There will be many that will disagree with me on this statement but the facts support my claim that content without links as a foundation is completely worthless.
I have seen many sites with an abundance of quality content and a lack of links that have no traffic. I currently have many customers that had beautiful websites prior to using my services and had absolutely no traffic. To illustrate this lets build 2 imaginary websites here.
The first website is built with loads of quality content, just page after page of well written and informative content and the website is launched live on the net. Three months go by and no traffic is showing up to visit this king without a throne. Now lets try to get some people to come and worship this king. Lets send out the messengers to let the world know that the king lives. We send the messengers and do not give them information on where the king is located (Links). Again, no one shows up. Now, Lets take this a step further, you place the message out in public that the king lives but just a general direction to him; just a posted url that is not an active link on a high traffic site. How many people do you think will copy and paste the url in their browser if it is not an active link from a small ad? Not many. Now lets look at the natural search results. This is like having the king on the top of a mountain. But this king is content and he is in the valley, he has nothing to lift him to the top of the mountain (links bring you to the top of the serps). So this lonely King dies of old age a lonely old man because he had no throne or foundation.
Now lets do site number two. This king has built his throne of links. He has links to his location all over the land and they lift him to the top of the mountain and the whole world can see him and have a clear direction to him. He is easy to find and worship because he is easy to come before. He may not have as much content as the other king but he has the multitudes to visit him and he is happy.
This may sound like a fictional story and a lot of wishful thinking, but you can have a website full of content and have no visitors. There are people out in the SEO world that would like you to believe that links are no longer a factor. Content writers that push this content is king theory because they are content writers and their lives depends on it. Content has its place and is very important to a website. Once you get a visitor on the site content is important. It will keep them on the site.
Let me make this one thing very clear! You will never get any decent amount of traffic from content alone. I have listened to many people say that if you have quality content that people will flock to your website. This is totally false. How will they find you without links? Ohhhh, I see, you say the search engines. Well if you are found in the search engines, then they have a link to your website on the search engine.
You say articles? There is an active link in the resources box. No matter how you look at it, there is limited to no traffic without links.
There are several advantages to content. You can impress a visitor once they get to your site, you can convince them to use your service or buy your product. And if you have enough juice coming in from links you can get default content search results and lots of them.
Now lets look at one of the most trafficked ecommerce sites on the net, shopzilla.com. If you take a look at their website they lack in content in an awful way; nothing but links, images, and a few small descriptions. Not what I would call Royal Content. Yet they rank in the top of the search engines for tens and hundreds of thousands of keywords worldwide. I wonder why they rank so highly if content is king and links are second rate? Just for fun lets do a back link check. Here are the results. Yahoo is showing 617,505 back links, Google showing right at 254,000 links and MSN is featuring 114,850 to shopzillas credit.
When you investigate the actual facts you will see that King Content is 100% worthless without a good foundation of links to support him!
The engineers at the search engines who write the algorithms are not lacking in intelligence and have put a balanced program together to rank sites. We do not live in a perfect world. But they have done a very good job of leveling the playing field when it comes to natural search results.
If you use the whole program you will benefit from natural search results. No one component will take you to the top of any business, online or brick and mortar. You have to learn to use the complete system to thrive in any business. All of the parts work together; Links, Content, customer relations, viral marketing, Pr campaigns, and many other methods working in tandem like a well tuned engine.