Backlinks will always hold weight when it comes to ranking algorithms but the quality and diversity of your backlinks is more important than ever before. The days of building spammy backlinks 1000 at a time and then juicing them with low quality links for an instant boost are dead. Pyramid, &/or tiered strategies can still work, but they can't be done so quickly, and even more importantly there must be diversity within your websites backlinks.
There's a few critical aspects of Googles current ranking trends that many people are not familiar with & you can bet your bottom dollar the rest of the major search engines will follow suit IF they haven't already...
1. Websites must be mobile optimized. This is critical because Google now does mobile 1st indexing.
2. Business branding is a major ranking signal in 2019 - more on this in a moment.
3. Page speed. Load time has always been a factor but now more than ever, page speed must be on point.