I am not qualified to enter this disucssion as a real newbie, but I have been reading up on basic stuff about getting ranked in Google & thought you may get a laugh out of my thoughts:
Paid links have only arisen as a problem as a result of Google rating sites by inbound links ....
However you need to have inbound links for your site to rank ....
please humour me & read on .....
To carry on Matt Cutts original example from the link - what if an experienced, renowned cancer expert/surgeon who specialised in reducing/eliminating cancerous tumours decided to start his own website in the interest of sharing his knowledge with the general public. Over time he spends a few hours of his valuable free time building a site that includes great content like info on survival rates, treatment procedures, what to expect re side effects, what insurance in the US would cover such treatment, where you could get treated if you didn't have insurance or globally etc etc .......... but this intelligent doctor doesn't realise has to add other stuff before anyone will see his genuine & useful content.
Does his site ever get ranked or does it languish because he hasn't added keywords, meta tags, or the Holy Grail of quality inbound PRECIOUS links ???
OK back to reality folks, I was joking, I doubt any Dr would build such a personal site as they would be way to concerned about potential legal liabilities & probably not have the time anyway. But I find the Google policy a bit at odds with itself - ie they want genuine & knowledgeable people/companies to create good content but seem to require such folks to have SEO abilities to get ranked. They then are all on the offensive when 'charlatans' start taking advantage of their rule.
Plenty of regular people build sites because they ARE actually interested in their chosen subject. Many do not actually want to earn money from their site, (gasp, shock, horror) all they really only want it to just want it to show up !!!!! Plenty of small businesses want the same.
It's not rocket science when you tell the genuine folk to get a few good links that the unscrupulous will start masquarading as genuine while still doing the bare minimum and coming up with numerous schemes to achieve the same result.
Are the Google people just ignorant of the ways of the world, have they never had a job in the 'real world' where you have to deal with these unscrupulous/stupid/greedy people or do they really think they can create Utopia online ???!!! :rofl:
Or are they just like every other global corporate company, competing aggressively and in their case winning in the domination their chosen field ??? !!!
BTW I'm not even ranting, I'm too new to this whole thing - call it out of the mouths of babes or I'm just too new/green/stupid to understand the finer points of this game - at worst I hope I provide you with a good laugh at my stupidty/ignorance/accuracy/whatever