Backlinks are the votes for your website.
Over the past 15 years Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo & Bing evolved with a lot of improvements to their Ranking Algorithms. Backlinks are a result of such evolution. There’s a fact,
Popularity is gained by Popularity.
Don’t get amazed at the fact, because it’s so true to believe. It simply means that you can receive higher Exposure and Popularity when you DO have some popularity.