Even from the start (PageRank papers) Google distinguishes link volume and link quality. In essence that is what PageRank tries to do.
a page has high rank if the sum of the ranks of its backlinks is high. This covers both the case when a page has many backlinks and when a page has a few highly ranked backlinks. 1
Therefore the author Richard Baxter starts with the statement:
" Link volume alone has not been a reliable, correlative metric for rankings for almost a decade "
He continues why link volume isn`t great and
" “link building” by its classic SEO definition becomes much more aligned to marketing and PR. We’re targeting sites that we know have a relevant audience and if you took search out of the equation entirely, there’d be a benefit to having that link in place. "