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20 Types of Links in SEO That Really Matter in 2024

Introduction

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As we step into 2024, it’s clear that understanding and leveraging these diverse link types is no longer just an option but a necessity for anyone serious about digital marketing. 

This guide introduces you to 20 essential link types, shedding light on how they differ, interact, and contribute to a website’s SEO success. 

We’ll explore beyond the familiar terrain of standard backlinks, diving into the nuances of less conventional links like forum post links and Reddit links, which are becoming increasingly influential. 

Additionally, we will unravel the complexities of internal linking, not just as a navigational tool but as a potent factor in enhancing user engagement and search engine rankings.

Understanding Links

Hyperlinks, commonly known as links, are the building blocks of the internet. They connect web pages to each other and allow users to navigate from one piece of content to another. 

The anatomy of a link is straightforward. It typically consists of three key components:

  • Anchor Text: This is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. The choice of anchor text can significantly influence both user experience and how search engines interpret the link’s relevance to the content it points to.
  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator): The web address to which the link directs. It’s the destination of the hyperlink and plays a crucial role in guiding users and search engine crawlers to the desired page or resource.
  • Attributes: Links can carry various attributes that instruct search engines on how to treat them. These include:
  • Nofollow links: Tells search engines not to follow the link or pass along any link equity.
  • Dofollow links: The default state for a link, indicating that search engines can follow it and that it may pass link equity to the target page.
  • Sponsored: Used to mark links that are advertisements or paid placements, informing search engines that the link is commercial in nature.

Internal Links

Internal links are hyperlinks that connect different pages within the same website, and are therefore very important for SEO and user engagement. Improving their structure makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index their content effectively.

The links help distribute link juice – the value or equity passed from one page or site to another through hyperlinks that contribute to a page’s ranking potential.

Link Juice

The main purpose of internal links is to transfer this link equity within the site. This is done to display a page’s importance and the website’s hierarchy to search engines like Google. The most effective way to make use of internal links is through ‘aggressive’ anchor texts that highlight relevant keywords. 

These anchor texts serve as a guide from one page to another within the same domain. It’s also a great idea to link from pages with higher Page Rank to those with lower Page Rank, especially new pages.

External Links

External links are outbound links from your website to other external resources. These links are very important for establishing a website’s credibility and trustworthiness. 

External and internal links

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just SEO they’re good for. If you get a link from a reputable site in your niche, your digital PR will also get a boost, as readers will associate you with established brands and sites. 

Types of Links for SEO: Backlink Categories

Backlinks are incoming links from other websites. They play a large role in determining a website’s authority and therefore a large role in determining its search engine ranking. Backlinks are categorized based on their origin and quality:

  1. Natural backlinks: These are organic endorsements from other websites. They usually result from high-quality content and/or a strong online presence, and therefore it’s no surprise that they are highly valued in SEO – symbolizing genuine recognition from other web entities.
  2. Editorial backlinks: Earned through content quality and relevance, editorial backlinks are given by other websites that recognize the value in what you offer. They are often seen as a vote of confidence in your content’s credibility and authority.
  3. Outreach backlinks: These links are created by deliberate link-building efforts, where you reach out to other websites and request a link back to your site. Whether your outreach backlinks are effective is entirely dependent on the relevance (and personalization) of your effort. 
  4. Low-quality backlinks: Links from questionable sources like link farms or paid link schemes can actually harm your website’s SEO. That’s why it’s important to avoid these practices – they can lead to penalties from search engines unless you disavow the links promptly.

Natural Backlinks

Natural backlinks are the holy grail of SEO. These links are given spontaneously by other website owners or content creators who find your content valuable. 

With that in mind, the best way to obtain as many natural backlinks as possible lies in creating the highest quality content possible. If it provides your audience with real value, other websites will recognize that and will want to link to you. 

The content itself can range from informative blog post to compelling infographics or innovative research. The idea is to make your content stand out in terms of quality and utility. The more your content stands out, the higher your likelihood of receiving natural backlinks from authoritative sources.

Editorial Backlinks

These are a form of natural backlinks that occur when your content is cited as a source of information in another publisher’s content. Truly, these backlinks are highly valuable – they come from high-authority websites and signify trust and credibility.

To earn editorial backlinks, focus on creating newsworthy content. Be sure it is both unique and credible. Establishing relationships with influencers and bloggers in your niche can also increase the chances that your content will be referenced.

Outreach Backlinks

Last but not least, outreach backlinks are the result of direct efforts to contact other websites and request a link. This strategy requires a personalized approach – you will be attempting to identify potential websites, pitch them, and get them to publish your content, along with the link.

SEO Outreach

However, this requires extensive research, so as not to waste pitches unnecessarily. You must understand the target website’s audience, and offer them something of value in return.

Typically, this could be a guest post, but you can also give them an insightful study or a useful resource. Whatever the case may be, the key is to be relevant and respectful while offering clear value. 

Backlink Quality Metrics: Measuring Effectiveness

Contrary to popular belief, your pages won’t climb atop the SERPs by only aiming for high-authority websites. Instead, backlink quality depends on several key metrics, including:

  • Domain authority: This metric reflects the overall strength of an entire domain. A higher domain authority indicates a greater likelihood of ranking well in search results.
  • Page authority: Unlike domain authority, page authority measures the influence of a specific page. Pages with higher authority are more likely to rank well.
  • Relevance: This ensures the backlink comes from a site with content related to your niche. Relevance is crucial for the backlink’s effectiveness.
  • Trust flow: It measures the trustworthiness of a site based on the quality of its backlinks. A high trust flow is indicative of a reliable, reputable site.
  • Citation flow: This metric counts the number of citations or backlinks a site has. It indicates the site’s popularity or influence based on the number of sites linking to it.

Anchor Texts in SEO: The Hidden Power

Anchor texts are the clickable texts in a hyperlink. In SEO, they give context to both users and search engines about the content of the link’s destination. Some of the different types of anchor texts include:

  1. Exact match: These anchor texts include the exact keyword that the linked page targets. For instance, a link to a page about ‘Organic Gardening’ might use ‘organic gardening’ as its anchor text. This type can be very effective for SEO but should be used judiciously to avoid appearing manipulative to search engines.
  2. Naked URLs: Here, the URL of the linked page is used as the anchor text (e.g., ‘www.example.com’). While not particularly informative in terms of context, naked URLs can appear more natural in a link profile and are straightforward for users.
  3. Partial match: These anchors contain a variation or a portion of the target keyword. For a page about ‘Organic Gardening Tips’, a partial match anchor might be ‘tips for organic gardening’. This type strikes a balance between keyword targeting and natural link profiles.
  4. Branded: This type uses the brand name as the anchor text. If ‘GreenThumb’ is a brand, the anchor might simply be ‘GreenThumb’. Branded anchors help in building brand recognition and can enhance the perceived trustworthiness of the link.

The exact use cases for each depend on both the context and your specific SEO needs. Exact match anchors are best for more aggressive campaigns, while branded

Identifying and Managing Low-Quality Backlinks

As mentioned before, not all backlinks are beneficial. Low-quality backlinks from spammy or irrelevant sites can harm your SEO. That’s why it’s so important to regularly run backlink analyses and identify any harmful links.

Good Backlinks vs. Bad Backlinks

There are some great tools out there like Google Search Console which offer ways to disavow these links – essentially telling search engines to ignore them when they assess your site.

Link Earning Strategies: Beyond Traditional Outreach

Acquiring high-quality SEO links world goes beyond just outreach, though. It involves strategies and tactics such as: 

  • Creating link-worthy content: The foundation of any successful link-building strategy is the creation of content that naturally attracts links. This involves producing high-quality, informative, and engaging content that resonates with your target audience. The content should provide value, whether it’s through original research, comprehensive guides, compelling infographics, or insightful blog post. The key is to create content that others find useful, shareable, and worth referencing.
  • Leveraging social media: Social media platforms are powerful tools for amplifying the reach of your content and attracting links. By actively engaging with your audience on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you can increase the visibility of your content. This includes regularly posting updates, participating in discussions, and sharing valuable information. The more your content is shared and talked about on social media, the greater the chances of it being linked to from other websites.
  • Building industry relationships: Establishing and nurturing relationships with other industry professionals, influencers, and content creators can be incredibly beneficial. This network can provide opportunities for collaborations, such as guest blogging, joint webinars, or co-authored research papers, all of which can result in valuable backlinks. Additionally, these relationships can lead to your content being shared within industry circles, further increasing its reach and link potential.
  • Consistent content production: Regularly producing content keeps your audience engaged and helps establish your website as an authority and get more white label link building opportunities. A consistent content schedule ensures that there is always something new and valuable for your audience to consume, share, and link to. This can be a mix of different types of content, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, and case studies, each offering a unique angle and value to your audience.

Specific Backlink Types and Their Impact on SEO

As you’ve probably seen by now, different types of backlinks all have their roles in establishing a healthy backlink profile. But what are they exactly? Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable SEO links and how to acquire them:

1. .GOV Links 🏛️

Highly authoritative, these links are viewed as credible by search engines and can be acquired through active participation in government-related activities or by offering resources valuable to government services.

2. .EDU Links 🎓

Regarded for their educational value, these backlinks are typically obtained by collaborating with educational institutions or offering scholarships, leveraging the academic authority of these entities.

3. .ORG Links 🏢

Belonging mostly to non-profit organizations, .ORG links are esteemed for their trustworthiness. Engaging with non-profits and providing valuable resources or support can help in securing these links.

4. Editorially-Given Links 📖

Such links are a testament to content quality, acquired naturally when content creators are compelled by the content’s value to include it in their own work.

5. Guest Blogging Links ✍️

Guest blogging involves writing insightful articles for other websites to earn backlinks. Selecting blogs with relevant audiences and offering valuable insights is essential for success in this approach.

6. Manual Outreach Links 📧

Obtained through direct communication with website owners or editors, these links require personalized outreach efforts, highlighting the mutual benefits of the link exchange.

7. Links From Traditional Media or Press 📰

These powerful links come from high-reach and authoritative media sources and can be attained by engaging in newsworthy activities or building relationships with journalists, offering a significant boost in visibility and credibility.

8. Internal Links 🔗

Crucial for spreading link equity throughout a website, internal links enhance navigation and user experience. Using relevant anchor texts and strategically linking to important pages optimizes their effectiveness.

9. Links From Complementary Businesses Within Your Niche 💼

These links drive targeted traffic and enhance niche relevance. Collaborating for promotions or content exchanges with businesses related to your niche can be a fruitful strategy.

10. Niche Forum Profile Links 👤

Active participation in niche forums with your website link in your profile or signature can drive targeted traffic and increase your brand’s visibility.

11. Social Media Post Links 🌐

While they don’t directly impact SEO, links in social media posts can significantly increase traffic and brand visibility, especially when the content is engaging and resonates with the audience.

12. Links From Reddit 💻

Reddit links can drive substantial traffic and enhance visibility. Actively contributing valuable content and insights to the community, without overt self-promotion, is key to leveraging Reddit effectively.

13. Links From LinkedIn Company Directory 📁

Links from LinkedIn, especially for B2B businesses, lend professional credibility and can drive significant traffic. Maintaining an active, engaging LinkedIn presence and participating in relevant groups are effective ways to acquire these links.

14. Links From Local Directories 📂

For local businesses, links from local directories are essential for improving local SEO. Listing your business in reputable directories with accurate information increases local visibility.

15. Links From Ebooks 📘

If widely shared and referenced, Ebooks can be a valuable source of backlinks. Including linkable, useful content and distributing them widely can enhance their effectiveness as a backlink source.

16. Links From Local News Sites 📰

Local news site links are valuable for improving local SEO for businesses. Engaging in community events or activities that garner local news attention can secure these links.

17. Google My Business Link 🗺️

A link from a Google My Business profile is instrumental in boosting local search visibility. Keeping the profile complete and regularly updated is crucial for optimization.

18. Resource Guide Links 📚

Resource guides, when linked as valuable information sources, aid in link building. Creating and promoting in-depth, niche-relevant guides can attract backlinks. In turn, both the readers and the algorithm will consider your site a reputable source. 

19. Infographic Links 📈

Well-designed infographics are often shared and linked due to their visual appeal and informational value. Make sure they’re branded, and place a disclaimer requiring anyone who uses it to credit your site and link to it. 

20. Links From Q&A Sites ❓

Participating in Q&A platforms like Quora and providing valuable, relevant answers can drive targeted traffic and improve online visibility, making it a worthwhile strategy for link acquisition. This is especially important 

FAQs 

What are Links and Backlinks?

Links are connectors that facilitate navigation between web pages or websites. Backlinks are links from other websites to yours, crucial for SEO as they demonstrate your content’s relevance and credibility to search engines.

Why are Backlinks Important for SEO?

Backlinks act as endorsements from one site to another, signaling authority and relevance to search engines. High-quality backlinks can significantly improve a website’s ranking in search engine results pages.

What are the Different Types of Links?

Links are categorized into internal links (connecting pages within the same site) and external links (connecting to other sites). External links include inbound (or backlinks, from others to your site) and outbound links (from your site to others).

What Distinguishes Various Types of Backlinks?

Backlinks vary in source and quality. Natural backlinks are earned passively, while manual outreach requires active effort. Editorial backlinks come from recognition by other publishers. The quality and relevance of the linking site are key factors.

How Can I Attract Natural Backlinks to My Website?

Attract natural backlinks by creating high-quality, valuable content, engaging with your industry on social media and forums, collaborating with influencers, participating in relevant discussions, and ensuring your website is technically optimized for SEO.

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Sia Mohajer

Get acquainted with Sia Mohajer, the brain behind some of BlueTree's most successful link-building campaigns. Read, learn, and grow.

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