ColourOfSpring - 9:05 am on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)
Interesting. With Google, you always have to think "why are they saying that?" rather than take it at face value.
Google - at face value - seem to think links serve no purpose other than to try and game search engines. Heaven forbid that a link serves the purpose of someone traversing from one website to another! The very thought of it. No, links are there for Google spiders to inspect and categorise as "organic" or "inorganic". Google hate the idea of referral traffic. A link that drives traffic outside of Google? That's competition to Google. And yet, the best thing any webmaster can do to cement the popularity of their site is to win great referral traffic from targeted sites. Google's "webmaster advice" always suits Google, not the webmaster.
Why don't Google just say "create great content that will win natural links, and also build nofollow links for referral traffic to market it" - they don't say that because Google love the idea that people think they're the only game in town, and Google love the idea of all web traffic routed through their search engine. When Google talk to webmasters, the assumption is ALWAYS that Google are the only game in town. We find everything through Google. Your favourite site that was "disappeared" by Google? It probably got too much direct and referral traffic. Use Google to find a similar site. The site that DRIVES a lot of referral traffic? That got "disappeared" by Google too. Don't drive too much traffic or you'll be seen as a nuisance by Google.
That's why they say "don't build links, build quality content". They will pretend it's "build great content and people will link to it", but we know it rarely works that way. You build great content, then you market it. Great products and services rarely sell themselves alone - marketing does. Heck, marketing sells average to lousy products. That's just the way it works. For Google to dictate to us and tell us essentially not to market (outside of their Adwords) is....very bad advice to follow.