Can backlinks hurt your site?:
Generally, backlinks don’t hurt your site. Google and other search engines use backlinks as one of the ways to determine the quality and relevance of a website while ranking in search engine result pages [SERPs].
However, if these links are coming from websites that are considered low-quality or are part of a spammy link network, then it could potentially have an adverse effect or hurt your website’s SEO performance.
“According to exclusive research developed by Conversion, 82% of marketers who invest in link building see positive results in their SEO” - CONVERSION
Bad Backlinks - [Are backlinks Good or Bad?]:
Backlinks are good and are one of the top-ranking signals. Google's algorithm is constantly changing and evolving, and it's now more important than ever to ensure that all your backlinks are coming from high-quality websites.
This means that you should avoid any links from websites that have been flagged for spammy content or are part of a link network [say bad backlinks].
Search engines like Google and others look at the quality of the content on the website linking to yours, the relevance of that website to yours, and the anchor text used in the link.
If the linking website is irrelevant or has poor-quality content, this can have a negative effect on your website.
Having too many backlinks from low-quality websites, or even from reputable websites suddenly, can be seen as a sign of manipulation or spammy activity. If search engines see this type of activity suspiciously, it can penalize your website.
“Top formats found to be most effective for generating links: Long-form, report style content (56%), Interactive piece of content (42%), Blog post (39%) and Static infographic (27%)” - The State of Link Building Report 2022 by Aira
You should also be wary of sites that offer paid backlinks as these can also hurt your website's ranking.
Google is constantly cracking down on websites that use paid backlinks or sort of spammy link networks, so it's important to make sure you don't purchase any links from these sites.
Even though paid backlinks are against Google's guidelines, they are still used and, generally, no one reports them.
If the situation calls for it, make sure to exercise due diligence and examine the quality of any links you intend to obtain. But I personally don't suggest going with this choice because this forms part of Black Hat SEO practice.
In summary, backlinks are an important part of SEO, but they must be used strategically and must come from relevant and high-quality websites to make things work for you. If you use low-quality or spammy backlinks or any form of such mechanism, then it could hurt your website's ranking in SERPs.
Here's an information that might be useful to you – Where are keywords placed to rank higher?
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