Search engines like Google read the code of a website. In the HTML code links are written as follows:
<a href=”https://domain.com/slug/”>Anchor Text</a>
Href means that it’s a link and the anchor text is the text associated with the link. It’s the hyperlinked keyword in the text.
Here’s an real life example:
<a href=”https://back2marketingschool.com/how-to-use-surround-sound-marketing/”>Surround Sound Content</a>
Anchor Text: Surround Sound Content
If the link is from any other domain other than itself, it’s known as a backlink.
Sometimes links also have the NoFollow attribute: rel=”nofollow”. If they don’t have it, by default they are DoFollow.
target=”_blank” rel=”noopener” means to open the link in a new tab or window. This has no impact on the value of the backlink.
DoFollow backlinks indicate to search engines that the link should be considered as a backlink. In contrast, NoFollow backlinks include the attribute rel=”nofollow” in the HTML code of the link and tell search engines that the link should not be considered as an upvote.
Permanent backlinks is a term most often used by agencies and services who sell backlink implementation. The concept of a permanent backlink is that it will stay on the site forever and therefore will always point back to your site and counted as a backlink.
It’s common that backlinks disappear over time due to various reasons. The site owner removes it by taken out the link or the entire content. It can also be that the whole site is taken offline.
Backlinks can be harmful for your site and SEO. There’s no single reason why a backlink can hurt your site but any of the following (or combination of) could attribute to negative impacts:
- Toxic, spammy referring domain often
- Money or compound anchor texts
- Unnatural links in general
Wrong backlinks can not just harm your rankings, Google could also penalize you for bad practices.
You should audit and remove (disavow) bad backlinks regularly.
You can’t remove a link on someone else’s site, but you can ask them to do this for you or ask Google to disavow that domain and/or backlink.
Disavowing a backlink means that you ask Google not to take that domain or link into the consideration. You actively tell Google that you don’t associate yourself with that referring domain/backlink.
Google knows that you have no control over bad links placed to your site, so the best thing to do, is to exclude them from your ranking influence.
Lear how to conduct a backlink audit in SEMRush and remove bad links.
Money anchors are exact keyword matches between the anchor text and keywords you are trying to rank for. Those can seem unnatural and may be penalized by Google if overused. Google understands that it’s very suspicious if the majority of anchor texts are the same as your targeted keywords.
Compound anchors texts are a combination of a branded term plus a money keyword. It unnatural that your brand plus the targeted keyword appear in an exact or phrase match most of the time. Compound anchors can be good because they signal brand + keyword relevancy but also harmful if the ratio of compound anchor text types is high in relation to the overall anchor types.
Backlinks can be identified in Google Search Console under “links” in the bottom of the left main navigation. There are all external (backlinks) and internal links indexed by Google.
You can also use SEO tools like SEMRush, ahref, or Ubersuggest, just to name a few. Please note, that those tools are not as accurate as Google’s Search Console.
Backlinks are important for your website SEO as they signal to Google that someone else values your content. Backlinks are a form of digital vote for your website. Every referring domain is one vote. The higher the referring’s domain authority, the more valuable the backlink becomes for your website. With every additional backlink from a single referring domain, the value per additional backlink decreases. It’s better to have 1000 referring domains with each one backlink that 100 referring domains with each 1000 backlinks.
More, backlink relevancy aka a related domain category matters in the valuation of backlinks, too. Further signals are the rel attributes (follow vs nofollow), Top Level Domain or TLD (e.g. .com, .net, etc.), and anchor text.
Backlinks can also help your site to get your new site out of the sandbox.
If you want to build backlinks SEO tools like SEMRush’s link building are a great place to get started. You can spy on your competitors sites and identify linking opportunities.
You cal also create content templates for keywords that show opportunities form pages that are linking the top search results.
In general, toxic backlinks should be avoided and be removed. When building backlinks it’s best to focus on text vs image backlinks and DoFollow vs NoFollow links.
Additionally, the industry, domain authority (DA), and Top-Level-Domain (TLD) of the referring domain play an important role.
The higher the DA and more relevant the industry and TLD, the more valuable the backlink becomes.
It’s also less important to increase the number of backlinks from an already referring domain, than implementing a link for a new domain.
The higher the relevancy and domain authority of the referring domain the better is the backlink for your SEO. Top-Level-Domains (TLD) like .edu or .gov are usually very authoritative. Furthermore, the referring domain authority is important. The majority of your backlinks will be in the mid-level range, but high DA backlinks can make a big impact.
In general, natural, organic backlinks with DoFollow attributes from relevant high DA pages are the best backlinks.
Backlinks are links from active, external pages. If the link source is external it will be counted as a backlink. If the site is not reachable and a 301 redirect has been implemented to the site that holds your backlink, it won’t be counting as a backlink for your SEO efforts.
Link exchanges or link swaps can harm your site. It occurs when someone links to another page and receives a link from that page in return.
A technique to disguise the direct link swap is the 3-way link exchange or ABC linking. However, this method is also categorized as black hat link-building.