As part of some of the 40 Google changes announced last night, Google said they made a change to how they evaluate links.
Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.
As you can read, Google decided to turn off one of the many analysis methods they use for their link evaluation. It was a method or factor they used for "several years" and decided to turn it off in the past 30 days.
A WebmasterWorld thread is asking, which method do you think they turned off? I posted a poll asking you to decide. Check all that apply or add your own two cents. I'll share the results in a new post in the near future.
WebmasterWorld link building moderator gave his ideas:
The title tag is a signal of what a web page is generally about. The title tag has been used to help identify the meaning of a linked page from the general theme of the page linking to it. The title tag is a signal of the general theme of a web page. The topic of a link can vary from a side topic to a more granular or a completely off topic meaning.
This establishes the context of a link, thus helping to define what the linked web page is about. This also helps identify if a link is paid for or is associated with a donation.
Position of a link
Where a link is located is an important signal. A link in the footer is presumed to be less important than a link within the body of a web page. Navigational links are presumed to be depreciated according to a set amount, perhaps more than outbound links but just a fraction of a normal non-depreciated link.
These include Heading Tags [w3.org], bold, italics, capitalization and font size [webmasterworld.com]. Font size is an interesting candidate for deprecation.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.