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I have found enormously high correlations - as high as 99% in some industries - between links and brand-name searches in Google. I've also found enormously high correlations for non-commercial phrase rankings and social shares. I have used Google finance for public companies in the same industries and found correlations between sales and links to a site. I suspect you can compare almost any popularity metric and find huge correlations with other popularity metrics.

Equating correlation with cause is one of the main problems I see in the modern SEO industry. Many SEOs are so obsessed with links, for example, that they have lost sight of the importance of building content, awareness, and products that real people will care about. I can't wait to see SEOs wasting their time spamming links on G+ and buying +1s after skimming this post.

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