Why aren’t backlinks indexed?

1hPing at December 29, 2023

Backlinks are a crucial factor in SEO campaigns, helping enhance the trustworthiness and credibility of a website in the eyes of search engines. However, not all backlinks are indexed by search engines like Google. In this article, we will explore why this happens and gain a deeper understanding of the search engine indexing process.

Basics of Backlinks

A backlink is a link from another website to yours. It is one of the most important factors for determining the credibility and trustworthiness of a website from the perspective of search engines. When another website links to yours, it indicates that your website has value and provides useful content.

Search Engine Indexing Process

When a search engine like Google “indexes” a website, it means it has scanned and recorded information about that website in its database. This process allows the search engine to better understand the content and structure of the website to display relevant search results for users.

Why Backlinks Aren’t Indexed?

Although backlinks play a crucial role in SEO, not all of them are indexed by search engines, especially Google. There are several primary reasons why backlinks may not be indexed:

  1. Blocked by robots.txt: Some backlinks may be hidden in the source code of the website or blocked by robots.txt, preventing search engines from scanning and indexing those backlinks.
  2. From unreliable websites: If a backlink comes from an unreliable or spammy website, search engines may choose not to index it to avoid considering low-quality links.
  3. Tagged as Noindex or Nofollow: Some backlinks have “noindex” or “nofollow” attributes in their source code, preventing search engines from tracking and indexing them.
  4. Not part of the main content: Backlinks may appear in sections such as footnotes, headers, or menu areas of a website. Search engines may not index these backlinks as they are not part of the main content.

Benefits of Indexing Backlinks

Indexing backlinks can bring numerous benefits to your SEO campaign:

  1. Increased trust and credibility: When search engines index backlinks, it signifies that these links are valuable and considered trustworthy.
  2. Improved ranking potential: Indexed backlinks can help you achieve higher rankings in search engine results, attracting more organic traffic and increasing the potential for customer conversions.
  3. Enhanced keyword identification: By scanning and indexing backlinks, search engines can identify relevant keywords used in these links. This helps understand crucial keywords for optimizing your SEO campaign.

Limitations of Indexing Backlinks

Despite the benefits, there are some related limitations:

  1. Large number of backlinks: Websites with an extensive number of backlinks may pose a challenge for search engines to index all of them. Indexing all backlinks can be a resource-intensive process, affecting search engine performance.
  2. Insufficient resources: Search engines may lack the resources to scan and index all backlinks on the internet. This can result in some backlinks remaining unindexed.
  3. Irrelevant backlinks: Some backlinks may be irrelevant or provide no value to your website. Indexing these backlinks can lead to clutter and lower the quality of search results.

Optimizing Your Backlink Campaign

You can exert control over backlinks by:

  1. Choosing reputable sources: Build links only from trustworthy and reputable websites.
  2. Using “follow” attributes: Use “follow” attributes in your links to allow search engines to track and index them.
  3. Creating quality content: Produce high-quality and valuable content to attract attention and links from other websites.
  4. Conducting link checks: Monitor and check links to ensure they remain active and don’t pose issues for your SEO campaign.


In this article, we’ve explored why backlinks may not be indexed and gained insights into the search engine indexing process, particularly with Google. We’ve also reviewed the benefits and limitations of indexing backlinks, along with suggestions to optimize your backlink campaign. Hopefully, you now have a comprehensive overview of this issue and additional information to apply to your SEO efforts.