Backlinks are imperative to any search engine optimization endeavor.
Are all backlinks created equal? No! 2 types: High Quality & Low Quality.
Who determines ‘quality’? Search engines.
What defines a high quality backlink? Primarily 3 factors: 1) high quality backlinks will live on a website relative to your niche 2) high quality backlinks will be on a blog or website with high PR (Google Page Rank) 3) Said backlinks are natural.
Are Backlinks Still a Primary Ranking Factor for SEO?
Link farming will cause your website to be penalized by Google. Do not spam websites with your backlinks. Quality website content is still a key ranking factor, the days of thin or no content are gone.
Result Driven SEO Solutions:
Create quality content. Blog regularly and intelligently. Regularly expand new content outside of your blog (i.e.) pages. Make sure your posts and pages are relative to your niche and be unique. Naturally, traffic will turn into followers and followers will evolve into natural backlinking. Some ideas for content: invite guest bloggers; build free resources; follow major influencers within your niche, interview major influencers within your niche, stay educated in trends within your niche (many fail to do this and this is a major fail- how can you right on a subject with out of date knowledge?); utilize social media accounts; write reviews of niche related products and tools you use.
Last, but not least. Stay motivated and committed. Train your brain. Results are NEVER instant, but they will come (: No one ever built an empire over night!