The OG’s of link building like Eric Ward are full of reasons why acquiring inbound links without consideration of direct effect from search engines is a sustainable and worthwhile marketing tactic. The ongoing SEO services many search marketers offer is often short sighted with a narrow emphasis placed on link acquisition and not on the broader importance of ongoing web site promotion through multiple channels.
Historical thoughts on linking
Link building is indeed a tactic with direct benefits via rankings traffic from search engines and direct traffic from high profile sites. However, outright link building is only a slice in the overall online marketing mix that makes up a productive web site marketing program. In the early days of marketing web sites, building links from directory submissions and programs such as web site reviews and web awards sites sent significant amounts of traffic. Then came Google.