14 Types of Backlinks:
the Good, the Bad, and the Best
Acquiring backlinks is an essential part of an effective SEO plan.
Links tell search engines that a site is recognized, trusted, and, therefore, worthy of a top spot on search engine results pages (SERPs). But it’s not just the number of backlinks that appeals to search engines; it’s also the types of backlinks.
Depending on the link type, backlinks have varying levels of influence on search engine rankings and on the results you can see from acquiring them . The rest of this post will look at the different types of backlinks, explain their value, and offer tips for how you can acquire the most valuable and effective backlinks.
3 Factors That Impact Link Value
Before we review a full list of backlink types, it’s important to understand what makes a link valuable. As mentioned above, backlinks are not all created equal. There are a variety of factors that can make backlinks more valuable than others, and there are also some that make a link very bad for SEO. The 3 main factors that impact link value include the following:
1. The Authority of the Linking Site
The most valuable types of backlinks come from quality websites. Links from sites that are recognized as top authoritative resources will send more positive signals to search engines than links from low-quality, lesser-known sites.The most valuable types of backlinks come from quality websites.
To determine the authority of a site (and the value of a link), look at the linking site’s Alexa Rank. The better (i.e., lower) the Alexa Rank of the linking site, the better the link is for SEO. Sites with a low Alexa Rank are more authoritative than sites with a high Alexa Rank. You can check a site’s Alexa Rank using Alexa’s Site Overview tool.
2. Do Follow vs. No Follow Status
When a publisher adds a link to their website, they can use HTML code to set the link as either “do follow” or “no follow.”
- Do follow links tell search engines to notice and give SEO value to the links.
- No follow links tell search engines to ignore the links and give them less SEO value.
Because do follow links send better signals to search engines, they are more valuable than no follow links. You want links to your site to be coded as do follow. However, a no follow backlink can still drive traffic to your website.Because do follow links send better signals to search engines, they are more valuable than no follow links. To know if a link is a do follow or no follow, you can use the NoFollow Simple Chrome extension to easily check the link’s code. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC, used with permission.
3. On-Site Link Location
Websites are set up in sections, and how valuable a link is may be impacted by the section in which it appears. The most valuable links are placed within the main body content of the site. Links may not receive the same value from search engines when they appear in the header, footer, or sidebar of the page. This is an important factor to keep in mind as you seek to build high-quality backlinks. Look to build links that will be included in the main body content of a site.
The Best Types of Backlinks
Now that you know what makes backlinks valuable, let’s look at a list of the best backlinks for SEO. As you learn how to create backlinks, these are the strategies that will provide the best long-term SEO results.
The best types of links in SEO come from editorial mentions. An editorial mention is when another website refers and links to your website in a piece of quality content. An editorial backlink may be included as:
- Citing someone from your company or something from your content as a source of information
- Referring to your website as a resource for additional information
- Citing your website as the creator of an infographic
- Including your website or content in a link roundup
- Interviewing someone associated with your website
How to Get Editorial Backlinks:
- Develop a strong content marketing
- Create high-quality, evergreen content that serves as a go-to resource.
- Create shareable content that other sites will want to talk about.
- Publish content that shows your website and brand as a thought leader in your industry so that other sites will want to cite, source, and interview you.
Use Alexa’s Competitor Keyword Matrix to find popular keywords and topics you haven’t written about yet. Consider keyword popularity to find trending topics you can write about on your website.
Guest Blogging Backlinks
Guest blogging is another way to acquire valuable backlinks. When you submit a guest post to a website, you’re often allowed to include an editorial backlink within your content. These types of backlinks are a reliable way to build trust and authority through other influential publications.
How to Get Guest Blogging Backlinks:
Build a list of valuable guest blogging sites and master guest blogging outreach.
Business Profile Backlinks
In most cases, when you create an online profile for a business, you can include a link back to your website. These links on business listings, social media networks, and industry-specific directories show search engines that a website is established and high quality.
How to Get Business Profile Backlinks:
Create profiles on well-known directories or review sites (such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, Foursquare, Capterra, etc.) in your industry. Or consider using a service like Synup or Yext that creates and manages profiles for you.
Creating a valuable resource on your site often encourages other sites to link back to it. A high-value piece of content that often leads to links is a webinar recording. Other sites frequently link to or even embed other brand’s webinars on their site, leading to both links and brand mentions.
How to Get Webinar Backlinks:
Repurpose your webinars by posting them as recordings on your website so people can visit and link to them. Use blog promotion to attract attention to the webinar recording, and find guest blogging sites that may be interested in using the webinar as resource on their site.
Free Tool Links
Another way to get sites to link back to something valuable on your site is by offering a free tool. A free tool could be a basic tool (like an auto loan calculator) or a scaled down version of a paid tool (like Alexa’s Site Overview and Audience Overlap tools). If the tools are valuable enough, others will link to them in their content. Plus, on free versions of paid tools, you can add call-to-actions to sign up for the full product/service which drives acquisition in addition to awareness.
How to Get Free Tool Backlinks:
Create a simple tool or free version of your paid tool. Use Alexa’s Audience Overlap tool to find sites that have a similar audience who would be interested in using your tool, and use guest blogging outreach to connect with the sites and see if they would like to feature your free tool.
Good Types of Backlinks
There are other types of backlinks that don’t provide as much value as those listed above, but can still support your overall link profile and help boost your SEO.
An acknowledgment backlink is when a website mentions and links to a website in reference to a relationship or sponsorship. These links typically don’t have much content related to the brand or what they do, and instead, are simple mentions that:
- Indicate that the brand made a donation
- Show that someone from the brand is speaking at or sponsoring an event
- Include a testimonial for the linking website’s brand
How to Get Acknowledgment Backlinks:
Use Alexa’s Competitor Backlink Checker to find backlinks your competitors get traffic from. Identify sites where they acquired acknowledgment backlinks, and look for places in those sites’ content where you can do the same.
Guest Post Bio Backlinks
In some cases, guest blogging sites don’t allow or won’t include a link back to the author’s site within the main body of content. Instead, they allow the author to include a link in the author bio. While not as valuable as a link in the body of the post, bio backlinks can still add value to a website’s link portfolio.
How to Get Guest Bio Backlinks:
Use the same guest posting strategies mentioned above and also perform a backlink analysis on your competitors to see where they have acquired guest post links.
A way to build backlinks by providing value to other sites is through branded badges. A branded badge is an award that a brand creates and gives out to other sites as a status symbol. For example, you could create a list of the top sites or best brands that are published on your site, and then give badges to each brand on the list so that they can show the status on their site. You include a link back to the article on the badge to create the link.
How to Get Badge Backlinks:
Look for a group of sites that you can qualify together and create a badge to identify them. To find similar sites, use Alexa’s Audience Overlap tool to identify groups of sites that share themes and audiences.
Newsworthy Press Release Backlinks
A press release can serve double duty for marketing efforts. It can alert media outlets about your news and also help your website gain backlinks. But it can only build links effectively if executed properly. Only write and distribute press releases when a brand has something newsworthy or interesting to share . This strategy can gain links on the actual press release post as well as on the stories that media outlets write about it.
How to Get Press Release Backlinks:
When your brand has news, write a press release and use a service like PRWeb or Newswire to distribute it to media outlets.
When you comment on a blog post, you are usually allowed to include a link back to your website. This is often abused by spammers and can become a negative link building tool. But if you post genuine comments on high-quality blog posts, there can be some value in sharing links, as it can drive traffic to your site and increase the visibility of your brand.
How to Get Comment Backlinks:
Don’t overdo it with this strategy. Only focus on commenting on relevant, high-quality blogs or forums related to your industry. To find sites relevant to your industry and audience, use Alexa’s Audience Overlap tool to find similar sites your audience uses.
Bad Types of Backlinks
Because high quality backlinks are such an important part of SEO, it’s easy to believe that every link, no matter how valuable, is beneficial. But not all links are valuable. Some links have little to no value, while others can actually negatively impact SEO . As you engage in link building, avoid creating these types of backlinks.
While it can seem like an easy way to acquire links, you should not pay other publishers and websites to link to your site. Google explicitly says that buying or selling links “can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.”
Non-Newsworthy Press Releases
As mentioned above, interesting and newsworthy press releases can help a brand gain attention and links. But it can also appear spammy if a brand repeatedly spreads press releases that aren’t newsworthy and are created for the sole intention of gaining links.
General Business and Article Directory Links
Just as you don’t want to overdo it with press releases, you also don’t want to overreach with directory listings. Stick to the most trustworthy, authoritative, and industry-relevant directories and don’t create profiles on spammy directories just for the purpose of generating links.
Joining dozens of forums for the purpose of posting links back to your site is also bad. Only join high-quality forums where authentic discussions are the primary purpose, not spamming a thread with posts about your content and brand.
Build a Better Backlink Strategy
Links are an essential part of any good SEO strategy. But remember, it’s not just about the quantity of links; it’s also about the quality of the links .There are different types of backlinks that come with varying levels of value and importance. Create your link building plans around acquiring top-tier links that will be the most beneficial to your SEO. To find the best backlinks for SEO, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. You’ll get access to all of the audience, industry, and keyword research tools mentioned in this post that can help you build an effective link building plan.
Article Produced By
Jennifer is Marketing Manager at Alexa. With a knack for syntax and passion for building connections, she drives daily content strategy to bring you the latest and greatest happenings within Alexa and the wide world of web analytics and marketing.