While reading an article on the ways to promote original content, I went back to my early days as a webmaster when search engines were one of the ways to create traffic, and not the reason to create websites. As simple as it is, we should focus our efforts on traffic creation and not just ranking.
We got so obsessed with ranking metrics that we have forgotten the most important point: People should reach our content!
Search Engines are just one way of having them find our content. But there are also other ways of content promotion.
As a side benefit, Google and other search engines include this metric in ranking, but this should not be the focus of content promotion, just a side effect.