treeline - 5:21 pm on Jun 22, 2013 (gmt 0)
A few steps led up to this:
#1 World's leading search engine says Links Are Important.
# 0.1 Nobody much worries about getting links.
# 0.2 It's a web, so webmasters join by linking to whatever they like, or is relevant.
# 0.3 Sites become defined by their written content and what they link to.
# 0.4 SEO is mostly focused on on-page factors. Mostly re-re-re-re-repeating the same keyword. Webmasters face tough math questions like "that scummy page above me has 37 instances of the keyword. How many times do I have to repeat it for it to be more than 37?" Also sometimes posed as "what's a bigger number than 37?"
# 0.5 Grad students discover links are an astonishingly accurate guide to relevance and quality. In a world where they are freely given, but not sought.
# 0.6 Naively publish papers spilling the beans, not realizing the insight is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
# 0.7 Yes, it was inevitable by now.
# 0.8 Power of the idea creates the world's #1 SE.