Like it or not, a website fails without incoming links
For a short while, I was taken in by a lot of the chatter on the net about content. People say that "content is king" and that if you create great content, people will come. Although part of this statement is correct, many sites now days are based on communities.
Virtual communities are popular because there are many people in them. If you are trying to create one, it does not matter how great your site is, it all depends on the number of people who come to your site each day.
When building a community, your community needs to be able to find you. Finding an site in Google is quite anonymous. Nobody has recommended the site to you and you do not expect much from it.
If your favorite website or blog points you to a website, you expect it to be good. Although it is still just a link to your site, a link in the form of a recommendation is much better than a link on a webpage.
There is so much emphasis placed on search engines now-days that people tend to forget that links also bring users. The more links you have coming to your site, the more visitors that will come.
When search engines try to rank websites, the use the number of incoming links as an indication of how good the site is. The more links, the better the site.
So your site does need links, and without them, your competition will always be greater.