anand84 - 11:30 am on Nov 30, 2012 (gmt 0)
The holy grail remains truly editorial, natural inbound links given freely from webmasters of other traditional (non-blog) sites which tend to NOT fade over time unless the other site's overall authority fades.
Can you give an example of such a link? As I see it, links (regardless of them being natural or unnatural) are either on the main content (whose authority fades over time) or template-wide (where there are links from across the site).
If I genuinely like your site, I may either refer you from my article or from my sidebar - Either ways, it is natural, and yet in the former case, the punch fades over time while in the latter you could get penalized.
I think the way Google sees this is that most natural links are from the main content area. And every time I get a link to my site, the authority of my site increases. While Pagerank (if that even exists today) could fade with time when this link gets buried, the authority stays and now Google heavily bases its results on site authority rather than link juice.