I understand exactly what you mean. It's kind of funny how links that send you more traffic, automatically send you more link authority, too (because pagerank and the traffic that's passed on is divided by the number of links on the page, it depends on the authority of the site, etc.).
However, many SEOs I know are still going for links with the main priority of boosting rankings. And even though the two are very related (rankings and link traffic), I'm making a point to forget about any links that, I think would help me boost my SE rankings, but that won't send me any referral traffic..and prioritize those that send referral traffic - which as you mentioned automatically help you with rankings anyway (of course, I take care of anchor text, etc., too you get the idea). I think there still are many linking opportunities out there that do nothing for s ending you relevant referral traffic, but can boost your rankings.
Also, I think many people are obsessing over getting traffic..sort ofi nv esting 80% of their resources in acquiring traffic (okay this might be different on an e-commerce forum like this!), and then try to monetize through Ads. Google's Ads.
Whereas if you have a site that can squeeze a lot of money out of each actual visitor, youre less dependent on free-traffic..because it makes PPC profitable...increasing conversions and LTV, is basically optimizing for PPC, too, in a way (because a lot of keywords that aren't profitable for an average/bad site monetization-wise...are profitable for one that is great at monetizing).