12 Backlink Types You Should Aim To Get (And 3 You Should Avoid!)

You already know the power of an optimized link-building campaign, but not all backlinks are created equal. 

In fact, there are over 15 different backlink types – some will seriously boost your SEO and domain authority, and others will hurt your efforts. 

In this post, we’ll cover the 15 different types of backlinks and whether they’re worth your time or should be avoided. 

Want to skip the hard work and get high-quality editorial backlinks for your business? Book a call with us!

1. Editorial Backlinks

This is the gold standard of backlinking and what you should aim to get. Editorial backlinks come from high-quality material and link to your website in relevant content. 

An editorial backlink forms when your content (an article, service page, or homepage) is mentioned as a source of information. The higher the authority of the publication, the more link juice you get from the link. 

To get editorial backlinks, you need high-quality, long-form blog content that offers real value to readers. Include stats, research, quality graphics, and plenty of free value to encourage publications to use you as a source. 

You’ll then need a well-planned digital PR strategy to get your brand featured within top publications – Linkifi can help with this challenging step of the process!

2. Organic Backlinks

An organic backlink is any link placed on a website without your marketing input. In this case, the editor or owner of the website finds your content organically and believes it will interest their audience, so they add a link of their own accord. 

Organic backlinks are great when they’re from high-authority websites. However, if you start getting a lot of links from poor-quality sources, it could seriously hurt your SEO efforts. 

The easiest way to get high-authority backlinks from trusted sources is to create in-depth, valuable content that top sites can’t help but link to. 

3. Press Release Backlinks

Press releases help businesses share important news and information. From opening a new location or launching a new product to reacting to bad press, a press release helps large businesses reach the wider industry quickly. 

Large publications often pick up press releases and share them with their audience – a process known as content syndication. When this happens, you’ll get a press release backlink that points back to your website. 

Although press release links are great for promotion and brand awareness, they’re not useful for link building. Google classes press release links as “unnatural”, so you won’t get anywhere near the same SEO boost. 

4. Dofollow, Nofollow & Sponsored Backlinks

There’s no such thing as a “dofollow” link since all links are “dofollow” by default. This just means the link pointing back to your site has link juice and will affect your SEO ranking. 

Nofollow links, on the other hand, are real. A website can change the coding to make a link “nofollow”, which means it doesn’t pass on its authority to your website. Of all the backlink varieties, you don’t want nofollow links. 

These days, Google prefers “nofollow” links to be labeled as “sponsored” links, which simply means the website is being paid or receiving some sort of benefit for adding the link to their content. 

Whenever you’re working on your link-building strategy, make sure you’re getting “dofollow” links from all quality publications. This is usually standard, but it’s worth checking. 

5. Guest Blogging Backlinks

When you post a guest post on a website, you’ll usually get a backlink pointed back at your site in the author bio at the bottom. These are known as guest blogging backlinks, and although they are easier to get, they don’t have as much impact as editorial backlinks. 

Even so, guest blogging can be an effective link-building strategy. If you can get a post on a large publication, you’ll see a spike in website traffic, and the backlink will help boost your domain authority. 

If possible, add your link to the body of the content so it acts like an editorial link. But don’t be discouraged if you can only add your link to the author bio; this is an industry standard. 

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6. Business Profile Backlinks

By creating business profiles on relevant sites, you can begin your backlink campaign yourself. All you need to do is find reputable, relevant websites to create a business profile, whether that’s social media, forums, or community-based platforms. 

Backlinks from business profiles don’t move the needle much regarding SEO or domain authority, but they help your website indexing and brand awareness. Plus, if you’re struggling to get backlinks, this is a good place to start. 

7. Referral Backlinks

If your business rewards client referrals, you’ve probably got referral links on different websites. These aim to send people to your site and reward the referrer with a commission. 

Referral links are a form of backlink, but again, they don’t have as much impact in the eyes of Google. You’ll notice “referral traffic” in your Google Analytics report, which shows you how much traffic you get from specific referral links. 

Backlinks, on the other hand, might not get any links, but they’re still always passing that link juice down to your website, which helps with SEO and domain authority. 

Don’t forget that Google is incredibly good at distinguishing between different types of links, so don’t use a referral program instead of a link-building strategy – they’ll both get completely different results. 

8. Social Media Post Backlinks

Imagine you post to social media, including a link, and it goes viral. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of people are sharing your post (including your link) – that should skyrocket your SEO, right?

Not exactly. While many marketing experts believe social media is considered a ranking signal for SERPs, others believe the effects are superficial at best because almost all social links are “nofollow”. 

Building a consistent social media presence is an effective way to boost brand awareness, increase visibility, and expand your audience, but it’s not that useful for your backlinking strategy. 

9. Image Backlinks

Next on our list of backlink types is image backlinks. These are great for boosting organic backlinks and work well as part of a wider link-building strategy. 

The most popular types of images shared by businesses are infographics, graphs, maps, and product photos. 

If you can create unique, interesting, valuable images, you’ll find it easier to get backlinks through the images. 

Since Google can’t “see” images, the backlink you get works just as well as an editorial backlink. It’s also easy to get these featured if you can find content on a high-authority website that could use a graphic to boost already-existing content. 

10. Unlinked Brand Mentions

These aren’t actually backlinks, but you have a great opportunity to turn them into SEO-boosting backlinks. 

When a business mentions you in a post without linking back to your website, it’s known as an unlinked brand mention. This can happen for a few reasons:

  • The editor forgot to add your link. 
  • The editor liked your content, but your domain authority or website quality wasn’t good enough for a direct link. 
  • Your brand was mentioned as part of a wider round-up post, so no links were added. 

You can use tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs to quickly find any unlinked brand mentions associated with your name or company. Then, you can reach out to the editor and ask for a link to be included. 

Remember to make sure you’ve got real value to add – for example, show you’ve boosted your DA or that you have an incredibly valuable blog to link to. This will make their decision to include a link much easier. 

Bonus tip: Regularly look for unlinked brand mentions and message businesses as soon as you see them. You’re much more likely to get an article updated if it’s fresh and still in circulation. Getting older posts updated can take significantly longer.  

11. Testimonial Backlinks

Any testimonials from other businesses are an opportunity to earn a high-quality backlink. If someone positively reviews your company, product, or service on their website, the backlink will act as an editorial link, giving you link juice and helping your link-building efforts. 

However, it’s up to you to make sure that the websites posting the links in their reviews are high quality. Low-quality websites will harm your SEO efforts, so be selective about whom you reach out to for collaborations. 

12. Influencer Backlinks

Working with influencers can be a good addition to your link-building campaign if they have a high-quality website to post your link to. Remember, social media shares are great for brand recognition and traffic, but they won’t boost your SEO or domain authority. 

It also needs to be extremely clear that any collaboration isn’t a paid or sponsored promotion. If it is, the link needs to be nofollow to adhere to Google’s terms of use. 

The golden sauce of working with influencers is there’s a higher chance of large publications picking up your brand and posting about it. If a large name in your industry talks about your product or service, it might end up in large publications – that’s the beauty of influencer marketing. 

Types of Backlinks You Should Avoid

The twelve types of backlinks above come with different levels of impact. Some are much more effective than others, but each has a place in your content marketing strategy. 

However, there are three backlink types you should always avoid:

  • Paid backlinks: these are forbidden by search engines and can result in harsh penalties if found. 
  • Irrelevant directory backlinks: although some business directories can be helpful, low-quality directories can harm your brand reputation and won’t help your SEO at all. 
  • Low-quality forum backlinks: forum links don’t improve your SEO since they’re easy to get, so this shouldn’t be part of your link-building strategy. 

Want To Land Editorial Backlinks From High-Authority Publications?

Backlinks are gold in the SEO game, but focusing on the right backlink types is crucial. If you start getting dozens of low-quality links, you’ll see a drop in your SEO and domain authority, so it’s critical to have a well-planned strategy in place. 

If you want to skip the headaches and secure the best editorial backlinks from leading publications, we can help. 

Here at Linkifi, we create impressive digital PR campaigns that guarantee high-authority backlinks for our clients. 

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