willybfriendly - 5:29 pm on May 6, 2010 (gmt 0)
Are we talking SEO, or link building? They are not always the same thing.
I have pretty much viewed links as a source of traffic for the past decade. That G made them valuable for rankings was only an added benefit.
If a link does not produce any stand alone traffic, what is it really worth? On the other hand, if a link provides even a trickle of traffic (say 10 visitors a month), that traffic may in fact be more valuable that the click and leave traffic coming from the SE's. A thousand links providing 10 visits a month is 10k visits. Those drips can, in time, fill the bucket to overflowing.
I commonly tell people that if they want to rank in the top 10 they need a site worthy of top 10 ranking. For too long "SEO's" have substituted dodgy link building programs in the place of building a quality site.