I like the way Google and some others are starting to index the Web giving priority to those sites that use the Web for the purposes it was originally designed. The greatest and unqiue contribution of the Web to witten communication is hyperlinking. - put simply that you can click on links to get more info on the word or phrase - it "interconnects". When commerce put its money into the Web it tried to make the Web like they thought it should be.. looking much like the printed and display ads they were used to. That did not take into account the real functionality of the Web, and the Web became disconnected and a collection of sites, rather than inter-related.
Money going into the Web is great, but it was driven by people with little experience in the way the Internet and the Web works.. hence to some extent the crash.. you cant force linking easily, it needs to evolve.
Googles greatest contribution was moving SE indexing from almost totally focusing on text analysis to linking patterns, and has extended it to take into account a multitude of factors such as text analysis, ext/int links, page and site structure, and hopefully soon updating patterns and recency. AV helped too early in using "themes"
Early on the dot com rise was based largely on carving out your own empire,, dominating keywords, exposure and such, and that domain names could buy you exclusivity. Valuations were way out of proportion because people thought in traditional publiching terms. Tt worked for a while but not for long.
SE's to best reflect the best content of the Web must reward:
Related on topic links from credible niche sites
Related on topic links to credible niche sites
Frequently updated content
That rewards sites using the Web to its best advantage. Link farms, web rings, and long link pages which only exist for increasing exposure, hidden text to other sites, are attempts to circumvent this process. it is up to the Se's to filter this out, and they are inevitably getiing there..
It is bad news for those who only publish advertorial, affiliate based sites, and advert pages.
To me a site with no external links is an island and a boring end of the road, it usually indicates a billboard, and a pre-Web publishing orientation.
What is happening now is people and Se's are far more savvy on why the Web is different from traditional media and how it can be best explited both for communication and commerce.