What types of backlinks are there


Today, inbound links to a website are mostly referred to as backlinks. For search engine optimization, the number and quality of backlinks are important components in order to strengthen the presence of this domain in the search result lists. “Inbound links” or “external links” are also synonymous with backlinks, which are commonly used terms in online marketing.

Why is it called a backlink?

Literally translated from English, a backlink is a back link. It is therefore assumed that website A refers to website B in the form of a hyperlink and website B reciprocates with a backlink to website A. Since in the early days of the Internet the recommendation by links was very important for webmasters in order to get new visitors and search engines themselves were not yet as efficient as they are today, a site operator has gladly integrated a reference back to the linking page on his website. In the blogosphere, too, it was customary for a long time for a blogger to post a backlink as a thank you for a mention in another blog. Today, however, the name is sometimes misleading, since there are usually no actual “backlinks” to domains, but rather a link only leads in one direction: website A links to website B, but not reciprocally. The term "backlink" now mainly refers to inbound links as opposed to internal links that can be used for navigation within a website.

The origins of the link

In the 1990s, when the Internet developed from a medium for the academic exchange of data into a communication and information medium used worldwide, backlinks were only important tools for navigating the Internet. A user clicked from hyperlink to hyperlink and discovered new websites. At that time, the role of search engines was still marginal. A backlink was therefore an important function for webmasters in order to give the user a meaningful reference to further content on the Internet. At the same time, incoming links were important for every webmaster in order to get traffic, i.e. visitors. When search engines like Altavista or Fireball got better and better and created their own indices, the importance of backlinks as navigation aids for the Internet decreased. However, especially since the start of Google searches, the backlink has been a ranking factor for search engines, which assess the importance of a website for a particular search term based on the quantity and quality of the incoming links, among other things. One then speaks of link popularity.

Components of a backlink

A backlink usually consists of a link target in the form of a URL and a medium that holds this URL ready for a click. This can either be text or an image. A backlink can also be inserted in a document. A modern form of the backlink is e.g. B. also the QR code.

In the HTML source code of a website, a backlink usually has the following form:
<a href=”http://www.beispielseite.de“>verlinkte Textbausteine/Ankertext</a>

Optionally, the backlink can also be provided with a link title, a so-called title tag.
<a href=”http://www.beispielseite.de“ title=“Weiterführender Link”>verlinkte Textbausteine/Ankertext</a>

Backlink types

A backlink can be created in different ways. Three different types and a special case are briefly outlined here:

  • Text link: here text is linked with a link
  • Image link: here images are linked with a link
  • Blogroll link: blogs use this to link to other blogs or websites
  • Social signal: Backlink from a social media portal such as Facebook or Twitter
  • Nofollow-Backlink: an alt attribute indicates to the search engine robot that it should not follow this backlink

E.g.: <a href=”http://www.beispielseite.de“ rel=“nofollow“>tolle Seite</a>

The quality is crucial

Search engines like Google now use the backlink analysis of a domain to evaluate its trustworthiness, popularity and relevance to the topic. This approach is based on the belief that a backlink is a webmaster's recommendation for another website. The more backlinks a page receives, the more trustworthy and popular it has to be. Since the massive build-up of backlinks in recent years has led to the SERPs of search engine providers being influenced by webspam, the purely quantitative analysis of backlinks has developed into a qualitative as well as quantitative analysis. To determine the quality of a backlink, the following factors are used today:

  1. Popularity of the linking site
  2. Trust of the linking side or Bad Neighborhood
  3. Number of outgoing links on the linking page
  4. Position of the backlink on the website on which the link is set
  5. Medium in which the backlink is transported (image or text)
  6. Anchor text
  7. Topic relevance of the referral
  8. PageRank of the linking page

The regular analysis of backlinks is also important in the context of link building for SEOs and website operators. This is the only way to ensure that spam measures or other negative backlinks are recognized. Links that have been dropped can also be revealed. Tools that reliably help with "backlink checking" are recommended for the analysis.

Note on PageRank: PageRank is a quality feature introduced by Google that originally served to classify the trust and quality of a website using various algorithms. The scale ranges from 0 to 10. The higher the PageRank, the higher the trust and quality. The PageRank is "inherited" through a backlink, i.e. the domain or the subpage that receives the backlink can benefit from the PageRank inheritance. In addition to the PageRank, a backlink also provides so-called "link juice". In the SEO scene, this is the link power that a backlink passes on from the referring page to the target page.

The backlink history of a page

Every website receives many backlinks in the course of its existence. Due to the dynamic development of the Internet, backlinks can also be omitted. A relaunch of the linked page or the deletion of entire pages can be responsible for this. It can also happen that webmasters delete outgoing links from their site or mark them with the nofollow attribute. The entirety of this backlink structure and the changes is also called the backlink history. This is of interest for the following processes:

  1. When buying a domain: the backlink history can provide information, for example, on whether the website was affected by link purchases or spam measures.
  2. When buying expired domains: Here the backlink history also offers the possibility to see which high-quality incoming links the domain has. The purchase price can then be derived from this.
  3. For search engines, the history gives indications of manipulative behavior on the part of webmasters, e.g. B. unnatural link growth

Link building as part of the SEO or marketing strategy

The biggest challenge for a website today is to make it known on the web. Link building is assigned an important role within the marketing mix. Because search engines still rate incoming links as recommendations for another website. However, when setting up a backlink structure today, many aspects must be taken into account so that the domain at Google & CO. is not rated as a spam page and in extreme cases is excluded from the index. Natural link growth is therefore recommended, which is promoted through appealing and interesting content. Compared to black hat techniques, i.e. SEO measures explicitly listed as negative marketing techniques in the webmaster guidelines, continuous and sustainable search engine optimization usually takes longer. However, it is the only way to achieve long-term success. A well thought-out backlink strategy will certainly remain a key to success in the future.