What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are an essential aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) and play a critical role in making potential customers find your website. Also known as inbound links or external links, they connect one website to another. In essence, it is a vote of confidence that a linked website’s content is valuable and worth reading.
Backlinks are an essential part of any SEO strategy not only for ranking higher in search results, but also for boosting a site’s credibility and generating referral traffic. They signal to search engines that the site is a valuable and trustworthy source of information. It’s no wonder link building is such a vital part of a comprehensive SEO playbook.
What Are Backlinks?
Search engines rely on backlinks to evaluate a website’s relevance and authority in terms of providing credible and useful content that is worth linking to. Adding high-quality backlinks to your site will make it rank better in search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive more organic traffic.
Besides their importance for SEO rankings, backlinks also guide search engine crawlers in finding new pages to index to improve site visibility. When a site has many quality backlinks pointing to it, it can boost both organic search and referral traffic.
Backlinks likewise establish website credibility by association. If your site has links from other reputable sites, it becomes a form of endorsement that can greatly improve your credibility in the eyes of potential customers and readers.
Building a strong backlink profile takes time, effort, and a comprehensive link-building strategy that includes relevant content creation, guest blogging, and link exchanges. Overall, backlinks are a fundamental component of SEO as they significantly impact a website’s search engine ranking and potential to attract new visitors.
What are Dofollow Backlinks?
Dofollow backlinks are links from one website to another that allow search engine crawlers to rank the site. They contribute to a website’s authority and relevance, making them an essential factor in SEO.
These types of backlinks pass on link juice which is the value a link transmits from one website to another. When a site receives numerous dofollow backlinks, its domain authority increases to rank higher on search engine results.
Dofollow backlinks are considered important by search engine algorithms because they indicate high-quality and relevant content to users. Consequently, search engines use them to determine authoritative sites for particular search terms.
In conclusion, building a strong backlink profile with high-quality dofollow backlinks can boost a site ranking. The more backlinks a website has, the more search engine crawlers can spot the site and ensure higher exposure.
What are Nofollow Backlinks?
Nofollow backlinks do not pass authority to the website it is linking to and are ignored by search engines. Unlike dofollow backlinks, nofollow backlinks do not influence a page’s placement in the SERPs.
However, incorporating nofollow backlinks into your SEO strategy can still be valuable. Despite not passing on link juice, nofollow backlinks can be combined with dofollow backlinks to create a diverse backlink profile that indicates to search engines your website is natural and not engaged in any manipulative link-building practices.
It’s important to note that not all backlinks are created equal, regardless of whether they are dofollow or nofollow. The quality of the referring website and its relevance to your own content determines the impact of a backlink. Focus on building high-quality backlinks related to your niche rather than aiming for a high quantity of backlinks.
10 Best Types of Backlinks
There are various types of backlinks on the Internet, but not all of them are good for your website. Let’s explore the ten best types of backlinks that can boost your SEO effort.
1. Editorial Backlinks
Editorial Backlinks are considered the holy grail of backlinks because they are earned naturally, without the owner of the site requesting them. These backlinks are obtained via citations, quotes, and link roundups based on the website’s industry expertise. Such links are highly valued by search engines since they demonstrate authoritativeness, relevancy, and trustworthiness.
Obtaining Editorial Backlinks is no easy task, and requires the creation of high-quality, valuable content that others want to link to. The editorial mention is a great indicator of the authority and credibility of the website, and ultimately drives more targeted traffic to the website. As such, Editorial Backlinks represent a powerful element of any SEO strategy.
2. Guest Blogging Backlinks
Guest blogging on well-established related sites is a popular strategy for obtaining high-quality backlinks. By contributing valuable content to a relevant site as a guest, you can gain exposure to a new audience and earn a valuable backlink to your own website.
Before reaching out to prospective websites, it’s important to research if your target audience frequently visits them and to read their guidelines for contributors. Brainstorm high-quality articles that provide value to the readers while also integrating target keywords and linking back to your own website.
When pitching to contributor sites, emphasize your expertise and what unique content might be interesting to their readers. Be sure to follow their guidelines and provide a sample of your writing to demonstrate your skills. Remember, the key to successful guest blogging is providing value to the article without being promotional.
3. Business Profile Backlinks
There are numerous business directories, industry directories, and social networks where businesses can list their profiles that link back to their website. These platforms include Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many others. Creating a profile on high-quality authority sites can be a game-changer for your website’s SEO.
A diverse backlink profile improves credibility and maintains a strong SEO ranking. The search engine algorithm recognizes backlinks from trusted domains such as educational institutions (.edu) and government websites (.gov). When high-quality links point to your website, it raises your company’s public profile significantly.
By posting your business details and website link on diverse, trusted domains, you will be able to boost your standing and promote your business online. You can likewise increase organic search traffic when people seek your business keywords on search engines. It can also bring more customers to your website with a higher chance of converting them.
4. Webinar Backlinks
By virtually hosting webinars on topics related to your industry, you can attract potential customers and websites looking to reference your content. This not only gives you a valuable backlink but also introduces your company to a new audience. The webinar can be posted as a recording so people can link to it.
It is important to present useful content that others will find valuable. This can include sharing key takeaways from the webinar, providing industry insights, or offering actionable tips. Holding an online webinar in real-time also demonstrates expertise that can boost your website’s authority.
You can invite other industry experts to participate as guest speakers which increases the likelihood of them linking their own websites or social media channels back to your website. These are high-quality backlinks that can build your credibility and visibility, while improving your search engine rankings.
5. Free-Tool Backlinks
Offering useful online tools can have a significant and long-lasting impact on your SEO. Free-Tool Backlinks involve creating a straightforward and practical tool, such as a calculator or generator, which can be easily shared and bookmarked by your target audience.
One of the great advantages of providing a free asset is that it can be easily shared on relevant social media platforms to generate referral traffic and increase link juice to your website. Additionally, this strategy helps build your brand’s visibility and reputation as a helpful resource.
By offering something of value for free, you can earn valuable inbound links from reputable websites to help increase your search engine rankings and organic search traffic. The goal is to provide high-quality and helpful resources that your target audience can’t find anywhere else.
6. Acknowledgment Backlinks
Acknowledgment backlinks are obtained by supporting an event or donating to a cause which normally gains a link to your site. Also known as sponsorship backlinks, they are links on the organizers’ sites or social media posts referencing how you’ve helped them. Your involvement can help build your credibility and drive referral traffic to your website.
Choose a relationship with an organization that is exactly in your niche as search engine crawlers may not look favorably at non-related backlinks. You can look at the source of your rivals’ links and analyze how and where they score these links. This may include evaluating their high-performing content, social media activities, and more.
There’s also an acknowledgment backlink that gives credit to an original source of information, research, or data used in a piece of content. They are used to show appreciation for the original creator and provide an authentic way to build credibility. A high-quality and relevant content that cites credible sources can attract other websites to link back to your site.
7. Guest Post Bio Links
Guest posting on another website carries weight with search engines and can significantly influence SEO. This is because search engines see your contribution of valuable content to another website as a sign of trust and authority. A guest post usually includes a brief bio of the author, which may include a link to your website.
It is crucial to find high-quality sites that align with your target audience and to write inspiring articles that provide value to readers. By doing so, you not only establish yourself as an expert in your niche but also increase your chances of genuine engagement and traffic. They allow you to gain exposure to a new audience while also showcasing your knowledge and skills.
Moreover, guest post bio links provide an excellent opportunity to build your link profile positively. A well-crafted author bio section can drive referral traffic to your website and generate quality leads and sales. It is seen as a natural link by search engines because they are usually placed within the content of the article.
8. Badge Backlinks
Badge backlinks can be a powerful tool for gaining exposure for your website and building high-quality backlinks. By creating a badge program, you can offer other websites the opportunity to display your emblem on their website, which links back to your site. They will benefit from your badge of acknowledgement, while you will receive a high-quality backlink.
To identify potential targets for your badge program, look for websites with comparable audiences. They should have a high domain authority and a high quantity of backlinks, which indicate a reputable and authoritative source. Additionally, make sure that the website is relevant to your niche and shares similar target keywords. Once you have identified potential targets, reach out to them with a proposal to participate in your badge program.
Creating a badge program can take time and effort, but the potential benefits of high-quality backlinks and referral traffic are significant. It can also help build relationships with other companies in your industry, which can lead to mutually beneficial networking and collaborations.
9. Comment Backlinks
Comment backlinks are a simple yet effective method to increase brand awareness and boost engagement on your website. A comment backlink is created when you leave a genuine and meaningful comment on another high-quality blog or website with a link to your own website.
To obtain comment backlinks, search for relevant blogs within your industry and engage in their conversations by leaving thoughtful comments. As you integrate yourself into the community, the opportunity to leave a backlink will present itself. It’s important to ensure that the blogs you are commenting on are of high-quality and that your comments add value to the conversation.
Done correctly, comment backlinks can introduce you to a wider audience and attract new readers to your site. Leaving valuable comments on industry-relevant posts on authoritative blogs can improve your SEO rankings, boost referral traffic, and increase brand awareness. Just avoid spammy practices to ensure the best results.
10. Sponsored Links
Sponsored links are an effective way to improve search engine visibility and boost website traffic. However, it is essential to disclose them as funded to Google and other search engines to avoid any negative impact on SEO rankings. This disclosure is crucial because websites are penalized for using links in a manipulative way.
A website may pay for a backlink for multiple reasons such as promoting a product, service or content, increasing traffic, or improving search rankings and domain authority. The link should be properly tagged as sponsored so search engines will recognize its true nature, and consider it a best practice for link building.
The goal of sponsored links is to increase brand awareness, reach more clients, and boost conversion, and not necessarily increase search rankings. This practice ensures transparency in link building, upholding the integrity of SEO and avoiding potential penalties from search engines.
What Kinds of Backlinks Should You Avoid?
1. Paid Links
Paying for backlinks is never a good idea. Besides costing money, search engines can detect paid links and penalize your website by putting it out of business permanently. They are not forgiving when it comes to manipulating their site’s rankings through artificial link schemes.
Those selling backlinks offer no guarantee against penalization, and all risks will be on your side. Bought backlinks may not even improve ranking at all compared to earning them naturally. They are often classified as bad SEO practices used by scammers and less than ethical companies.
2. Bad Reciprocal Links
Exchanging links with irrelevant websites in an attempt to manipulate search results can have a negative impact on your website’s ranking. You risk losing the trust of search engines when you link to external sites that are not in some way relevant to your customers or content. Stay focused on platforms that align with your target audience and industry so as not to dilute your SEO value.
Using reciprocal links in excess is also considered spam. Watch out for emails from people requesting to exchange links to your website as they can be reciprocal link scams. Check them out thoroughly to ensure that the link will be genuinely of benefit to your business and not appear on an obscure website that receives no visitors.
3. Low-Quality or Irrelevant Directory Links
Including your website on low-quality directories can harm your website’s reputation and ranking. When it comes to building backlinks for a website, not all directories are created equal. In fact, setting up profiles in low-quality or irrelevant directories can do more harm than good. At best, these directory links are useless, and at worst, they can be considered spam by search engines.
The reason for this is second-rate or negligible directories are not trusted or well-regarded. Search engines have become increasingly sophisticated at identifying and penalizing any type of manipulative practices used to artificially boost a site’s search rankings. By setting up profiles in these spammy directories with the hope of gaining backlinks, you are likely to do more harm than good to your site.
4. Irrelevant Links
Backlinks from websites that have nothing to do with your industry or niche will signal to search engines that your website is not relevant to users’ search queries. Even a link coming from an authoritative and reputable site that is totally unrelated to your niche won’t add value to your link building campaign
As such, it is important to focus on high-quality backlinks from relevant sources in your field if you want to be found by more people. This means pursuing links from authoritative sites in your niche or industry, and avoiding irrelevant backlinks that are useless to your site and detrimental to your SEO.
5. Low-Quality Content
Poor quality content or content with spammy links can get your website penalized. It also reflects poorly on your brand and won’t be linked to external sites. No one wants to share weak content unless it’s for entertainment purposes as a punchline to a joke.
Always strive for excellence in your writing. Use a language that sounds professional, and gives an impression that you thoroughly understand your field. Inaccurate information, grammatical errors, and sloppy organization will likely send your readers to one of your competitors.
6. Low-Quality Forum Backlinks
Backlinks originating from forums with little to no relevance to a website’s content are considered low-quality. These backlinks are one of the worst types you can get for your website because they originate from forums that allow users to post links without moderation or verification.
It is important to limit hyperlinks to high-quality, relevant forums. Pertinent forums have the same target audience as your website, and link building to these forums is considered a vote of confidence by search engines. By doing so, your website’s domain authority is strengthened, and organic search traffic is improved.
7. Domains with High Spam Score
A domain’s spam score is determined by its backlink profile, anchor texts, and the quality of its content. High scores indicate that the domain has engaged in spammy practices such as acquiring links through link exchanges, buying links, or using private blog networks. Acquiring backlinks from such domains will not only harm your website’s search engine rankings but also lead to penalties from search engines.
It’s crucial to use tools such as Ahrefs and Moz to check a domain’s spam score before acquiring backlinks from it. You can also use the Google Disavow Tool to negate such high spam score websites and improve your domain authority.
Link's Anchor Text Includes Your Target Keywords
Including your target keywords in a link’s anchor text is an essential aspect of any effective link building strategy. Anchor text is the clickable text within the hyperlink that directs the user to a website. It is essential to incorporate your target keywords into this text to help search engines understand what your website is about.
There is a strong correlation between keyword-rich anchor text and higher rankings for that particular word or phrase. This means that if your anchor text contains what people will type into a search engine, your website is more likely to rank higher in search results for that keyword.
However, it is important to note that the overuse of keyword-rich anchor text should be avoided. Google’s filter identifies websites that excessively use these tactics and may penalize them. Instead, anchor text should be varied and include a mixture of keyword-rich and generic phrases.
In summary, incorporating the search phrases your target audience uses into the anchor text of your backlinks is crucial for higher search engine rankings. However, care should be taken not to overuse them to avoid penalties from Google. Varying your anchor text usage helps you get the best of both worlds.
A Relevant Site Links to Yours
Google bots analyze the quality and relevance of your backlink profile to determine the credibility of your site. Therefore, it is essential to secure links from websites that discuss similar topics. These links serve as a digital vote of confidence, indicating that your site is a reputable source of information.
One way to secure relevant backlinks is through the resource pages found by searching your keyword plus terms like “helpful resources” or “resource list.” Once you find a relevant page, personalize your email pitch and highlight the value your site will add to their resource page. This method can lead to high-quality links and increased search engine ranking.
In conclusion, backlinks from relevant sites help search engines understand the context of your content. Tailoring your link building strategy to focus on related sites can help build a strong backlink profile, increase search visibility, and improve search engine rankings.