What are the disadvantages of backlinks

What are good backlinks actually? The most important factors for quality in the checklist

Which backlinks are good?

In the past you often heard things like: "There have to be a lot of backlinks." Or: "They have to come from the strongest possible sources." Is there still truth in these statements or are they yesterday's news?
If you ask yourself "Is Link XY a good backlink?", You should basically ask yourself 3 specific questions:

  1. Is it a "natural" backlink?
  2. Which Backlink metrics can I use the analysis and which of them are the most relevant?
  3. What other factors are not reflected in the metricsthat I also have to include in the evaluation?

We now want to address these 3 questions in detail, because not all questions can be answered with bare metrics from tools. At the end of the article, all factors are classified in a checklist with priority.

What is a natural backlink?

"Natural" in this case means: Not "procured" through link building measures (also Black hat or.Gray Hat SEO), but as part of Google's guidelines for getting backlinks (accordingly as White hat Called SEO). Everything else is an unnatural link.

A good backlink always gives the impression of being created naturally. So, given the Google guidelines, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the link with money, goods or servicesbeen bought?
  • Is the link through a Link exchange originated(Link to me, i link to you)?
  • Is the link part of a large-scale campaign (e.g. guest posts) with Excessive use of keywords in anchor text? (See section anchor text)
  • Was the link (over a large area) with a automated service or tool generated?
  • Was the link generated by binding terms of use or a contract with a third party, thehad no way of preventing link juice from being passed on?
  • If the link is clearly identified as a Advertisement or advertorial but does it pass on Linkjuice? (See section rel = nofollow)
  • Point the link excessive use of keywords in anchor text up and became extensively in articles and press releases released?
  • If the link comes from a directory, yellow pages or from a bookmark page low quality?
  • Is the link in a widget hiddenso that it is generated when the widget is used by third parties and uses a heavily keyword-optimized anchor text?
  • Will the links large area generated via footers or templates from other sites? (Popular tactics from e.g. Wordpress theme manufacturers)
  • Are the links using signatures in forums with large areas excessive keyword optimization in anchor texts generated?

Should address all of these questions with one clear "no"can be answered, that's the first step to becoming one organic, high quality and especially sustainable backlink.

If you're interested in link building and its limitations in link building, we can only recommend our article on link building myths.
On the basis of this knowledge, it should be checked urgently whether the backlink is a naturally grown link. In other words: Does it appear as if the link was set editorially by the source without any expectation of equivalent value?

If you are further interested in the topic and you are fluent in English, we would like to make you these (100% natural) article recommendations:

Making quality measurable - in the jungle of link metrics

So many metrics! When it comes to backlinks, we have countless numbers and factors at our disposal. And even worse, the importance of certain factors for the quality of a backlink seems to change more frequently as KVB ticket prices increase.
But how do we choose which metric is right now? And how do we decide whether the backlink is good or bad? Let's approach the whole thing slowly and with a sure instinct.

An overview of the most important link metrics

Going into all of the metrics here would go beyond the scope of this article and not bring us any closer to our goal. But: You should know the most important ones.

Follow vs. nofollow

Probably the most famous factor when it comes to backlinks. Google follows backlinks and uses them to crawl underlying websites and also assigns them relevant relevance or popularity. In some cases, however, the domain operator wants Google not to follow an outgoing link and also not to inherit any link juice. There is one for such cases rel = nofollow day, which is used directly on the link:

<a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.trafficdesign.de" >Dieser Link ist nofollow</a>

Here are some reasons to attribute a link with nofollow:

  • It is a paid link, e.g. in a sponsored post.
  • The domain operator does not want to take any responsibility for the content of the link (e.g. in social media).

You can find more information about using nofollow from Google itself here (Funfact: No nofollow link! Look at the source code). Typically, outbound links on social networks or larger forums are often nofollow by default. Is a link Not marked with the nofollow attribute, it is automatically considered a follow (exception: the entire document is marked as nofollow, see box). However, follow can also be declared specifically in the rel tag and is also referred to as "dofollow". For more detailed information on the rel = nofollow tag, we recommend the corresponding article in the Ryte Wiki.

Fun fact:
The nofollow tag can also be used in the header of the entire HTML file in the so-called meta robots tag. In this usage, all links in the entire URL are treated as "nofollow". In the source code it looks like this:
<meta name="robots" content="nofollow" />

Source authority and popularity: DA and Trust

Virtually every SEO backlink tool uses some form of metric to determine domain strength. Sometimes this is referred to as Domain Authority & Trust, sometimes as Domain Power. In the end, each of these metrics aims at the same question: How strong is the linking domain?
Two factors play a role:

  1. How strong is the backlink profile of the source (Domain Authority or Power)
  2. How strong is Google's trust in the source

While the former is determined by metrics such as the number of backlinks, referring domains and URLs, the latter is measured by the domain's keyword rankings. Basically, any metric is suitable for analysis regardless of its exact name. The only thing to note is that the metrics of different tools cannot be compared with one another.

The value of the domain authority or power is divided by many tools into the strength of the root domain and the specifically analyzed URL. An example: The Zalando root domain has a much stronger domain power than the subpage / sports-herren-home /.

While the value of the root domain is 5, that of the bottom is comparatively only 3. This is the metric "LRT Power", from link research tools (interesting concept "LRT Power * Trust": domain strength and trust are multiplied and produced an aggregated metric). The screenshot comes from the practical, free Chrome Extension, which we can only recommend. You can find out more about this in our article on the 13 best Chrome extensions for online marketers.

The value of the start page does not necessarily have to correspond to that of the root domain. It can also be assumed that in the case of a backlink from this source, both the domain and URL rating play a role in the strength of the link.

In summary, it can be said: What value for the Link source popularity The tools also spit out, they are relevant for assessing the quality of a backlink. It is often worthwhile to sort link potentials according to strength in order to set priorities. But don't let high values ​​fool you, let alone low ones - it's just a matter of a factor in a coherent complex. How the relevance of the domain authority is to be classified in the spectrum of the overall analysis can be found below in the checklist.

The anchor text

The anchor text (also known as anchor or link text) is what is ultimately visible to the user as clickable text on the website:

<a href="https://www.trafficdesign.de">Das hier ist der Ankertext</a>

The website behind the link is, so to speak, "anchored" via this text. The content of this text plays a crucial role because Google made it up Information about the topic relevance of the target page can pull. In other words: If the anchor text reads "Flowers", the target page is probably about our fragrant, immobile neighbors on earth, while "Pizza" is probably about the most balanced food in the world.

For this reason, the shape of the anchor text of a link is a decisive factor for its quality. Is the anchor text meaningful or maybe even keyword-relevant? Or, as is so often the case, was something generic like "here", "to the website" or "www.domain.com" chosen?

The other way around can be Excessive use of keyword-optimized anchor texts also be a negative factor if thus the Impression of an unnatural link is taught (see section 1). Ideally, the anchor text of a good backlink is relevant in terms of content, but also (as in all cases) natural for the user. Does it sound a little vague? Let's round it off:

  • E.g. possibly spammy anchor text: We have often wondered where to buy the best pizza?
  • E.g. good anchor text: In downtown Cologne you can get the best stone oven pizza in the Veedel from Daniele Salcinetto, at affordable prices.

As in other cases, classifying a good or bad anchor text also includes a good pinch of healthy human or, in this case, internet understanding. The topic of anchor texts in itself is actually worth a separate article. We can also recommend it to you, because trustagents have dealt with natural anchor texts (here I tried to use the anchor text).

To make the whole thing a little more complicated: An anchor text can also be "Empty" if, for example, the link is set to an image. In this case, the alt tag of the image and the title tag of the link are relevant for Google (in this order).

Other notable metrics:

  • Number of backlinks of the referring domain
    • number ofDomainsreferring to the source
    • Number of each pagesreferring to the source
    • The IP or subnetwork to which the source belongs
  • Position of the link on the source page
  • Link Velocity of the referring domain (with what frequency does the domain link to external sites)
  • Number of outbound links from the referring page
Outdated metrics:
The so-called PageRank, which may still sound familiar to one or the other, is now an outdated metric for analysis. Because Google has abolished the public interface for it. However, PageRank (or a similar metric) is still relevant.
It is similar with the pure Number of backlinksthat has a domain: In the past, everything was about quantity. Today, Google's algorithms are more sensitive. The motto is: quality instead of pure quantity.

Not all factors are measurable

Topic relevance & content of the source

In the second section we got to know a lot of metrics that can be specifically measured. However, one of the most important factors for the quality of a backlink cannot be measured in numbers alone: ​​The content relevanz of the referring domain or page.
That means: Is the backlink source thematically about what I do on my domain? Or do I sell pizza and have a link from a blog reviewing the latest sneakers? Not that this does not happen or that it is even bad (as long as there is no excessive anchor text spam - see 1).
But: A link from a blog on which the best street food for 2 o'clock in the night after the seventh Guiness is reviewed in the pub would certainly be more appropriate thematically and therefore also be rated as "better"!

If you look at the whole thing from a user perspective (which is usually the way to go with SEO anyway), that also makes sense. Basically, the source is relevant in terms of content, if the user also had a reason to click the link. If in doubt: try to put yourself in the shoes of a visitor to the website.

Keyword rankings of the referring page

In concrete terms, however, you have even more in hand: Analyze the keyword rankings of the page from which the (potential) backlink comes. If the domain ranks for keywords that would also be relevant for you, then the source is definitely relevant to the content. That is btw. also a good strategy for finding potentially high quality link sources - go through the SERPs for relevant keywords (especially long tail variants). But that would be a topic for a separate article.

Check the spam score of the domain

Another important factor when assessing the quality of a backlink is whether the referring domain has a high spam factor. This is measured by the number of incoming or outgoing links to or from other domains with a spam factor. (These domains can also be other types of spam than link spam, e.g. malware, keyword spam, etc.) A reliable way to check the spam score of a domain is the Link Explorer from Moz (formerly Open Site Explorer or OSE).
To use this, you need to create a free account with Moz. Then you have ten domain analyzes available per month in the Link Explorer.

Low SpamScore - that's the way it should be! So our domain would be a safe source for a backlink

Estimated traffic of the reffering page - It doesn't always have to be a link with SEO power

Does a good backlink always have to have SEO power with it?
No. SEO is not everything, just aOnline marketing channel to generate relevant traffic for your website. And that should be the goal: Relevant traffic!
That is, if you have the opportunity to come across a link that will bring you potentially relevant visitors to the page who may be converting - go for it!
Again, there are reliable ways to check how relevant a link is and how much traffic could potentially come through it.

Keyword rankings

The simplest, but probably also the most inaccurate way to estimate the potential traffic of a backlink is to take a closer look at the keyword rankings of the referring page. It is best to use an SEO tool of your choice to analyze keyword rankings, e.g. Sistrix or SEMrush, and analyze the specific URL on which the backlink can be found. From here on you have to estimate: If the URL ranks in the top 3 for a keyword with an average search volume of 1,000 search queries per month, it may well be that a maximum of 10-15% of them will actually reach the URL. So let's say 100 clicks per month. Depending on where the backlink to your page is now on the page, you have to expect even lower click rates. Here the whole thing becomes very imprecise: Let's say 5% for a content link with a clear anchor text. Accordingly, with a solid search volume of 1,000, you only potentially get 5 clicks per month in the end. However, this method is quite imprecise and of course only includes organic traffic.


It becomes much more precise with the well-known SEM tool SEMrush in the report Traffic Analytics under the tab Domain Analytics. Here you get Estimates for the traffic of the domain, which experience has shown to be relatively close to the actual figures:

Detailed data on the user signals - but someone has a lot of mobile traffic

With a pure keyword analysis, we did not include direct traffic. And that makes up around 40% here.


  • Relatively accurate traffic figures from different channels
  • Traffic over time
  • Splitting up according to end devices is possible
  • The Destination Web Sites report even shows the estimated traffic from links originating from the source - which is exactly what we want to know


  • Paid account required
  • Currently only analysis on domain level, no subpages


A good free alternative to SEMrush is Similarweb. The tool can be used in the free version as well as paid for - then with more features.

We get numbers similar to those in SEMrush. Unfortunately no separation according to end devices, but free of charge!


  • Also usable in the free version
  • Similar range of metrics as SEMrush
  • Analysis of mobile apps possible


  • Required for more data per account
  • No analysis of end devices or individual pages

The checklist of the most important metrics and factors for good backlinks

Now we have dealt extensively with the individual factors and their characteristics. But how exactly can you proceed if you want to check individual links to see whether they are potty or crooked? The following list should help you with this. It contains the most important factors and ranks them according to priority:

Be sure to checkimportant factorsnice to haverather marginal factors
The thematic and content relevance the backlink source is given and understandable for the userThe Anchor text is relevant in terms of content, but is not used repeatedly or spamThe linking domain has solid values for domain authority or power and above all trustLink Velocity - The referring domain is no left spin
The linking domain owns thematically relevant keyword rankingsThe link is on a Position of the pagewhere it is likely to be clickedThe link is FollowThe source has one solid but proportionate Number of referring domains, referring pages and backlinks
The backlink gives the impressionNaturally to have originatedThe referring domain has a low Spam score onThe link has actual traffic potential, probably beyond SEO tooThe number of outbound links the source is not exorbitantly high

Use this checklsite as a guide whenever you need to determine the value of a backlink. Try to assess the thematic relevance and the naturalness from the perspective of an independent user.

The end of the song?

What tools do you use to estimate the traffic of a domain or a backlink? And how do you finally decide whether a link is good or not?
Did this article help you decide? Let me know and leave a comment!