An article by Hal Hodson published in New Scientist has something of a seemingly hyperbolic title, "Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links."
But the very first paragraph of the Google Research paper cited by Hodson shows the headline to be fairly, well, factual. This is a research proposal to replace links with factual accuracy as a means of assessing a web page or web site's trustworthiness.
Until very recently, search engine optimization was – unsurprisingly – predicated on leveraging the world of web documents.
We've always called what people do when they plug some words into Google a “search”. And it’s been appropriate, because there’s always been a ready answer to the obvious question, “search for what?”: web pages, and other web documents.
And so we called the thing returned by Google in response a “search engine results page”, a list of linked web documents where, if the searcher was lucky, they might find the information for which they were looking.
Ten blue links.