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What Are The Different Types of Backlinks In SEO?

By the Rhino Rank team
4th Mar 2024

In SEO, relevant and authoritative backlinks are seen as virtual “votes of confidence” from other websites. Therefore, the quality of the backlinks you build and your overall backlink profile is arguably one of the most important factors in determining how well your website will rank on Google’s search results and unlocking previously untapped visibility and website traffic.

However, not every backlink is graded the same.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss why you need to build backlinks, the different types of backlinks that you can build, and which backlink strategies you should prioritize if you want to achieve better search visibility, authority, and traffic.

Key Takeaways

  • Backlinks are essential for improving website credibility and rankings. High quality backlinks should be acquired through techniques such as editorial link building, guest blogging, and curated links.
  • Avoid paid links, irrelevant directory links, and spammy backlinks to prevent negative SEO impact.
  • Analyze your link profile regularly with tools like Ahrefs and Moz, while utilizing creative strategies such as broken link building, visual links and infographics, and testimonial links to build a diverse portfolio of quality backlinks.

Understanding Backlinks and Their Importance

Search engines will take into account the credibility of a website when considering its rankings on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Therefore, building high quality backlinks can help improve your position in search results significantly.

However, irrelevant, spammy, or low quality link schemes can have the opposite effect and are not beneficial for any site looking to elevate their rankings or authority.

So, it is crucial to focus on building a diverse backlink profile that contains links from a wide range of high authority websites and sources. By doing this, you will be promoting your website as a leading source of knowledge and expertise in your industry, which will subsequently increase your site’s online visibility and trustworthiness.


Dofollow vs. Nofollow: The Key Differences

There are two main types of backlinks: dofollow links and nofollow links.

  • Dofollow links – These links allow link authority, or “link juice”, to pass from one website to another. For this reason, dofollow links are the most valuable type of backlinks in SEO as they allow websites to increase their Domain Authority (DA) and rankings on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
  • Nofollow links – On the other hand, nofollow links offer little to no SEO advantage since they don’t lead to any transfer of power or authority between sites.

You should always aim to build dofollow backlinks because they tend to bring the fastest results in terms of improving website rankings. However, it is still important not to neglect nofollow backlinks as these may be beneficial for raising your overall brand visibility and generating referral traffic.

Having an even mix of both types of backlinks can positively influence a website’s overall SEO performance, as this will create the most natural looking backlink profile, meaning your website won’t suffer the penalties associated with spammy or manipulative link building tactics.

High-Quality Backlinks: Boosting Your SEO Strategy

It’s well known that search engine rankings and website traffic can be significantly improved by building authoritative, high quality backlinks.

Below, we have listed some of the best link building methods currently available.

Curated Links and Niche Edits

Curated Links, also known as Niche Edits or in-content links, are the most common and most natural way to build backlinks. By placing links within relevant and authoritative content, these links are more likely to appear as organic recommendations and therefore typically deliver more “link juice” than another link type. Curated Links are therefore the perfect solution for building a natural and relevant link portfolio and driving value to target keywords.

Guest Blogging Backlinks

Guest Posts, also known as Guest Blogging, is a great way to enhance your link portfolio and drive strong topical relevancy signals to your website, which will naturally boost your sites authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of Google. By publishing your content on other sites related to your industry, you will be able to boost your brand visibility and generate referral traffic from people who are interested in your products or services. Obtaining guest blogging backlinks should therefore be a key element of your SEO campaign.

Visual Backlinks

Visual links are created using custom or royalty-free images which are then published on a relevant and authoritative website. A backlink is then secured by placing the target URL into the image Alt Text. Visual backlinks pass just as much value as text based links, and are a great way of securing highly relevant links, within existing content that is already indexed and has already developed its own authority.

Editorial Backlinks

When it comes to SEO, editorial backlinks are highly valued. These links are typically formed when:

  • Your website is listed as an information source.
  • A person from your business is quoted by another person.
  • Your website is featured in a round-up article.

To obtain these types of backlinks, you should focus on creating unique, evergreen articles that highlight your expertise and showcase your industry knowledge. Producing engaging and easily sharable content, such as blog posts, infographics, or short videos, is a great way to do this. This will help to showcase your company as a leading authoritative figure and the go-to place for people looking for your type of products or services.

Natural Backlinks

Natural backlinks, also known as organic backlinks, are links that are placed by real website owners on real websites. These links are formed when a website owner is made aware of your business, deems your site content to be valuable to their audience, and decides to link their website to yours. Search engines will consider these natural backlinks as a “vote of confidence”, which will subsequently increase your site’s authority and position in the search results. To attract these types of backlinks it is important to create unique and intriguing pieces of high quality content that are likely to attract the attention of other business owners or influences in your industry.

Creative Link-Building Techniques

By thinking outside the box, you can acquire quality backlinks and enhance your website’s visibility, credibility, and overall SEO performance. Following techniques such as creating and promoting new visuals and infographics, broken backlink building, and posting testimonials enable your website to stand apart from the competition and propel it toward higher rankings on popular search engines.

Infographics and Visual Assets

For boosting your brand’s reach and domain authority, creating visually attractive assets for your website is an effective way to earn quality backlinks. To do this effectively, ensure you focus on presenting data in a unique yet informative way. By leveraging design tools, like Canva or Adobe, you can easily create, edit and duplicate stunning images, graphics, and videos. Promoting these visual assets through social media and email outreach campaigns is a great way to attract attention and get people talking about your brand and republishing your work.

Broken Link Building

Broken link building is an excellent tactic that involves identifying broken links on relevant websites, contacting the website owner to notify them of the issue, and offering replacement content along with a backlink to your own site. This link building method creates relevant backlinks and helps to promote your website as an authoritative industry y. To quickly identify which sites have broken links, you can utilize website crawling tools like Screaming Frog, SEO Spider, SEMRush, and Ahrefs Site Explorer. All of these tools will be able to tell you which website pages and links are broken, as well as provide you with other SEO metrics so you can classify how authoritative the site is overall and if it would be worth getting a backlink from them.

Testimonials and Reviews

Submitting testimonials to companies you have worked with or have purchased products from is a great way to acquire backlinks. When submitting a new company testimonial, make sure you include a link back to your web page and that the testimonial offers the company valuable insight into your experience with them. This tactic not only helps you acquire backlinks but also builds relationships with other companies in your industry. You may also get comment backlinks or recognition backlinks by giving helpful feedback about businesses on various review sites.

Avoiding Harmful Backlinks

It’s important to understand that not all backlinks will positively affect your SEO performance and page rankings. Search engines like Google see high quality links as “votes of confidence” for a website, helping to increase its credibility and authority. On the other hand, low quality links, acknowledgment backlinks or links that have been created in an attempt to deceive users and manipulate a site’s rankings break Google’s guidelines, meaning these sites will lose credibility, and could see their search engine rankings and website traffic plummet.

Paid Links

Search engines like Google are tolerant of paid links if they’re labeled as sponsored or paid, though such practices can still have a negative influence on your search rankings. To avoid this unwanted effect, it’s important to build up a natural and varied backlink portfolio through reliable and safe link building methods, like curated backlink building or guest blogging.

Links Farms and Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

Link farms are a collection of websites that all link to each other to artificially inflate their search rankings. Private Blog Networks (PBNs) are similar to link farms, but the difference is that PBNs are built with the sole intention of linking to websites outside of their network. Both link schemes violate Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines, so using them to manipulate your search engine rankings can cause you to receive a hefty penalty, resulting in websites being removed from the search results.

Spammy Comment Links

Creating a healthy and varied backlink profile can be challenging if you are constantly receiving links from irrelevant directories, forums filled with fake profiles, or sites that sell unregulated products. By using SEO tools like Moz and Ahrefs, you can quickly identify a website’s spam score. Websites with a high spam score are considered spammy or low quality by search engines, meaning backlinks from these sites could damage your SEO metrics and should be avoided at all costs. Once these links have been identified, you can request they be ignored by search engines by submitting a Disavow Form with Google Search Console.

Analyzing and Monitoring Your Backlink Profile

To increase the effectiveness of your link building efforts and improve SEO performance, you need to conduct regular analyses and keep track of your backlink profile. Evaluating both the quality and quantity of websites that are linking back to your site will allow you to ensure you’re only creating higher-caliber links from reliable sources.

Using SEO tools such as Ahrefs, or SEMRush will allow you to easily conduct a backlink audit, this will enable you to assess which sites are currently linking to you, the domain authority and spam scores of these sites, and what anchor text is being used. By analyzing this information you will be able to optimize your link building strategy to ensure you are securing strong yet diverse links, which will ultimately help promote your website’s visibility and SEO performance.

Competitor Analysis: Learning from Others’ Success

Analyzing your competitors’ backlinks is crucial to understanding their SEO strategy and improving your backlink building methods. By reviewing your competitors’ backlinks, you can quickly identify new backlink opportunities and discover which websites would be more likely to collaborate with you on guest posts and joint projects. You will also be able to see which low quality websites they are receiving links from and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.


To be successful in the world of SEO, it’s important to understand the different types of backlinks that are available, and how each method of backlink building can impact your website’s rankings, authority, and trustworthiness. Focusing on building backlinks from high quality web pages is a must for any business that wants to excel online, whether that is done through guest postings, obtaining editorial links, or by enlisting the help of a trusted link building agency.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Google’s stance on backlinks?

Google views backlinks as “votes of confidence” from one website to another. This means that genuine and high quality backlinks can help to improve a site’s ranking, while manipulative or low quality links can negatively affect rankings.

What are the main types of backlinks?

There are two main types of backlinks: dofollow links and nofollow links. Dofollow links allow a website to pass authority or “link juice” to the website they are linking to, whereas nofollow links have a specific rel=”nofollow” stage attached to them, meaning they don’t have any direct SEO benefit.

What are the best backlinks?

Dofollow backlinks are the most impactful link type. Editorial backlinks and in-content links from respected websites can have a tremendous influence on your site’s visibility and trustworthiness. These links can therefore elevate search engine placements and drive much needed organic and referral traffic to a website.

How can I acquire high quality backlinks?

You can build high quality links by creating unique and informative content that people naturally want to link to, by utilizing customer endorsements and review backlinks, or by publishing guest posts, curated links, and visual links.

How can I avoid harmful backlinks?

To avoid any risks associated with black hat links, it is important to focus on building a natural and diverse backlink portfolio. By concentrating on ethical link strategies, instead of obtaining paid links from spammy websites or partnering with a Link Farm, website owners can ensure that their site abides by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

What tools can I use to analyze and monitor my backlink profile?

Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush can all be used to analyze a site’s backlink profile and provide useful insights into the quality and quantity of backlinks associated with your website. Conducting regular audits will enable you to assess the impact of your link building strategy over time, and identify new opportunities or areas of improvement.