"Bad" Backlinks 

On the other hand, inbound links negatively affect that:

  • Bought but not appropriately marked with the correct attribute. 
  • Originate from unrelated / thematically inappropriate websites. 
  • Come about in a recognizable non-organic manner in a short time. 
  • Accumulated over directory pages/bookmark pages or similar. 
  • With the exact anchor text from various linking websites. 

In these cases, the link growth is often noticeably unnatural: Too many links appear too quickly on a - mostly - brand new website. The actual traffic and the other signals from website visitors (CTR, bounce rate, etc.) do not match the rapidly growing number of backlinks. 

Google's algorithm has long been able to recognize these unnatural patterns - and then concludes relatively quickly.

In the worst case, a newly created website ends up in the dreaded "sandbox" because of suspected spam and initially does not rank at all. 

Link Juice 

Link juice is often used in connection with backlinks. This meta-term comprises various evaluation criteria, including the quality, the number, and the distribution of the inbound links on a website. 

An artificial, rapid growth of individual websites through incoming backlinks of poor quality harms the link juice - and thus has far-reaching consequences for other ranking and evaluation factors of a website.