Backlink (back reference)

A backlink is a hyperlink from an external, third-party website that refers to your own website. Search engines such as Google place a particularly high value on backlinks, as they indicate content quality and relevance and are therefore sometimes among the highest ranking factors. 

This is especially true if they come from popular pages. Backlinks are counted among the OffPage measures in SEO optimization, since in this case it is a process that takes place outside the web presence. In the SEO Online Marketing backlinks enjoy the highest attention.

With Semrush or other SEO tools, backlink profiles can be specifically evaluated. The example below shows the chronological course of new and lost backlinks.

Backlink Domains

Why are backlinks important for SEO?

For Google, backlinks are more or less a recommendation that points to particularly qualitative content. The more backlinks can be generated, preferably from different domains, the better a page can rank.

In the example below, the backlinks judged to be toxic should be checked and possibly removed.

Backlink toxicity

Why are backlinks needed?

As described at the beginning, backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for the Google algorithm, next to content. They ensure good ranking in the search engine.

However, it should also be mentioned here that, similar to new content, it can take a little longer for a backlink to flow into the ranking. 

What makes a quality backlink?

Google does not evaluate the individual backlinks equally, but assigns them weightings or a value. This is called the quality of a backlink. In the end, each individual backlink has a value that depends on different factors.

Significance (relevance)

If a website gets a backlink from a topic related website, Google will weight that higher than a backlink from any site that covers a different topic. 

Backlinks from thematically similar pages are more relevant for users within the industry and the topic area and are therefore also classified as more important by Google. A sophisticated backlink strategy is a main component of a good SEO marketing strategy.

Link authority

Backlinks coming from strong websites like Wikipedia transfer a much higher link authority than those coming from weaker sites. The bigger and better a website is measured by user numbers, interactions, respectability and other SEO factors, the more valuable its backlinks are.

Note: Internal links also have a value. Therefore, they should always be included in the website's link strategy from the very beginning.

Types of backlinks

DoFollow Backlink

A DoFollow is a link without the attribute "rel". This signals to Google that the link is to be trusted and that the crawler can follow it. DoFollow links are particularly valuable for search engine optimization. So if you want to place backlinks on foreign pages, you should make sure that the crawlers can follow them. 

NoFollow Backlink

NoFollow links are hyperlinks that have the HTML attribute "rel=nofollow". In the area of backlinks, NoFollow links mean that the crawler should not follow this link any further. In this way, links can be placed on a website without the crawlers leaving the website again via these links.

Follow and Nofollow links were introduced by Google in 2005 to give webmasters more control over linkjuicing. In addition, NoFollow attributes are used when links lead to untrusted pages.

Paid backlinks

Paid backlinks are an attempt to unnaturally increase the backlink pool of a website. For this purpose, a certain number of backlinks are purchased from backlink providers, which can be easily found via Google search. In the past, sellers from Russia in particular have excelled here ("Russian links").

Since Google wants the natural generation of backlinks for the websites, it reacts quite harshly to these practices with a direct ranking loss. In the case of particularly heavy use of paid backlinks, the affected page can even be removed from the index by Google. It then no longer appears on Google at all. 

In the short term, the purchase may certainly have positive effects on the website. But in the medium term, such actions always lead to Google penalization and ultimately bring no added value.

Final tip: Regularly check your backlink pool for errors and problems. Even though Google does not directly penalize toxic backlinks, it is still better to have an overview of the origin of backlinks.

As a SEO Agency in Munich we are specialized in professional link building.

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