Saul Hansell writes what will certainly be the most-linked article in this week's Times: Inside the Black Box.
The big takeaway for me is that there are [x] number of people, where x is a large number, working in a secret building at Google constantly changing the algorithms that they use to rank sites.
Being first in the Google rankings is more important than it ever was. And getting there is now more straightforward (but not easier) than ever.
It seems to me that in the SEO arms race, shortcuts have a shorter shelf-life than ever before. Building 43 is obsessed with them, and they outnumber whoever you might hire to beat the system. Organic success, on the other hand, is a clear path. If you want to be on the front page of matches for "White Plains Lawyer", then the best choice is to build a series of pages (on your site, on social sites, etc.) that give people really useful information. Not just boilerplate information you stole from a legal website, but really useful stuff about you, the local courts, the forms people need... the things you'd want to find if you were doing that search.
Once you've done everything you can... once you've built a web of information and once you've given the ability to do this to your best clients and your partners and colleagues, then by all means apply the best SEO thinking in the world to your efforts. Hire the best consultants and use the resources you've got left to be sure you're playing by the right rules.
Betting against Building 43 doesn't seem nearly as smart as betting on them.