7 Types of Backlinks and How to Get Them
It’s no secret that links are valuable for any website. Not only do they prove to a search engine that your site has authority, but you also have the potential to reach an untapped audience (that could potentially turn into customers) if you use the right techniques.
Link-building forms a crucial part of many SEO strategies for these exact reasons, but it’s not safe to assume that any link is a good link. There are factors that you need to analyse in order to make an improvement on your rankings, especially when it comes to finding your target opportunities.
In this guide, we’ve shared seven types of backlink and how you can get high-quality versions to improve your SEO strategy:
1. Directory links
As the name may suggest, directory links come from websites that act as a directory for people looking for certain products or services.
Online directories can accept free or paid submissions, so you may need to assign a small budget towards your link-building activities if you’re looking to build multiple directory links. You may also need to consider subscription-based directories as these sites charge a fee for publishing your submission on a yearly basis.
Being featured on directories has the benefit of driving more targeted and relevant traffic back to your site. If your site is optimised, there’s a higher chance of these visitors converting into customers.
How to get them
The best way to secure a high-quality directory link is to find an authoritative niche directory. Try to avoid general directories and focus on those which are specific to your service offering or location.
For example, let’s say that a company who sell iPhone repairs in Glasgow are wanting to submit their business to some directories. Instead of going for large, national directories such as Yell.com, it’d be better for the business to find Glasgow-specific directories like GlasgowCompany.co.uk.
The same company should also consider finding some iPhone or mobile repair-specific directories to secure a listing. This is because a search engine will provide more weight to similar sites that are linked together, allowing the iPhone repair company to gain authority from the niche directory site.
2. Editorial links
Along with building awareness around your brand, editorial links also aid with helping the organic search rankings of the website being linked to. This is because high-profile publications such as The Huffington Post and The Daily Mail have a high Domain Authority (DA), are trusted by search engines, and identified as being good quality sites.
Therefore, when one of these high-DA publications link to your site, the search engine passes on some of the trust to your website. This is regarded as one of the factors in a search engines’ algorithm, providing your website with a stronger chance of ranking for your keywords.
How to get them
Let’s say that a company who sells shoelaces has just launched a new line of coloured products. The business owner decided to create a press release to raise awareness of the launch and included a link back to their website. However, the story isn’t very interesting to people who are unaware of the brand and so the piece is likely to be successful.
So, what if the shoe lace seller could find out an interesting fact about Brits and shoes? What if it was discovered that just 20% of people know how to tie their own shoe lace? Now, that’s much more interesting and appealing to a wider audience, right? So, the business owner commissioned a survey that backed this up.
Instead of focusing the press release around the fact that the new range is launching, use the hard-hitting stat as your main focal point and subtly mention your new range within the piece. Not only is it more likely to feature in a newspaper, but it appeals to a bigger audience and you’re likely to attract more potential customers as a result.
3. Blog comment links
Often referred to as one of the oldest SEO link building strategies, it’s still useful to have blog comments in your backlink profile.
Blog comments are the simplest form of link to get and can be done by visiting a web page and leaving a message in response to the publisher.
One great benefit of blog comment links is that there are 83.1 million new posts being published every month, meaning you’ll never run out of places to comment!
How to get them
In order to get the best results from your comment, make the comment meaningful and relevant to the article that you’ve just read. Posting something like “awesome post!” will not only make it obvious to the blogger that you’re just there for a link, but it also ruins your chances of using a comment on that blog to direct traffic back to your own site.
Instead, find blogs that are similar to your niche and wherever possible, link to one of your similar posts as opposed to your home page. When a search engine notices the similarity in the topic and/or theme of both posts, the link is likely to be seen as more valuable.
Forum links are also great to diversify your backlink profile and whilst they’re also known as an old-school tactic, you gain them by interacting and providing advice to people.
There are thousands of forums ranging from computing to beauty advice and although it may account for a bit of time in order to read and respond to other forum commenters, you have the advantage of positioning yourself as an expert in your niche. This could lead to other forum commenters becoming future customers.
How to get them
The best way to get a high-quality forum link is to post in forums that are relevant to what your business offers. Like the way in which a good directory link comes from a niche site, you should think about the topic and community before inserting a link into a forum.
You should also consider the Spam Score and Domain Authority of the site. For example, TomsHardware.co.uk is a forum for computers, laptops and technology discussion. It has a DA of 52 and a Spam Score of 3/17, which would indicate that this forum is a great option for technology or computing businesses to get involved with.
5. Guest posts
You’ll have probably heard the debate on whether or not you should be doing guest posting but as long as you approach it in the right way and follow white-hat techniques, they’re a great way to build links to your site.
Guest posts happen when you write an article and contact an editor with the hopes of them publishing it on their site. If their guidelines permit, you can include a link within the content back to your site.
It’s worth noting that your sole objective for guest posting shouldn’t be to gain backlinks. Editors and publishers can spot link-thirsty companies from a mile away, so your main reason for the article should be to provide their readers with some value.
How to get them
Whilst there has been some debate recently about the best way to approach guest posting, you should always find a niche website that specialises in the topic you’re wanting to talk about.
In order to get the best results from your guest post, ensure that the blog has a substantial audience and engaged social media pages. Make your article interesting, long-form and relevant for the best chances of it getting accepted and provide value to the existing readers of the blog.
6. User profile pages
Unfortunately, not all of your guest post targets will allow direct links back to your site in the blog post itself. Instead, many of these sites will allow you to have a single link in your author section and/or user profile page.
Here’s an example of a user profile link within our guest post on Social Media Examiner:
Although the link may not be as valuable to one in the main content in terms of SEO as many are no-followed, there’s no doubt that having links on user profile pages is beneficial to building your brand and allowing readers of the article to get to know you further.
How to get them
As soon as you’ve written your guest post, include an author bio in your pitch or Word doc. It’s usually up to the editor if they decide to include it or not, but sending a brief description of yourself can make the article more personal and relatable if they know who it’s coming from.
7. Infographics and images
Content marketing doesn’t always come in the form of content and even though you may need to write a small press release to explain your research, you can use imagery such as infographics to appeal to a wider audience.
By nature, not everyone is a reader. Some people are visual people and prefer to look at things as opposed to reading them. This is why creating infographics is a great idea for businesses looking to build backlinks and can even be pitched to your guest post targets.
How to get them
By using the Creative Commons license, you have a way to ensure that anyone using your imagery has to link back to your site. You can find people using your image by using Google’s Image Search. If you spot somebody using your image and doesn’t provide your brand with the necessary credit, you have every right to contact them and request recognition for your work – coming in the form of a link back to your site.
Considering that the license is free to use and only involved a small bit of HTML being added to your web page, it’s a fantastic (and super under-used!) way to build backlinks without necessarily asking for them outright.
As you can see, there are several ways in which your business can build natural-looking links that adhere to Google’s recommendations as much as possible.
Remember that having a diverse backlink profile and a variation of links is the best way to build a sustainable and scalable strategy, so it’s best to try a few of these techniques in order to have natural-looking (but well-optimised) website.