From Search Engine Watch Defining Search Engine Optimization in 2010:
“… What I’m particularly interested in is defining SEO in 2010. This isn’t necessarily about finding something new, more about what seems to really be producing results after the Caffeine update and the May Day changes.
The trend we’re seeing is that highly relevant links from sites with quality link profiles of their own are adding the most value to an SEO campaign, rather than those with outright PageRank (we have also seen a large number of sites suffer ranking drops due to an inordinate number of sitewide inbound links, but that’s another story).
This may not be anything new in itself — highly relevant links have always been important and difficult to come by for a number of reasons. But the reduction in apparent value of PageRank, and increase in the value of a purely relevant site and content, is interesting.
What is doubly interesting (and helpful) is that Google has a tool that can specifically identify what those highly relevant sites might be. (It won’t actually get links from them, you’ll still have to be creative there).
The tool? Google Ad Planner — allowing you to see what sites match the same user profile as your client’s site, and also filter by industry sector/classification of the site, giving a neat picture of what Google feels is a relevant link profile for your client. You can then export a list of the best sites to target for links — it can even tell you which ones are using Google text ads on their site, thereby giving you a foot in the door to discuss advertising rates, content hosting, reciprocal links, or whatever you feel is the right approach for each site…”