12 Types of Backlinks: A Comprehensive Guide to Boosting Your Site’s SEO


May 2024
types of backlinks

In the complex landscape of search engine optimization, backlinks are key endorsements from one site to another, greatly influencing a website’s ranking and visibility on search engines. However, not all backlinks are created equal—their value can vary dramatically depending on their source and context. This comprehensive guide delves into the nuances of different types of backlinks, each playing a unique role in your SEO strategy. By understanding and focusing your efforts on acquiring the most beneficial links, you can effectively tailor your link-building approach to enhance your site’s visibility and climb higher in search engine results.

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links from one website to a webpage on another website. When a web page links to any other page, it’s called a backlink. In the past, backlinks were the major metric for the ranking of a webpage. A page with a lot of backlinks tended to rank higher on all major search engines, including Google. This is still true to a large extent.

Role of backlinks in SEO

Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site to another. Essentially, backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content. If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can infer that content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth surfacing on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). So, earning these backlinks can have a positive effect on a site’s ranking position or search visibility.

Understanding the intrinsic value of backlinks in boosting your site’s visibility, it’s important to delve into the types of backlinks that can be formed—specifically, the distinction between do-follow and no-follow links. This differentiation is crucial as it directly influences how search engines account for the links pointing to your site.

Do-Follow Backlinks

Do-follow backlinks are the type of backlink that everyone wants. Just keep in mind that those coming from respected sites hold the most value. This type of backlink can help improve your search engine rankings. However, those that are artificially created or that come from low authority websites can potentially harm your site. By default, all links are do-follow links unless they are modified to be no-follow links, which means they can influence rankings by passing on the SEO benefits of the site where it is built from to the hyperlinked site.

No-Follow Backlinks

No-follow backlinks are links with a rel=”nofollow” HTML tag applied to them. The no-follow tag tells search engines to ignore that link. Because no-follow links do not pass PageRank they likely don’t influence search engine rankings. Originally, the no-follow attribute was created to prevent comment spam on blogs. However, many social media platforms and forums still use no-follow as this discourages spammers because their efforts won’t impact search engine rankings.

Each of these link types plays a crucial role in your website’s SEO strategy. While do-follow links may carry more weight, no-follow links can also contribute to the visibility and referral traffic of your website. Understanding how to utilize both types effectively is key in your SEO efforts.

12 types of backlinks

Let’s move forward to exploring some specific types of backlinks that can be beneficial for SEO.

1. Editorial Backlinks

Editorial backlinks occur when your content (or your product) is cited as the source of certain information, or when your site is mentioned as a contributor to a story or article. These mentions include a link back to your site.

How to Acquire Them: To gain editorial backlinks, the quality of your content must be exceptional. Often, this involves creating original research, high-quality guides, or content that taps into current trends. Networking with journalists and writers, or even issuing press releases can also lead to natural editorial links.

2. Guest Blogging Backlinks

Guest blogging backlinks are obtained when you write a guest post for another website and include links back to your own website. This is a dual-benefit arrangement where the host site gets free content, and the guest author receives exposure and backlinks.

How to Acquire Them: Start by identifying blogs in your industry that accept guest posts. Prepare pitches that align with their content guidelines and propose valuable article ideas. Remember, the focus should be on providing value to the readers of the host blog, rather than just getting a backlink.

3. Backlinks from Webinars

Links from webinars can be included in resources pages, transcripts, or summaries that hosts or participants publish about the webinar.

How to Acquire Them: Hosting or participating in webinars can be an excellent way to get high-quality backlinks. You can work with industry experts and organizations to create informative sessions that warrant mentions and links from other attendees and industry observers.

4. Free-Tool Backlinks

Offering a free tool, template, or software can earn you backlinks, as users may write about it and share it with others, providing a link back to your original tool.

How to Acquire Them: Develop a simple yet valuable tool that addresses a common need within your industry. Promote this tool through your channels and relevant online communities to increase its visibility and the likelihood of getting linked.

5. Acknowledgment Backlinks

These are links where a website mentions and links to another website in recognition of a relationship or contribution to a particular event, cause, or other significant occurrences.

How to Acquire Them: Be active in your community or industry by sponsoring events, contributing to charities, or engaging in collaborative projects. These activities often lead to online acknowledgments that include backlinks.

6. Guest Post Bio Backlinks

When you author a guest post for another blog, often you’re allowed to include a link to your site in your author bio. This can be an effective way to link back to your site using a targeted anchor text.

How to Acquire Them: Similar to guest blogging backlinks, but focusing on utilizing the author bio section effectively. Ensure your bio is compelling and the link adds value to readers who might want to learn more about you or your business.

7. Infographic Backlinks

Infographics are a popular format for conveying data in a visually engaging way. Backlinks from infographics come when other sites use your infographic and link back to your site as the original source.

How to Acquire Them: Create informative, visually appealing infographics that provide valuable insights on trending topics within your industry. Share them on social media platforms, infographic directories, and outreach to bloggers who might find your content relevant to their audience.

8. Business Profile Backlinks

These are backlinks that come from creating profiles on business directories and social networks. They are typically easy to acquire and help establish your web presence.

How to Acquire Them: Create comprehensive profiles on business directories, social networking sites, and industry-specific directories. Make sure to include a link back to your website in each profile.

9. Badge Backlinks

Badge backlinks are a type of link-building strategy where you create a badge to be awarded to other sites as a recognition for their status or achievement. The badge links back to your site.

How to Acquire Them: Design an attractive badge that organizations or individuals would be proud to display on their site. Identify potential recipients who meet the criteria for your badge and reach out to them with a proposal to accept the badge, which includes a backlink to your site.

10. Comment Backlinks

Comment backlinks come from leaving comments on blogs, forums, and other interactive platforms. While most of these links are no-follow, they can still drive traffic and increase visibility.

How to Acquire Them: Participate in discussions on relevant blogs, forums, and social media platforms. When commenting, add value to the conversation. This approach is more about building visibility and less about direct SEO benefit.

11. Press Release Backlinks

Backlinks from press releases are generated when you distribute news about your business through press release websites, and these stories are picked up by various media outlets.

How to Acquire Them: Create newsworthy press releases that highlight significant achievements, product launches, or other important events in your company. Distribute these through reputable press release distribution services to maximize reach and potential backlink acquisition.

12. Forum Backlinks

Forum backlinks come from contributions or interactions in online forums. These links can be included in your forum signature or within the posts themselves.

How to Acquire Them: Join forums that are relevant to your industry or niche. Become an active, contributing member of those communities. Use a signature that includes a backlink to your site, and where appropriate, include links in your posts that add value to add value to the conversation. This approach is more about building visibility and less about direct SEO benefit. 

Best Practices for Acquiring Quality Backlinks

1. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

While it might be tempting to try and acquire as many backlinks as possible, it’s important to prioritize the quality of the links. A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites are far more beneficial than a large number of low-quality links from lesser-known or potentially spammy sites.

2. Create Shareable Content

The cornerstone of acquiring good backlinks is creating content that people want to share and link to. Whether it’s informative blog posts, compelling infographics, or engaging videos, your content should provide value to your audience.

3. Utilize Relationships

Building relationships with other webmasters, bloggers, and influencers in your industry can lead to natural backlink opportunities. Engage with them through social media, comment on their posts, or offer to collaborate on projects that benefit both parties.

4. Guest Blog Strategically

Guest blogging is not just about placing links; it’s about positioning yourself as an authority in your field. Choose reputable sites that align with your niche and can offer valuable exposure to your target audience.

5. Monitor Your Backlinks

Use tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Moz to monitor your backlinks. These tools can help you see which backlinks are benefiting your site and which ones might be harmful or broken, allowing you to take action accordingly.

6. Be Patient and Consistent

Building a strong backlink profile doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistent effort and patience. The key is to keep at it, refining your strategies and building relationships over time.

7. Follow Webmaster Guidelines

Always adhere to the webmaster guidelines laid out by search engines like Google. Engaging in shady practices, such as buying links or participating in link schemes, can lead to penalties that may negatively impact your SEO.

8. Diversify Your Link Building Efforts

Don’t rely on just one type of backlink; instead, aim for a diverse backlink profile. This not only enhances your SEO but also spreads your risk. If one type of backlink loses value due to changes in search engine algorithms, your site’s overall ranking won’t be severely impacted.

Advanced Link-Building Strategies

Lets dive the  into advanced link-building techniques that elevate your SEO efforts to the next level

  • Leveraging Competitor Backlinks

Analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles can provide valuable insights into potential linking opportunities. Tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can help you identify where your competitors are getting their backlinks from. You can use this information to target similar sources and gain backlinks from the same authoritative sites.

  • Reclaiming Lost Links

Sometimes you might lose backlinks due to changes on the linking pages or the removal of pages. By monitoring your backlinks regularly, you can identify lost links and reach out to the webmasters to see if there’s a possibility to reclaim them.

  • Link Reclamation from Mentions

Use tools to monitor mentions of your brand across the web. If you find a mention without a link, reach out to the publisher and request that they turn the mention into a backlink.

  • Broken Link Building

This involves finding broken links on other websites within your niche and suggesting your content as a replacement. It’s a win-win: webmasters get to fix broken links, and you gain a backlink.

Characteristics of Valuable Backlinks

1. Relevance

A valuable backlink comes from a site that has content closely related to your own. Search engines prioritize link relevance, believing that a link from a closely related site is a strong indicator of the quality and usefulness of your content.

2. Authority

Backlinks from authoritative and trusted websites carry more weight. Authority is often measured by metrics like Domain Authority (DA) or Trust Flow. These metrics reflect a site’s influence and reliability. Higher authority sites pass more value through their links.

3. Traffic

Links from high-traffic websites can also be extremely beneficial, not just for SEO but for driving direct traffic to your site. A backlink from a popular site can increase your site’s visibility and bring in a steady stream of visitors.

4. Placement

The placement of a link on a page affects its value. Ideally, a backlink should be embedded within the body of the content and contextually surrounded by related text. Links placed in footers or sidebars are generally less valuable.

5. Anchor Text

The anchor text of a backlink should be relevant to the linked page. Ideally, it should include a keyword for which you’re trying to rank. However, it’s important to ensure that anchor text is varied and natural, avoiding over-optimization which can lead to penalties.

6. Dofollow vs. Nofollow

While dofollow links pass along ranking power and are highly sought after, nofollow links can also be valuable. They can drive traffic and increase your site’s visibility, even though they don’t pass link equity.

7. Uniqueness

A backlink that is one of the few external links from a host site can be more valuable than one that is among hundreds. A less crowded linking page can pass more value to your site.

8. Longevity

Links that remain active for a long time can provide continuous benefits to your SEO. Temporary links, such as those from event pages or campaigns, may not have the same lasting impact.

9. Natural Link Profile

A natural link profile has varied sources and types of backlinks. It includes a mix of link types (text, image), sources (blogs, news sites, tutorials), and follows a natural growth pattern over time. Avoid patterns that suggest artificial link building.

Leveraging Analytics for Backlink Optimization

To maximize the effectiveness of your backlinks, regularly employing analytics tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and Moz is crucial for maintaining a healthy backlink profile. These tools help you monitor the health of each link, ensuring they originate from high-authority sites and are not improperly tagged as no-follow or spam. 

Additionally, by analyzing how individual backlinks influence your website’s traffic and search rankings, you can identify the most impactful types of backlinks. This insight allows you to strategically focus your efforts where they are most beneficial. It’s also essential to manage the distribution of your anchor text; ensuring it remains varied and contextually relevant helps avoid penalties associated with over-optimization and manipulative practices.

Types of Backlinks to Avoid

In the pursuit of improving your website’s SEO through backlinks, it’s equally important to recognize and avoid certain types of links that can negatively impact your search engine rankings. Here are some types of backlinks that should generally be avoided:

1. Paid Links

Buying backlinks is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Paid links that pass PageRank can be seen as an attempt to manipulate search engine results and can lead to significant penalties. Avoid any strategy that involves paying for links directly.

2. Low-Quality Directory Links

While some directories are valuable, many exist solely for SEO link building and offer little to no value. Links from these sites can be seen as spammy by search engines and can harm your SEO.

3. Links from Irrelevant Sites

Backlinks should come from websites that are relevant to your content. Links from sites that have no topical relevance can be seen as manipulative and may not help—and might even hurt—your site’s performance in search rankings.

4. Link Farms

Link farms are groups of websites that link to every other site in the group purely for the purpose of inflating link counts. This is a type of spamdexing and is highly penalized by search engines.

5. Links from Sites with Non-Natural Link Profiles

If a site itself has a spammy, artificial link profile, links from it to your site can negatively impact your SEO. Always assess the overall link profile of the partner site before pursuing backlinks.

6. Comment Spam

Automatically generated comments on blogs, forums, and news articles with links back to your site do not contribute to your SEO and can lead to penalties. These are typically no-follow, but they can also harm your site’s reputation.

7. Links from Penalized Sites

Receiving backlinks from sites that have been penalized can adversely affect your search engine rankings. Always check if a site has a good standing before accepting or seeking a backlink from it.

8. Widget Links

Some websites use widgets (like embedded weather apps or counters) to include hidden links. Google advises against using such widgets that contain links that are not visibly intended as part of the widget or that manipulate PageRank.

9. Excessive Reciprocal Links

While trading a few links with partners or industry-related pages is acceptable, excessive link exchange can be seen as an attempt to manipulate PageRank and is frowned upon by search engines.

Recovering from Backlink Penalties

Despite best efforts to adhere to SEO best practices, it’s possible to face penalties due to problematic backlinks. Let explore the effective strategies to identify and rectify issues

  • Identifying Negative Backlinks

Use SEO tools to identify potentially harmful backlinks. Look for signals like low domain authority, spammy website themes, or irrelevant topical relevance.

  • Disavowing Toxic Links

If you cannot get a harmful link removed, use Google’s Disavow Tool to tell Google to ignore these backlinks when assessing your site. This should be used carefully, as incorrect disavowal can harm your site’s performance.

  • Submitting a Reconsideration Request

If your site has been penalized by Google, clean up your backlink profile and then submit a reconsideration request. Be transparent about what went wrong and what steps you have taken to correct the issues.


Backlinks are essential for SEO, serving as powerful endorsements that enhance a website’s visibility and credibility. By identifying valuable backlink types and adopting effective acquisition strategies, you can significantly improve your site’s search engine performance.