Link building schemes, there are thousands of them out there. I think it all started when Google came out with their early algos based around link popularity. That is what Google was founded on, it was THE defining moment in search history. When Sergey Brin and Larry Page did their paper at Stanford on link popularity it ended up spawning the next big thing, the next Standard Oil, the next Pac Bell, the next Microsoft. OK, thats enough reminiscing. But its important to remember that Google was founded on the philosophy that the more sites that are linking to a given site the more authoritative and resourceful it probably is, and therefore the most relevant to a user.
I have news for everyone out there, not much has changed. As much propaganda as Google spreads about “paid links” and other frowned upon link building tactics, they are still the foundation of their algos. And that is not about to change now or anytime soon, if not ever. They want you to believe that it is not as important as you think it is and are willing to go so far as to try to scare you away from doing it. But make NO mistake about it, link building is still one of the MOST important factors in ranking.
Now hold on all of your webmasters and web standards proponents out there, don’t get your panties in a ruffle. I am not discounting the fact that a well designed page with valid CSS and XHTML along with a clean architecture will help you rank. It is very important to have a well designed, clean, site. It is almost as important as linking. I say almost because a well designed site with no links will not out rank, on its own, a poorly designed site with links. I think that Aaron Wall was doing a private test by setting up a super clean and strictly valid XHTML and CSS site with keyword rich content and optimized code but no linking, to see if it will rank. We, as professional search marketers know what the result will be but Aaron needed proof for all of the web design guys out there so that they will shut up already and realize that you need professional SEO to rank for competitive terms.
So the jist of the story is that linking will not be going away as one of the most important ranking factors because of how Google has based their technology. But you do also still need good optimization on site to help make the linking more effective. Of course it has been proven thousands of times over that if you only do linking you could still rank with a crappy site. Therefore link building is and I believe always will be paramount to your ranking success!