Google software engineer Matt Cutts answered a number of questions submitted to the company on February 26, 2009. Among those which he answered was the following:
Which is more important: content or links? 
While most people would automatically answer that the content of a web page is far more important than the links, Matt approached the issue from a slightly different perspective. He dwelt upon the difference between “authority” and “topicality” when it comes to evaluating content.
For example, calling up data from a highly respected site lends authority to the content, in that the information is thus the beneficiary of the reputation of the content provider standing behind it.
If the relevance of the information provided, or its “topicality”, is low, however, even the added aura of “authority” from a recognized content provider is of little use in making the site a successful one. 
What is needed is a well-balanced marriage of information that is truly relevant to the search phrases entered as well as originating from someone who is considered to have standing sufficient to offer an informed and respected opinion.
A site that provides high amounts of both authority and topicality encourages traffic in its own right, and likewise increases the chances that the links provided by such a useful site will be more likely to be used. The moral of the story is that people are not likely to follow links from sites that prove to be of little help to them in the first place.