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5 Reasons Why Your Backlinks Don’t Function Properly

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July 4, 2023 |

SEO ain’t easy, we all know that. It’s commonly known to be the Internet’s “dark science,” hence so many people quitting trying to promote their websites and making it to the first page.

You can often find articles like “SEO isn’t relevant anymore” appearing here and there. However, this statement can’t be further from the truth. The truth is that SEO is doing very well and is a defining growth factor in many successful businesses over the world.

The most common reason people get irritated with SEO is that there are so many factors that contribute to rankings and can take a long time for results to be seen. One of the biggest factors is obtaining backlinks in higher numbers and from high authority sites.  Many people will find out that their backlinks aren’t as effective as they estimated, forgetting that there is a considerable number of things that can go wrong with them, which will hinder your business’ SEO growth. Here are the most important things you need to be aware of.


Nofollow links are backlinks that carry no straightforward SEO value from the page they are posted on to the pages that they reference. So many things can go wrong with your links in terms of their nofollow status. You may have too many of them, and you may have none at all, both scenarios will mess up your ranking big time. Why?

The first case is rather simple. Imagine that half of your backlinks don’t actually do what they’re supposed to do — bring you SEO value.

However, not having any nofollow links at all is suggestive of the fact that you’re “meddling with the system”. To say the least, it’s an unnatural backlink profile. Evidence suggests that having at least 5-10% of nofollow links is going to benefit you greatly.

Many successful websites on the web have amassed up to 30% of nofollow links to their site, which doesn’t stop them from taking the first position in the search results for highly popular keywords, such as “backlinks” or “Melbourne SEO”.

Where To Get Backlinks From?

Just amassing backlinks doesn’t ensure success in rankings. Another issue you might be facing with your links is the poor quality of the backlinks to your site. There could be a site that features 1,000 links to other websites, another one that has a total of 10 links to external sources, and the last one with over 100,000, and has no traffic at all.

It’s evident which site will provide you with better value for your SEO efforts. Generally speaking, there are different types of sites that don’t really provide your site with quality links. It’s preferable not to build the bulk of your link profile on sites like these:

  1. Links on forums with little domain authority
  2. Blog comments on little with small domain authority
  3. Any small or non authoritative directory sites
  4. Affiliate sites
  5. Scraper sites
  6. Links from irrelevant sites and content pages
  7. Foreign links
  8. Links with duplicated content
  9. Links with overly optimized anchors
  10. Links that come from content farms
  11. Links from every social bookmarking site
  12. Links from pages with very little to no content

That does not, by any means suggest that you should not place any links on sites like these. However, if you decide to focus the entirety of your efforts on placing links on “unfavorable” websites like these, you may shoot yourself in the foot by doing so.

The reason why these sites aren’t excellent to build your link profile is that they’re pretty much low-hanging fruit. They’ve most certainly been ruthlessly bombarded with spammy links throughout the years so you won’t be able to extract any essential value from them. But again, it is always good to have some backlinks on sites like these to maintain a “healthy” link ratio.

How Relevant Are Your Links?

If you’re not familiar with the lingo, the anchor is the clickable text that a hyperlink. Their essential function in terms of SEO is to provide context to the nature of the link. It lets the search engine classify the reviewer’s opinion on the site that they are referencing.

A well-crafted anchor text is crucial to high rankings. Plus, the search engine’s algorithm uses the text in the link along with the text “around” it, to better understand the social barometer on how good the site actually is.

To get a better kick out of using the anchors, the anchor text needs to be relevant to the niche that your site is part of. Plus, the anchor text itself needs to be relevant to its context.

Poor On-Site Optimization

When speaking of on-site and off-site SEO efforts, you’ll often hear the “Car and Fuel” analogy often used. Your on-site optimization, in this case, is the vehicle, which is fueled by backlinks. There should be a concordance in the quality of the both since a bad car won’t perform well on good gas, it’s still a lousy car.

So one of the more interesting reasons why your backlinks aren’t providing you with a visible effect is that your site just isn’t up to a particular search engine standards. This issue alone will make your off-page efforts useless.

Have You Checked Your Link Profile Recently?

There are quite a few things that can happen to your links over time, so keeping an eye on them is essential. Losing too many backlinks can severely damage your growth pretty quickly. What could have gone wrong?

A referral’s site has changed ownership

There is a widespread practice of taking advantage of domains that have just expired and claiming ownership. This would naturally suppose that the said website can no longer provide ranking value to your site, since there is no content or link related to your site.

The content could have disappeared

Writing new articles and blogs for your site is a time consuming task, so maybe the site’s owners decided to stop publishing new pieces to the website. In order not to make the site seem dumped and out-of-date they may have decided to remove content altogether.

Too many pop-ups

The original backlink may as well be there, but if the site owners decided to start using too much advertisement or pop-ups, chances are the search engine algorithms just lumps it all as spam, including any of your links.

These sites are objectively user unfriendly and typically don’t satisfy the modern quality standards. So it’s most probably the case that you shouldn’t even opt to obtain links on sites like these.

The link comes from content that isn’t relevant

The problem isn’t necessarily that your link has gone missing, but often if the content the link is in features outdated and old topics that aren’t too relevant today, there may be little to no value from a backlink like that.


Backlinks are a vital component of any healthy SEO strategy and not keeping them in check will be detrimental to your ranking efforts. There is a host of reasons why they can go wrong or not work at all, and this article pretty much sums it all up.

You may be dealing with:

  • Having too many nofollow links or don’t have any of them at all
  • Having links on dubious websites
  • Backlinks that aren’t really relevant to the current year
  • Focusing off-site while your on-site is poorly optimized
  • Your links just got bad

As part of our SEO services, BeOnTop ensures proper link building strategies to give a boost to your search engine ranking results.

Author BIO

Pauline speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian and currently she works as an interpreter for TheWordPoint. She travelled the world to immerse herself in the new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.

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