The number #1 objective for performing any SEO for your website is ranking higher so that you receive more visitors. Google is the number #1 most used search engine. One of the top priorities for Google is to deliver the most relevant results that are authentic and answer the users search query. They have initiated algorithmic changes recently that aim to delivery these results. Matt Cutts, head of Google's Web Spam team continues to drive this SEO message to all web masters.
One of the key SEO algorithmic factors is still links. A few years back best SEO practices used to be buying links, trading links, guest posting on blogs and other media sites etc. These SEO techniques were quickly gamed by those in the SEO world and many links, especially from link farms and directories were not authentic. As a result of Google's Panda update, links have become scrutinized for authenticity and relevancy. Many sites were hurt from this because they tried to game the system and had hundreds and some, even thousands of bad links according to the new Panda update.
For SEO and content marketing to be effective, links must be authentically garnered. If you produce great content, search results will come. Matt Cutts stated this recently, "...the objective is not to make your links appear natural, the objective is that your links are Natural."
All the Best,