As the time changes, trends and techniques also changes - for betterment. SEO is all about following strategic approach and guidelines to build traffic to fetch top position on Google search engines. Indeed, following the prescribed guidelines by Google makes it easier in optimizing your link and helps in generating traffic - which is a natural way of building traffic for your website.
Recently, in SEO camp, there has been fawning that link building is dead? And the answer is "No", but there has been a change in link building strategy due to frequent updates and algorithm release this year.