It turns out that the Google bot is a clever piece of engineering. Since January of 2011 Google has been placing less and less merit on insubstantial one sentence backlinks as a method to combat search engine spam pollution.
Google’s Search Engine Algorithm isn’t as Blind as you Think
If your website has a natural SEO optimized layout such as unique content and a valid XHTML with proper meta tag usage, sure 200 or so automatically generated backlinks wouldn’t hurt.
So why do your website pages briefly reach the top of the SERPs after you commence generating thousands of backlinks for them? Well that stems from the fact that Google must take into account emerging and legitimate popularity of certain pages. Wikileaks.org is a good example of this. A fairly unknown website for much of its life. However, in the summer of 2010 Google bot started crawling more backlinks to Wikileaks.org than most other websites. How does Google bot distinguish these organic backlinks over the more common auto-generated backlinks? The answer is a form of trial period where as Google bot finds more and more it likes about your pages, the more likely the Google search engine will be to provide you a semi-permanent position at the top of the SERPs.
Article Backlinks Are Superior
Along with the changes to text backlinks, Google has also made changes to place more relevance on article based backlinks. Even more relevance is given to a particular backlink and thus a web page that it promotes should the article meet the Google criteria for uniqueness and structure. I should also say that you shouldn’t only use articles when you are generating backlinks but, rather a combination of text and article backlinks.
This looks more organic to the Google bot and it is obvious it takes something like this into consideration when the competitiveness of the keywords and their saturation are a factor. As of January of this year most who specialize in SEO have found that 100 quality and unique article based backlinks along with a couple hundred text backlinks and the obvious natural SEO of the web page, will get you ranked very high in the SERPs for almost any keyword.
It is also important that I stress Google’s most recent announcement that unique content will be weighed more heavily in terms of SEO for the foreseeable future.