Backlinks are a funny thing in Google and they have definitely evolved over the years. They changed in 2016, how, nobody can completely pinpoint. I’d argue that Google engineers themselves can’t totally predict how a certain link will affect rankings.
I do know that I have seen great links come in to sites completely naturally and show no value whatsoever. Then, 90 days later, boom, they help.
In other cases sites seem to bounce up in the rankings overnight as soon as a good link comes in. A site I am working with obtained a nice, legitimate .gov link to an important page last week and the site sprang from page 8 to page 3 immediately. Then again, this was a geographically relevant link.
And most recently, in the first half of 2017, I have seen sites move DOWN in the rankings as soon as the referral traffic starts coming in from a fresh, new link, only to spring back up a few days later.
Maybe Google is messing with those who build links? Or maybe the rankings change was just a coincidence and the needle happened to move the day I looked. After all, I try not to monitor rankings daily or even weekly, as doing so can quickly become an obsession over something you have little to no control over (at least for people like me).
Has a fresh, shiny, new link made your rankings go down? If so, tell us about it below.