Link Building

Types of Backlinks You Should Know in 2024


In the dynamic landscape of SEO, backlinks play a pivotal role in increasing the visibility and ranking of your website. These are essentially links from one website to another, acting as a vote of confidence and improving your site’s authority. This blog post will take you through a comprehensive journey of understanding different types of backlinks, their uses, benefits, and how to effectively leverage them in your SEO strategy.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into the diverse world of backlinks, it’s important to grasp the basics. Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links, are links that direct towards your website from another site. They play a significant role in search engine optimization (SEO) as search engines like Google interpret them as a signal of the content’s quality. Websites with a high number of quality backlinks are usually considered to have greater relevance, leading to higher rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs).

types of backlinks

1. DoFollow Backlinks

DoFollow backlinks are the gold standard in the world of SEO. They pass on SEO benefits from the referring site to the linked site, effectively transferring ‘link juice’ and improving your website’s domain authority.

Uses and Benefits

DoFollow backlinks are extremely beneficial for improving the search ranking of your website. When a website with high domain authority links to your website, it signals to search engines that your content is valuable and reliable.

According to a 2020 study by Backlinko, there’s a strong correlation between the number of referring domains (with DoFollow backlinks) to a page and its Google ranking. In fact, they found that the top-ranking pages on Google SERPs tend to have the most DoFollow backlinks.

Best Practices

Consider guest blogging on reputable sites in your niche, engaging with influencers, or creating high-quality, shareable content as ways to earn DoFollow backlinks. An example would be Neil Patel, a renowned digital marketer. He frequently guest blogs on sites like Entrepreneur and HubSpot, earning valuable DoFollow backlinks to his site.

2. NoFollow Backlinks

Introduced by Google in 2005, NoFollow backlinks tell search engines to ignore the link and not pass on any SEO benefits or ‘link juice’.

Uses and Benefits

Despite not passing on SEO benefits directly, NoFollow backlinks play a crucial role in creating a natural backlink profile. They drive traffic to your site and enhance brand visibility. For instance, links from comments on high-traffic blogs or forums might be NoFollow, but they can still drive substantial traffic.

Moreover, Google updated its algorithm in March 2020 to treat NoFollow links as a ‘hint’ rather than a directive, meaning these links might still pass on some SEO value.

How to Use NoFollow Backlinks

NoFollow links are typically obtained through blog comments, social media posts, sponsored content, or forums like Quora and Reddit. For instance, a brand might sponsor a post on a popular blog. The resulting backlink might be a NoFollow link, but it can still drive significant traffic and brand awareness.

3. UGC (User Generated Content) Backlinks

User Generated Content (UGC) backlinks are a result of content generated by users, such as blog comments, forum posts, or reviews. These backlinks have a ‘ugc’ attribute, introduced by Google in 2019.

Uses and Benefits

UGC backlinks can be a powerful tool for businesses to build community, engage users, and improve SEO. They create a sense of authenticity and trust around your brand. For instance, Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign encouraged users to share their experiences with personalized Coke bottles on social media. This resulted in a plethora of UGC backlinks pointing towards their site.

It’s hard to quantify the direct SEO impact of UGC backlinks due to their relative novelty, but they add diversity to your backlink profile and contribute to a natural link-building strategy.

4. Sponsored Backlinks

Sponsored backlinks are those that are purchased from another site, typically through advertising or sponsored content. These backlinks have a ‘sponsored’ attribute and should ideally be marked as such to comply with Google’s guidelines.

Uses and Benefits

Sponsored backlinks are a quick way to get your brand in front of a new audience, drive traffic, and increase visibility. Though these links are supposed to be marked and thus not pass link equity, they can still bring you referral traffic and lead to organic links.

For instance, if you sponsored a post on a popular tech blog like TechCrunch, the visibility could lead readers to reference your content in their blogs, generating natural, organic backlinks.

Remember to remain transparent and mark your sponsored backlinks appropriately to avoid penalties from Google.

5. Internal Backlinks

Internal backlinks are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. They are mainly used for navigation purposes and can significantly improve the user experience.

Uses and Benefits

Internal backlinks are crucial for distributing page authority throughout your site and for helping search engines to understand the structure and hierarchy of your website. By linking to your own pages, you increase the chances of keeping visitors on your site longer, thereby reducing the bounce rate.

According to a study conducted by Moz, a well-structured internal linking strategy can increase the indexation of your website by up to 200%. This means that your pages will appear in search results more frequently, boosting your visibility and traffic.

Tips on Optimizing Internal Backlinks

Ensure that your internal links are relevant to the content of the source page. For example, a blog post on “The Best SEO Practices for 2023” could have an internal link to a related post like “Understanding Google’s Latest Algorithm Update”.

6. External Backlinks

External backlinks, also known as outbound links, are links from your website to a different domain.

Uses and Benefits

Though they don’t directly improve your website’s SEO, external backlinks can establish your site as a credible source of information, thereby improving your brand’s reputation. Moreover, linking to high-quality sites can increase the value of your content in the eyes of your users.

As per a Reboot study in 2016, external links to relevant high-quality sites can enhance your site’s ranking. It implies the ‘good neighborhood’ notion in the SEO world where linking to authority sites reflects positively on your site.

Techniques for Obtaining High-Quality External Backlinks

Cite credible sources while stating statistics, data, or including quotes in your content. Always ensure these links provide additional value to your users. For example, if you’re writing a post about mental health statistics, linking to resources from established institutions like WHO can enhance your content’s credibility.

7. Image Backlinks

Image backlinks are generated when another website uses your image in their content and links back to your site.

Uses and Benefits

Image backlinks can help drive traffic to your website, especially if your images are unique, high-quality, and relevant. They can also improve your site’s SEO as Google considers image backlinks while ranking web pages.

Canva, the graphic design tool, provides a good example of how to utilize image backlinks. Many of their customizable templates appear in Google Images, and when used by other websites, they link back to Canva, providing valuable backlinks.

Tactics for Leveraging Image Backlinks

To leverage image backlinks, create unique, high-quality images and allow others to use them in return for a link back to your site. Always ensure that the alt text for the image includes relevant keywords.

8. Natural Backlinks

Natural backlinks are unsolicited links to your website that are placed by other website owners because they find your content valuable or relevant.

Uses and Benefits

Natural backlinks are highly valued by search engines and can significantly boost your site’s SEO. They’re an indication of the quality of your content and can enhance your site’s authority and visibility.

For example, a comprehensive, well-researched guide on “How to Start a Podcast” could earn natural backlinks from other sites discussing podcasting or digital marketing, improving its ranking on SERPs.

How to Attract More Natural Backlinks

To attract natural backlinks, focus on creating high-quality, unique, and engaging content. Regularly updating your content and staying on top of industry trends can also make your website a go-to resource and increase the chances of earning natural backlinks.

9. Manual Backlinks

Manual backlinks are those you actively pursue through link-building strategies, such as guest blogging, influencer marketing, or submitting your website to directories.

Uses and Benefits

Manual backlinks can enhance your site’s visibility, increase traffic, and improve your SEO. They can help you reach a wider audience, especially when you collaborate with high-authority websites in your niche.

Strategies for Creating Manual Backlinks

Guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to build manual backlinks. You could also reach out to influencers in your niche for collaboration or submit your website to reputable directories. Always ensure that your link-building efforts are ethical to avoid penalties from search engines.

10. Self-Created Backlinks

Self-created backlinks are created by practices such as adding a backlink in an online directory, forum, blog comment signature, or a press release with optimized anchor text.

Uses and Benefits

While these can sometimes be seen as spammy or black-hat SEO tactics, when used appropriately, they can contribute to your backlink profile.

Pitfalls to Avoid with Self-Created Backlinks

It’s important to be cautious when creating these types of backlinks, as Google generally doesn’t give much weight to them. In some cases, excessive use of self-created backlinks could lead to a penalty. Therefore, focus more on earning natural or manual backlinks.


Understanding and leveraging different types of backlinks is crucial for a well-rounded SEO strategy. From DoFollow to NoFollow, UGC to Sponsored, Internal to External, Image, Natural, Manual, and Self-Created backlinks – each has its unique benefits and uses. A successful backlink strategy is about maintaining a balanced and diverse link profile. Remember, the quality of backlinks is always more important than quantity, and ethical link-building practices should be your priority.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This section could contain common questions that readers might have, providing concise and informative answers. For instance:

  1. What is a good number of backlinks?

    There’s no perfect number as the quality of backlinks is more important than quantity. Several high-quality backlinks from relevant, authoritative sites can be more beneficial than a large number of low-quality links.

  2. How long does it take for backlinks to affect SEO?

    It can take several weeks to several months for a backlink to affect your site’s SEO. Patience and consistent high-quality content creation are key to a successful backlink strategy.

  3. Can backlinks hurt your site?

    Yes, if you engage in unethical practices like buying backlinks or obtaining them from irrelevant or spammy websites, you could be penalized by Google.

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