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Backlinks Demystified: A Guide to Choosing the Best Links for Your Website


Backlinks, also known as inbound or incoming links, are links from one website to a page on another website. They are crucial for SEO because search engines like Google view them as votes of confidence. The more high-quality backlinks your site has, the more likely it is to rank higher in search engine results. However, not all backlinks are created equal. Different types of backlinks offer varying levels of value, and understanding these differences is key to building a successful SEO strategy.

In this guide, we will explore the different types of backlinks, their impact, and how to choose the best ones for your website.


What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are hyperlinks that point from one website to another. They serve as a form of endorsement, indicating to search engines that the content is valuable and trustworthy. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sites can significantly boost your website’s search engine ranking. Conversely, low-quality or spammy backlinks can harm your SEO efforts and even result in penalties from search engines.

HTML Example of a Backlink

<a href=”https://www.yoursite.com” rel=”dofollow”>Your Site</a>

This example shows a dofollow backlink, which passes SEO value from the linking site to the linked site.

Main Types of Backlinks

Backlinks can be classified into several types based on their attributes and how they impact your website’s SEO. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for building a robust and effective backlink strategy.

1. Dofollow Backlinks

Dofollow backlinks are the most common type and crucial for SEO. These links pass on what is known as “link juice,” or SEO value from the linking site to the linked site, helping improve the search engine rankings of the linked site. When a reputable site links to your content with a dofollow link, it signals to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.yoursite.com” rel=”dofollow”>Your Site</a>

In this example, the `rel= “dofollow“` attribute is implied and does not need to be explicitly stated, as it is the default behavior for HTML links.

2. Nofollow Backlinks

Nofollow backlinks contain a `rel=” nofollow”` attribute, instructing search engines not to pass SEO value to the linked site. This type of link is often used when linking to untrusted or user-generated content, such as comments or forum posts, to prevent the associated SEO risks. Although nofollow links do not directly contribute to improving search rankings, they can still drive traffic to your site and increase brand visibility.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.example.com” rel=”nofollow“>Example Site</a>

3. Sponsored Backlinks

Sponsored backlinks include a `rel=” sponsored”` attribute, indicating that the link was created as part of a sponsorship or paid advertising. This helps search engines differentiate between organic and paid links, ensuring compliance with search engine guidelines and avoiding potential penalties.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.sponsoredsite.com” rel=”sponsored”>Sponsored Content</a>

Using the `rel=” sponsored”` attribute is crucial when engaging in paid link placements to maintain transparency and adhere to search engine policies.

4. UGC Backlinks

UGC (User-Generated Content) backlinks feature a `rel= “ugc“` attribute, used for links within user-generated content such as forum posts, blog comments, and reviews. This attribute helps search engines identify user-generated content, which can be useful for distinguishing between editorial content and user contributions.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.usersite.com” rel=”ugc“>User-Generated Content</a>

Using the `rel=” ugc“` attribute, site owners can signal to search engines that the link is part of user-generated content, potentially influencing how the link is valued in terms of SEO.

The Hierarchy of Backlinks

Not all backlinks are created equal. Some carry significantly more weight and value than others in the eyes of search engines. Understanding the backlinks hierarchy can help you prioritize your link-building efforts and focus on acquiring the most beneficial links. This section explores the different levels of backlinks, from the gold standard to those that provide niche relevance or local SEO power.

Editorial Backlinks (The Gold Standard)

Editorial backlinks are the most coveted type of backlinks. They are earned naturally when other authoritative sites reference high-quality content. These links are not solicited but are given because the content is deemed valuable and trustworthy.

Why They Are Valuable:

– Relevance and Authority: Editorial backlinks typically come from highly relevant and authoritative websites. This makes them extremely valuable in the eyes of search engines.

– Organic Acquisition: These links are earned organically, which means they are more likely to be seen as natural and legitimate by search engines, reducing the risk of penalties.

– High Impact on SEO: Editorial backlinks can significantly boost your search engine rankings and overall domain authority due to their high relevance and authority.

How to Earn Editorial Backlinks:

– Create High-Quality Content: Focus on producing in-depth, well-researched, and original content that provides real value to your audience.

– Engage with Industry Influencers: Build relationships with influencers and thought leaders who are likely to share and link to your content.

– Stay Updated: Regularly publish content on trending topics and industry news to increase the chances of earning editorial backlinks.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.example.com/high-quality-content” rel=”dofollow”>High-Quality Content</a>

Guest Post Backlinks (Authority Boost)

Guest posting involves writing articles for other reputable websites within your industry. In return, you often receive a backlink to your site. This strategy not only helps in acquiring backlinks but also positions you as an authority in your field.

Why They Are Valuable:

– Establish Expertise: Guest posts allow you to showcase your expertise to a new audience, potentially driving more traffic to your site.

– High-Quality Backlinks: When you contribute to reputable sites, you gain high-quality backlinks that can boost your SEO.

– Brand Visibility: Guest posts increase your brand’s visibility and reach, helping you connect with a broader audience.

How to Secure Guest Post Backlinks:

– Identify Reputable Sites: Target reputable sites that accept guest posts in your niche. Look for sites with high domain authority and a substantial readership.

– Pitch Valuable Topics: Propose topics that are relevant and valuable to the target site’s audience. Ensure your pitches are well-crafted and demonstrate your expertise.

Deliver High-Quality Content: Once your pitch is accepted, write a comprehensive, engaging, and informative article that meets the site’s guidelines.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.reputableblog.com/guest-post” rel=”dofollow”>Guest Post on Reputable Blog</a>

Backlinks from Resource Pages (Niche Relevance)

Resource pages are curated lists of valuable links and resources related to a specific topic. Getting your site listed on these pages can drive targeted traffic and improve your SEO.

Why They Are Valuable:

– Targeted Traffic: Resource pages attract visitors specifically looking for information in your niche, driving highly relevant traffic to your site.

– Niche Authority: Being listed on a well-curated resource page signals that your content is a valuable resource in your niche.

– SEO Benefits: Resource page backlinks are typically from authoritative sites, providing a significant SEO boost.

How to Get Listed on Resource Pages:

– Create Valuable Resources: Develop comprehensive guides, tools, or resources that offer significant value to your niche.

– Reach Out to Site Owners: Identify relevant resource pages and reach out to the site owners, suggesting your content as a valuable addition.

– Showcase Your Expertise: Highlight why your content is a great fit for their resource page and how it can benefit their audience.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.nichewebsite.com/resource-page” rel=”dofollow”>Resource Page</a>

Business Profile Backlinks (Local SEO Power)

Business profile backlinks come from local directories and industry-specific platforms. These links are crucial for improving your local search visibility and can significantly impact local SEO efforts.

Why They Are Valuable:

– Improved Local Visibility: Backlinks from local directories help improve your visibility in local search results, making it easier for potential customers to find your business.

– Increased Trust: Being listed in reputable directories enhances your business’s credibility and trustworthiness.

– Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone): Consistent business information across multiple directories improves local SEO and helps search engines verify your business details.

How to Acquire Business Profile Backlinks:

– List in Local Directories: Ensure your business is listed in major local directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, and industry-specific directories.

– Maintain Consistency: Keep your business information consistent across all listings to avoid confusion and improve local SEO.

– Encourage Reviews: Positive reviews on these platforms can enhance your profile’s visibility and attract more customers.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.localdirectory.com/your-business” rel=”dofollow”>Your Business Profile</a>

Infographic Backlinks

Infographics are a powerful tool for earning backlinks because they are highly shareable and visually engaging. Websites and blogs often embed infographics to enhance their content, providing a backlink to the source.

Why They Are Valuable:

– High Engagement: Infographics attract more engagement due to their visual appeal and concise information presentation.

– Shareability: Infographics are highly shareable, increasing the likelihood of earning backlinks from various sites.

– Content Enhancement: By providing infographics, you offer valuable content that other sites can use to enrich their own articles, earning you backlinks.

How to Earn Infographic Backlinks:

– Create High-Quality Infographics: Design visually appealing and informative infographics that address relevant topics in your industry.

– Promote Your Infographics: Share your infographics on social media, submit them to infographic directories, and reach out to bloggers and websites that cover related topics.

– Provide Embed Codes: Make it easy for others to share your infographic by providing an embed code that includes a backlink to your site.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.example.com/infographic” rel=”dofollow”>View Infographic</a>

The Grey Area – Proceed with Caution

Not all backlinks are beneficial to your SEO efforts. Some fall into a grey area where they can be either helpful or harmful depending on how they are used. In this section, we will explore various types of backlinks that require cautious handling to avoid potential SEO pitfalls.

Comment Backlinks (Low Value, Potential Spam)

Comment backlinks are links that you place in the comment sections of blogs or forums. While they can drive some traffic and contribute to a backlink profile, they are generally considered low-value and can be risky if not managed correctly.

Why They Can Be Risky:

– Low Relevance: Comment sections are often less relevant to the main content, reducing the value of the backlinks.

– Spam Potential: Excessive use of comment backlinks, especially on low-quality or irrelevant sites, can be flagged as spam by search engines.

– Minimal SEO Impact: These backlinks typically do not carry much SEO weight and are often nofollow, meaning they do not pass SEO value.

Best Practices:

– Focus on Quality: Only leave comments on high-quality, relevant blogs and forums where your contribution adds value to the discussion.

– Avoid Overuse: Do not rely heavily on comment backlinks as a primary SEO strategy. Use them sparingly and thoughtfully.

– Ensure Relevance: Ensure that your comments are relevant to the content and that the backlinks are placed naturally within meaningful contributions.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.yourblogcomment.com” rel=”nofollow”>Your Blog Comment</a>

Directory Backlinks (Mixed Bag)

Directory backlinks are links obtained from web directories that list websites by category. While some directories can be valuable, many are low quality and should be approached with caution.

Why They Can Be Risky:

– Variable Quality: The quality of directories varies widely, with many being outdated or having low authority.

– Potential for Penalties: Excessive use of low-quality directory links can lead to search engine penalties.

– Limited SEO Value: Many directories provide little to no SEO value, especially those that are not curated or moderated.

Best Practices:

– Choose High-Quality Directories: Focus on well-established directories with strict editorial standards and high domain authority.

– Niche Relevance: Opt for directories that are relevant to your specific industry or niche to ensure that the backlinks are contextually appropriate.

– Moderation and Curation: Prefer directories that actively moderate submissions and maintain high standards for listings.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.webdirectory.com/your-site” rel=”nofollow”>Your Site in Directory</a>

Paid Backlinks (Risky Business)

Paid backlinks are acquired by purchasing links from other websites. While they can provide a quick boost in rankings, they come with significant risks, including penalties from search engines.

Why They Can Be Risky:

– Against Guidelines: Buying backlinks is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can result in severe penalties.

– Quality Control: Purchased links are often from low-quality sites that can harm your SEO rather than help it.

– Temporary Gains: The benefits of paid backlinks are often short-lived and can lead to long-term SEO damage if discovered by search engines.

Best Practices:

– Avoid Buying Links: Focus on earning backlinks through high-quality content and legitimate SEO practices.

– Transparency: If you do engage in any form of paid link building, ensure transparency by using the rel= “sponsored” attribute.

– Monitor Backlinks: Regularly monitor your backlink profile to identify and disavow any low-quality or purchased links.

HTML Example:

<a href=”https://www.paidlinksite.com/your-link” rel=”sponsored”>Sponsored Link</a>

Social Bookmarking Backlinks

Social bookmarking backlinks are links obtained from social bookmarking sites where users can save and share their favorite web pages. While they can drive traffic and enhance visibility, their SEO value is often debated.

Why They Can Be Risky:

– Low Authority: Many social bookmarking sites have low domain authority, which can limit the SEO value of the backlinks.

– Potential for Spam: These sites can become targets for spammy link-building practices, which can negatively impact your SEO.

– Limited Direct Impact: While they can drive traffic, their direct impact on SEO rankings is


  • Ankit Pandey

    Hey, I'm Ankit Pandey, the Founder behind Ranklogs which is a culmination of my over 15 years of experience in the SEO industry. My journey has been fueled by a deep-seated passion for digital marketing when I founded SeoEaze, a leading digital marketing agency, in 2009, which has helped numerous businesses achieve their online goals. My expertise lies in crafting innovative SEO strategies that drive organic growth and enhance online visibility. Over the years, I have successfully worked on over 500 digital marketing campaigns for some of the largest brands in the industry. This extensive experience has honed my ability to deliver exceptional results and stay ahead of industry trends. When I'm not immersed in the world of SEO, you can find me sharing insights and connecting with fellow professionals on LinkedIn or Twitter (X).

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