I'm not a fan of 'build it and they will come'. I believe you need to actively seek links.
I also believe that Google's basic algo remains unchanged and will continue to remain based on quantity of high quality inbound links.
In years past I'd put up great content and then go actively seeking links. And I'd get them. Not all the time, but I'd get reasonable response. Hard work paid off.
That's not been my experience in the last few months. My link building involves over the top unique content (research grade), then asking folks to give me a link. I'm getting close enough to no response that it's effectively 0. Something needs to change.
Here's the revelation I had. I called someone (rather than emailed them) because I had something else I wanted to discuss. They gave me a link as the result of our conversation. But the site owner was clear - if I'd have sent an email he would have deleted it along with the *30 others he gets every day*. Never mind how good my email or my content was.
So, I still believe ranking is about links. But to get those links, it's now all about relationship building.
How to build those relationships? That's a bit trickier. I've mentioned before that I've got an adnetwork I run in my niche - that lets me send money :) to independent high quality sites in my niche. (the foundation of ALL good relationships involves transfer of cash :) ). I've decided to build out that ad network into similiar fields. This will let me call high quality websites to sign them up for my ad network. When I do so, I fully disclose what I do for a living - because it's incidental to my making them money. But now I've got a relationship. I can call and get guest postings, advertising, banners, etc - all the links I want....and where they're ad related I can get substantially discounted rates :).
That's my next move, I'll be building this out over the summer then leveraging those relationships for links over the fall and into 2011.
Thoughts? What are you doing in terms of relationship building to get links?
P.S. you're not allowed to use the word 'facebook' in any responses.