Back in 2012 there was a saying that the SEO community loved to write about “Content Is King”, and even back then this statement is just a fraction of what it takes to gain visibility in search. If content is king, links are queen and the king sleeps on the couch, sorry king.. you’re wearing the panties in this one. But seriously, jokes aside from 2012 to present time there have been hundreds of algorithmic updates in search, content is only as good as the distance it goes after you hit publish. These same foundations existed pre “Content is King” days.
Content is important, it’s the context of the website and to a search engine it helps understand, learn and categorize for it’s index, but links are still and might always be the strongest correlation signal for ranking. Now “Content” is still a necessary component for ranking in search engines, but we cannot forget all the other chess pieces on the table.
The days of “Content is King” seem to be over, I for one haven’t seen any recent “content is king” type articles or even comments for that matter.
The direction in which things are moving we’re probably better off refraining from using any sort of hierarchy, labeling one aspect of search as the top ranking factor is not as effective as experimenting with all the factors.