bwnbwn - No, don't get me wrong, I agree links are VALUABLE, in so far as SEs ranking you, we are on the same page there. My point was that no one (including us) wants to do it anymore (or at least not as freely as we used to, even though it IS the key useful FEATURE of HTML) because of the STIGMA that GOOGLE has placed on it. BTW, note, they also penalize you for COPYing content from the site you WOULD have linked if you were allowed to. After all, these days, how are we to know if G THINKS we are SELLING links (God forbid) which we don't. It all seems to come down to the fact that Google wants to earn more revenue from people going through THEM to find additional information about a subject rather than following a much better pre-reviewed and authoritative link from YOUR site. If a site gives visitors additional options which BYPASS a search/link on Google... bury them in nowhere land. Only rank vapid sites which will bounce visitors BACK to Google for more ads. Therefore: HIGHER bounce rate should result in higher ranking by Google standards.
--Matt Cutts simply publisises crap that discourages people from link building. --
or linking out. Agreed.
My prediction is that linking (a noble, useful and glorious concept) will go away altogether purely because of Google and Google will eventually have no data from backlinks to use in their algo.
"create sites for visitors, NOT search engines"... and never be found by either.