Since its emergence, Google has reported over 3,000 changes to its algorithm. It’s something that began as a concept involving a link to a specific web page that offered high-quality, plagiarism-free content. Today, after hundreds of algorithm updates, backlinks are still the most important strategy to get your website to the top of SERPs.
Whether your website is a blog, e-commerce store, web portal, or something else, getting your web pages in top keyword positions might be a priority for you. And why shouldn’t that be? Ranking in Google is one of the best ways to attract visitors.
Creating SEO-friendly content and building backlinks from well-known reputable websites can make a huge difference to your business. Increasing the number and quality of backlinks pointing to your website has a huge impact on search engine rankings and improves its performance in terms of driving traffic.
What is a Backlink?
Also known as incoming links or inbound links, backlinks are a link from one website to another website. It is proven that pages that have backlinks, tend to have better organic search engine rankings. This is why some websites invest in white label link building services and other SEO strategies.
Why are Backlinks so important?
Backlinks signify approval or a vote, if you will, from one website that has a good reputation to another. It helps Google recognize that content provides relevant, credible information. In addition to backlinks, proper indexing of your web pages plays a crucial role in attracting Google’s attention. Now just like in the elections, the more votes you get, the better the chances for you to win. In this case, the chances of your website attracting Google’s attention are higher.
Backlinks essentially provide confirmation that other websites trust your content. Search engines can assume that your information is worth linking to and, thus, worth seeing on a SERP (search engine results page) since numerous websites link to the web page or domain. Therefore, acquiring these backlinks may benefit a site’s ranking or search visibility.
However, it’s also essential to ensure that your website’s pages are properly indexed by Google. If a page is not indexed, it won’t appear in search results, making all your backlink-building efforts go in vain. By ensuring that your content is both high-quality and properly indexed, you’ll boost your chances of gaining more visibility in search results and increasing organic traffic.
What makes a backlink valuable?
Backlinks differ in quality and value. For example, if your website is linked to a highly reputable website like Wikipedia, which Google trusts for factual information, the backlink will be a great help. So, the credibility of the site linking to you is also important to Google, not just the link in its own right.
It is also best if the anchor text your link is on contains your target keywords. In simple terms, you want your links to utilize a keyword that you have been targeting in your content. However, the link will still count as a vote even if it is not on a keyword.
Relevance is the key here, you want to link your website to topically related websites. For example, if you are writing an article about swimming, Google will notice more links to sites about fitness, swimming, swimming gear, and healthcare. But if you link your article to a totally unrelated site, it is likely Google will identify your content as not valuable.
Links to websites range in value, so some backlinks you get are worth more than others. A range of factors relating to the page from which you link. For example, its page authority, content, search engine accessibility, etc., plus the anchor text you use, as well as whether the link has a follow or no-follow attribute, and if any additional meta tags are connected to the linking page, are all factors that have a significant impact on the value of the link.
Types of Backlinks
The impact of a backlink on your SEO profile is determined by a special element in the source code that controls how Google and the other search engines evaluate the backlink. When it comes down to the types of Backlinks, there are two primary types: do-follow and no-follow. Although both these backlinks are different, a reader won’t be able to distinguish between them.
The most important type of links to get for SEO, do-follow links signify to search engines that the information on the page linked to is noteworthy.
A do-follow link in an article implies that the site wants Google to note that the content on the other end might add knowledge to the article. And as such, they are often used as reference links in informative content on the web. From a UX perspective, the user can follow the link to learn more about the subject.
No-follow backlinks are not as important as do-follow backlinks, and SEOs use no-follow links to tell search engines to ignore the link or content on the other end as it’s not considered relevant.
Even though no-follow links are not so valuable when it comes to SEO, and won’t shoot your content to top Google rankings like do-follow, they still have a place in backlinking strategies. It’s important to have a balance of no-follow and do-follow.
Top 10 Backlinks That Are Most Useful For SEO
Below we have listed the most useful forms of backlinks that will help your website achieve its goals. Each backlink type will be classified into do-follow or no-follow backlinks. While there are hundreds of types of backlinks we could mention, these are some of the most current SEO trends in 2022.
1. Links mentioned in the Bio
These kinds of backlinks are no-follow, and sometimes you will only get this link from the author’s bio. Many social media profiles have a particular link in their bio; it might be linked to a brand website, blog, or web portal.
Now you must be wondering if this link will bring any help to SEO because it is a no-follow backlink, but many social media profiles have large audiences, and you can get traffic to your website from curious readers.
So too, social media platforms have skyrocketed in recent years. Thus, it is essential for you to build an online presence. Plus, being on social media will help you understand your audience better.
2. Acknowledgment Backlinks
Sites typically feature acknowledgments when a business presents a gift, sends a representative to speak at an event, sponsors an industry gathering, etc. By employing these acknowledgment backlinks, you may identify the origin of your competitor’s backlinks and develop a strategy to increase traffic to your website.
If your niche requires you to interact with audiences in person or in virtual meetings, make the most of these backlinks. As the name implies, these links are an acknowledgment from other people.
For instance, the organizers of the event at which you spoke made reference to you on their website or posted something on social media with a link to your website. This is a great way to get relevant do-follow backlinks to your website and word-of-mouth brand awareness.
3. Editorial Backlink
These types of links don’t come cheap, meaning, the links only come from highly authoritative websites that have higher rankings and are usually very picky about the guest posts.
Editorial backlinks are outbound links that you usually get from news agency sites like the New York Post, Forbes, or The Guardian. If you have heard about these big publications, you can assume the kind of fee you have to pay for a guest post.
Now you might be thinking about why you cannot choose a small-scale news agency site for a guest post. An editorial link originates from a reliable website with a high domain authority (i.e. it has tonnes of high-quality content and referring domains).
Editorial links can be highly valuable for your website. For example, a writer in a New York post is mentioning a link to your website, this link can bring an abundance of traffic to your website and Google also recognizes backlinks that come from reputable sources.
- Someone credits your website in their own writing as a source.
- Your website is cited as a reliable resource for information by someone.
- Someone attributes an infographic, film, or another piece of visual material to your website.
- Your website is mentioned in a compilation of links to useful articles or resources.
- There is an interview with a representative of your website that provides a link.
4. Guest Post
Guest posts are the most used authority links within the SEO community. A guest link can be paid or even free, but usually, it’s an agreement between one website and another, where one author will write a guest post for another website and get a link placed within the article that is linked to the author’s site.
There is no doubt that guest posts can be very useful and benefit a lot in your rankings. But not all guest posts bring value. Links from trusted, relevant websites add more value.
For example, you are an author of a blog that publishes sports content, so to create a high-quality backlink, you ask a sports news publishing site for a guest post. You write a guest post for them, and they put a link in the post that is targeted toward your website.
Because the outbound link is placed in the guest author’s bio section, the backlink differs from a link in the article. Also, it is more beneficial if the guest post is written for a website that has a similar style and niche as your website.
5. Pillow Links
Citations, social profiles, forum postings, press releases, niche directories, and blog comments are just a few examples of the backlinks that come under the “pillow link” category.
Pillow Links are backlinks that will provide a more diverse view and authenticity to your profile. Unless your site is in a niche with extremely low competition, these links don’t actually offer sheer ranking power. They serve as protection for your other link-building activities instead.
The key here is consistency, these organic links should be used in the baby steps of the ranking process and must be used frequently to construct your website authority.
6. Link in comments
Another marketing technique that many blog authors use, and perhaps one of the rare marketing techniques that does not cost much but add great value. However, this technique requires consistency and takes some time to show results.
Start by commenting on other people’s blogs to build some backlinks, or use this technique to diversify your profile. You can simply add details of your website within the comment as an anchor text on your name.
This old-school trick of spamming other people’s blog comments can bring great value and organic traffic. Be aware that Google algorithms have evolved over the years and do detect spamming or auto-generated comments, but leaving a URL link of your website with a comment is completely fine.
7. Free-tool Backlink
These backlinks are a strong method to have a good impact on SEO. You can offer a tool for free to someone in your industry and ask them to promote the tool on their website with a backlink to your website.
Promote the product on websites with a comparable audience to your own (using SEO tools to find them) as well as the sites that your guest blogging campaigns are aimed at in order to encourage backlinks.
8. Backlinks from Local Directories
According to Google, backlinks from directories don’t bring much help for SEO. Google wants to save people from mass submissions to directories, but that doesn’t mean directories are bad.
A backlink from a reputable and high-quality directory can bring value to your business. If you use quality directories, it can boost traffic to your website, and also, backlinks from local directories are do-follow links.
9. Header, Footer, and Sidebar Links
These links, which are often called “sitewide links” because they appear on every page of a website, are of good use. Google has figured out how to evaluate a link’s worth and relevancy based on where it sits on a page (aka contextual backlinks)
Because it supports content intended to benefit your readers and has a purpose and context, a link embedded in content is invaluable. However, a website’s sidebar, footer, or newly added links all lack context and have little meaning.
10. Press Release Backlink
Even though people barely read press releases, they can be a great help for SEO. When you create a press release for your business and an article gets published by media outlets, you can use them to gain backlinks to your website.
Some press releases will create brand awareness, like introducing your new product or line of products via press releases. You can also inform customers about your new outlet or maybe a brand you have sponsored. You can even ask news outlets to write something about your business, a review, appreciation post, or something newsworthy and link back to you.
Press releases of such kinds create attention and a backlink from media outlets will be of great help too.
Backlinks You Should Avoid
Not all backlinks bring value, some can also bring a negative effect. Even though backlinks sound amazing for SEO, not all are safe. Some bring disadvantages, so understanding the importance of backlinks is critical for link building. Think about the overall quality of your backlink profile.
1. Irrelevant Backlinks
You won’t gain any SEO boost from posting high-quality content on a website that is utterly unrelated to your niche. Additionally, if the website is of poor quality, your manipulative behavior may be penalized.
But being irrelevant isn’t always a reason to downgrade anything. Backlinks from websites that are located in the same region as the searcher’s location have a higher SEO value than backlinks from websites that are located in a different city or region but are more topically relevant.
2. Paid Backlinks
Guest posts and editorial posts can be paid links, and many SEOs agree that buying a backlink can be bad, even though most do. Even so, some backlinks are worth paying for and Google doesn’t object to them.
You can pay for an article in a high authority blog, but paying for posts in a private blog will not cut the deal. It’s even worse if you pay a third party for inclusion on their clients’ sites.
On occasion, SEOs working on websites may be ignorant of a link-building strategy that has already ruined their link profile. Checking a site’s profile for backlinks from low-quality PBNs is, therefore, a good idea.
Even though many people still use this technique, it is an old-style link-building strategy that might go against Google’s algorithm.
After you are acquainted with links that are advantageous, it is vital that you have a mix of each type. Having a variety of link types will make you less dependent on any one type of connection and will make your site appear more natural to Google. If there are any algorithm adjustments in the future, this could be of great use to you.
All of the aforementioned backlink varieties should assist you in elevating your website to the next level in SERPs.
Start developing a successful link-building strategy for your website now that you are aware of the many forms of backlinks. But always remember that getting more links isn’t the only thing that matters; link quality is also a key element in your strategy.
Melissa How is a marketing and SEO expert with 20 years of experience, helping businesses achieve their goals and drive growth. Based in Melbourne Australia, she helps drive more traffic, more customers, and more revenue through best practice digital strategies.