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I would consider the sites that a google search returns for the key words would be the sites G considers authority on the keywords, and would be the ones that jsnow is looking for.
In my opinion, Google could not care less what a DMOZ search considers an authority site. The Google Directory uses the DMOZ Directory for its data (altho not updated Often), but as far as I know, G does not use anything from the results returned from a DMOZ Search.
[edited by: thumpcyc at 9:21 pm (utc) on July 13, 2004]
3.) Joe Blow Plastics Factory: Manufacturer of plastics used by HOTELS and airlines. Located in DESTINATION and.......
And this is reviewed by humans. (I'll resist the temptation for a joke here.)
To address the question, you could link to high-ranking sites in Google but you run the very real risk that SOME of those may have stuffed a skeleton or two in their closet in order to get there - often a linking issue. If they go POOF! and you're linking to them, and others like that, you just might go down the same slippery slope...
Personally, I would look for sites that are well established in the "real world". For example, if you have a sports related site, it may be a good idea to link to a espn.com page. I operate a shipping consulting site, so I chose to link to FEDEX and UPS.
If there are some "real world" authority sites like these in your specific industry, I would advise linking to them, because you can more or less sure that you will not suffer any penalties by linking to them. The really large multinational corporate sites do not need to use questionable seo tactics and they are pretty much entrenched in the top spots of Google's search engine results. If there aren't any of these mega sites in your industry, you you'll have to really do your homework!
I guess I need to start experimenting with this.
Trouble is, Google will probably reverse the algo in 3 months time and we will all find ourselves removing those outbounds. :(