I am reminded of a movie... "Build it, they will come..." and that's how biz is these days. I create content. The SEs index it. If I've done my job right folks will find it. Back links come if my content is of interest to others. Occasionally I'll find sites where I'm interested and link to them. On some special content sites I might even let them know I exist with equally special content, but I don't worry if they link or not.
Rant above is commonsense, agreed to specifics, and brings forward the difficult problem. There can only be so many above the fold... (and that fold is getting shorter as the SEs (bing and google both) keep adding "enhancements" to their results.
Just a case of independent farmers frantically dealing with agri-biz conglomerates for market share. </no rant, reality>