You can't watch competitors that closely because you don't have access to all of their information. Since you can't see all of their backlinks you can't tell if they got any or how good they are. So you can watch their rankings but you can't watch their links.
I'm growing tired of this John. It is really getting stupid now. Of course, I have a couple of things to say. I do enjoy a lively argument and you sure are a feisty one.
First, I have been in the exact same keyphrase competitions from between 8 to 12 years now. That's friggin' near the beginning of the Internet. Where were you when I started understanding my niche markets? Point is, there is no one that knows my keyphrase arenas better than I do, and so I should. That being 101 again.
I have watched them all. Challengers moving up and down. Oh, here comes a good one right on my ass. Nice techniques. Oh there is a cluster of spamshits that just passed me by again on its way down the ladder to SERP oblivion. I wonder what they did to get detected. Oh I see, that should keep them outa' the way for a bit. Darn it, got myself banned again for that? Oh well, better start coming back from the dead, again.
Get the picture?
Secondly, there is life beyond Google? It is not the supreme god of link information, not even close to being a good priest of the god of link information.
You completely misinterpreted his post. Let me explain it for you ...
I wish you would have spared me your response. The only thing I really care about, and is yet another indicator as to the search engine's desire to not-reward web sites that are empowered by bad links, seems to have completely slipped you by. Perhaps this is your ploy to bait me into the reading of your next launched blurb of 201 trickling gobblelygook.
What is important in Cutts' quote lies inside the parentheses.
(or other link-building techniques)
He didn't say schemes and he's not writing about recips. Techniques John.
What techniques do you think that includes John?
We all expect the penalties ( or un-rewards ) to intensify for webpages that have bought and rented links, whenever the search engine figures out how to do that fairly. What other types of links do you feel may be harmful? What other types of incoming links do you think are useless and should not-rewarded for possessing. How about shit like what Google deems an important sampling of what is glued to my webpage that I showed you.
I don't give a hoot about any of your SEO theories and I certainly don't want to burst your little pride bubble. I neither want to prove nor disprove anything. The only thing I really want to do is leave a warning, similar to that which the Cutts quote implies.
Be careful those SEOs and Linking Strategists who wish to solicit, buy, swap, rent, steal, replicate, harvest, extort or inherit links to the web pages for the purpose of artificially inflating the web pages importance. Your power weakens daily and your days of decent SERP performances are near.
Perhaps it is you that is spewing the SEO caca today. Why don’t you tell people to craft content that is worthy to be linked. Forget about the little green bar and the trendy search engine manipulation tactics. Lead junior SEOs and lead them far from search engine manipulation techniques. Giving linking advice in these times could be misinterpreted as a a reflection of your obsoletism.