight into the structure of the web that made Google into Google -- PageRank generated stellar search results.
Spammers soon figured out that creating a lot of backlinks was an easy way to fool Google's algorithm into generating vastly improved search page positions for their sites. So it's not surprising that Google had to find ways to deal with backlink inflation, and find other indicators of trust and authority. But in moving away from PageRank Google risks throwing out the baby with the bath water.
The company says it now monitors more than 200 signals, in addition to PageRank, to determine the importance of websites. But without PageRank it's a hard job and it's showing in the complaints about search quality.
I have a suggestion for Google: Bring back the use of PageRank and let the spammers create massed fields of backlinks to their sites -- they'll easily identify themselves by their overuse of SEO. Jump on that--it's an easy filter. After all, hardly anyone links to anyone anymore, unless they're spammers.