I made a couple of blog posts last year predicting that Google may start using Traffic Data (data they aquire via people clicking on results in the Google results pages) as a ranking factor.
My theory was that Google would lower the importance of how many back-links a page has and start using reliable, trusted, traffic as a measure of a pages value.
Basically, I though Google could Analyse the traffic and clickthroughs their results pages receive and use this data to determine which pages were delivering the higher quality content.
It may all sound a bit advanced (even for Google), but could there be an inkling of truth in my theory, and could the recent changes in the the relevance of backlinks be a small indication in a shift towards using traffic data as a ranking factor?
Let me know what you think.