“Google changed the search engine market in the ’90s by evaluating a website’s backlinks instead of just the content, like others did. Updates like Panda and Penguin show a shift in importance towards content. Will backlinks lose their importance?”
To answer the question, Matt said that, over time, backlinks will become a little less important, and that backlinks still have several more years of life left in them.
According to Matt, Google is focusing on finding ways to determine if a web page is meeting an expert user’s expectations. In order to do this, Google looks at the links to the page, the site reputation, as well as the quality of the content found on that page.
Unless the story was written by an expert in a specific field (which would make it easy for Google), they will use natural languages to help determine if the author is an expert on the subject query on a page by page basis.
Search Engine Marketing Source