Types of Links: The Entire Backlink Glossary Explained With Examples

Picture of Ajay Deep
Ajay Deep

Founder, Authority Ventures
Chief Strategist, White Label Links


You might already be aware of the basic link types like do-follow, no-follow; or maybe internal links and external links. In this post, we’ll talk about numerous types of backlinks by going in-depth within the off-page SEO strategies and try to understand each link type with examples.

Let’s jump into our comprehensive guide and understand the uses and roles of different link types so you can craft a search engine-friendly website or help your client do the same. 

Key Takeaways

  • Both internal and external links are necessary for your website’s SEO and user experience as they help users navigate and distribute page authority.
  • Links must be balanced and relevant to maintain a healthy link ecosystem and a site’s credibility. Do-follow links pass authority, whereas no-follow links control sites that do not receive link equity.
  • Links not only influence search engine algorithms through the context around anchor text and aid ranking via referral traffic and balanced profiles but also significantly enhance user interaction with content on a website.

Internal Links

We believe internal links are the guiding paths in a dense forest of web pages, helping both users and search engines navigate your site. They play a dual role – 

  • enhancing user experience by improving site navigation and 
  • boosting your SEO game by distributing page authority across the website.

But is slapping links everywhere the right approach? Far from it. We know from experience that adding relevant links and appropriate information will make your content reliable and easy to read. However, we’ve noticed that using excessive linking appears spammy and reduces the natural content flow.

So, the next time you’re directing users to a contact page or suggesting further reading, remember – you’re not just enhancing user experience but also passing on some valuable link juice.

External Links

While internal links keep things organized within your site, external links reach out to the vast expanse of the internet, connecting your content to other credible domains. Referencing authoritative sources not only enhances your content’s value but also bolsters your site’s credibility.

Navigating the world of external links may feel like a tightrope walk. Striking the right balance is key – enrich your content with external links, but don’t let them detract from the user’s onsite experience. Checking the activity of these links regularly prevents them from leading to dead pages or irrelevant content, a potential turn-off for your audience.

Remember, a well-placed, relevant external no-follow link can lead to partnerships and reciprocal incoming links, increasing your site’s visibility and traffic through quality links and link building.

We understand that creating the best link-building strategy is time-consuming; that’s why it is important to get in touch with a link-building company.

Do-Follow Links

The default backlinks that boost the authority of the linked website by passing on link equity are known as do-follow backlinks. Search engines like Google use these links as signals to gauge the relevance and authority of web pages. Picture do-follow links as silent endorsements that vouch for the linked website’s credibility, contributing to a healthier web ecosystem.

However, the misuse or overuse of do-follow links, particularly in unnatural ways like link schemes, can incur search engine penalties. Hence, conducting regular audits of outbound do-follow links is a good practice to uphold website health and authority.

A free backlink checker tool can help you monitor these links effectively. So, while these links are powerful for passing authority, ensure that you balance them with no-follow links when linking to less trusted sources or in paid or sponsored contexts.

No-Follow Links

No-follow links play the role of cautious gatekeepers, telling search engines not to pass on link equity, and are crucial in managing external sites that receive value from your site. These links are typically used in the following ways:

  • comments
  • forums
  • paid advertisements
  • sponsored posts

To prevent spam and manipulation of search rankings, it is crucial to create high-quality content that tells search engines about the relevance and value of your website.

Even though no-follow links may not directly contribute to SEO value, search engines still recognize them, and they can offer contextual information about your site’s linking practices and relevant topics. They maintain the integrity of your site’s link profile by ensuring high-quality and trustworthy content.

A routine update and audit of your no-follow link usage keep your site in line with the best SEO practices, thus sustaining a healthy digital ecosystem.

Social Media Backlinks

social media backlinks

Let’s now hop into the world of social media. Social media links are like busy highways, connecting your website to your social media channels, driving traffic, and enhancing brand visibility. Typically set to no-follow by default, social media links are instrumental in establishing a unified digital presence, facilitating user interaction with the brand across various platforms.

These links can lead to indirect SEO benefits by increasing content distribution, which can further increase brand searches and mentions – factors that search engines consider. To maximize their potential, ensure these links are prominently placed in headers, footers, or sidebars.

Per our expertise, regular updates and active engagement reinforce your website’s content and contribute to building a loyal community, all while boosting your search engine optimization efforts.

Blog Commenting Links

Blog commenting links are like sparks in a conversation, created when users include a hyperlink in their blog comments on blog posts. While they are set to no-follow by default to prevent spam, they can drive traffic back to a commenter’s own website if the comment adds value and engages the readership.

Nevertheless, it’s important for comments with links to be relevant, thoughtful, and provide meaningfulness to the discussion to avoid a spam tag. High-quality contributions followed by contextual links can encourage other forum members to explore your content or offerings.

Regular engagement in relevant threads, answering questions, and providing valuable insights can maximize the effectiveness of blog comment links.

Profile Backlinks

Profile backlinks are like digital business cards created when you set up a profile on a platform and include a link back to your website. They can help increase your site’s visibility and search engine recognition, particularly for businesses looking to enhance local SEO.

While profile backlinks are typically no-follow, they can still drive referral traffic and enhance the overall digital footprint of a brand or individual. Creating, completing, and activating profiles on reputable sites can improve credibility and trust among potential customers or followers.

Forum Backlinks

Forum links represent the spirit of community participation on the internet. Created when users post links within forum threads or signatures, they can be valuable for driving targeted traffic from forums related to your niche or industry.

Participation in forums requires:

  • A genuine interest and active involvement in the topics discussed.
  • High-quality contributions followed by contextual links.
  • Engaging regularly in relevant threads.
  • Responding to questions.
  • Offering valuable insights.

These actions can optimize the impact of forum links and encourage other forum members to explore your content.

Image Backlinks

Now, let’s focus on image backlinks – links created when an image on a webpage is hyperlinked. These links can be very effective in driving engagement, as images are visually appealing and can attract more clicks compared to text links.

Here, relevancy is of utmost importance – the linked content should strongly correlate with the image to enhance the user experience and decrease bounce rates. Also, ensuring that the images are sized and optimized for quick loading is crucial for maintaining website performance.

Media PR Links

Media PR links are like gold nuggets in the world of SEO. Acquired through public relations efforts involving media outlets, these links are typically high-value due to the credibility and high traffic of media websites.

Effective PR strategies involve crafting newsworthy stories or press releases that appeal to journalists and editors, encouraging them to feature your content with a link back to your site. Establishing relationships with journalists and influencers in your industry is fundamental to securing media PR links.

The Power of Links in SEO

types of backlinks

So far, we’ve delved into the various types of links and their roles in driving traffic, enhancing user experience, and boosting credibility. However, the benefits of link-building extend beyond these individual roles.

In the sprawling, interconnected realm of the web, links function as:

  • bridges,
  • routes, and
  • indicators

that assist search engines in determining which websites to rank at the top based on quality, trustworthiness, relevance, and authoritativeness. They are the threads that knit the web into a cohesive, interactive, and easily navigable sphere.

How Links Influence Search Engine Algorithms

Search engines use the context around anchor text, not just the keyword itself, to assess link relevancy. These contextual links demonstrate topical relationships between pages, aiding search engines in determining the value of content.

When websites include external links, they are essentially extending a handshake to other websites and search engines, establishing trust and credibility in the process. They connect a site to the broader internet and signal participation in a wider community. But, like any strong ecosystem, balance is key when it comes to how websites link with one another.

Even though nofollow links typically don’t pass PageRank, they may still indirectly aid search engine rankings via referral traffic and a balanced link profile.

The Connection Between Links and User Experience

In our opinion, links not only play a vital role in SEO but also significantly impact user experience. Contextual links within content guide users to relevant and related content, thereby enhancing their browsing experience. At White Label Links, we have experimented with and effectively improved websites’ SEO and user experience through broken link building. It involves identifying and replacing broken links with valuable and relevant content.

External or outbound links enhance the user experience by offering extra resources and showcasing the site’s credibility. Hence, while links, including inbound links, form the core infrastructure of SEO, they also play a crucial role in shaping a user’s interaction with and experience on your website.

Common Link-Building Mistakes To Avoid

Link building is an important part of the SEO strategy to boost your website’s visibility, traffic, and ranking. It is crucial to create a compelling backlink strategy involving external and internal links. It can be pretty tricky to link the website properly; that’s why we are here to provide you with five common mistakes people make when creating an internal linking strategy.

Using Inadequate Links

In our opinion, sending users to a broken or unavailable link might be the biggest mistake you can make for your website’s SEO. You spike up the bounce rate and lose all credibility. Broken links, masked links, redirect chains of links, and temporary links are a few of the examples that can hamper your site’s performance.

Solution – The easiest way to fix it is to maintain your website regularly. We suggest you audit your website for any broken or wrong links and remove or replace the links. Audit your website through Ahref and reinstate the pages for these broken links or create a redirect for the broken links to an existing page. As per Google’s Core Update in March 2024, spammy links will be removed, so it is best if you use correct and relevant links.

Choosing The Wrong Pages To Link

The basic requirement for any link-building strategy is to know which pages to link. The simplest way would be to create multiple internal links for that one page you want to rank higher to manipulate rankings ethically. Marketers tend to use different anchor texts to add links to the same page, which might not be the best idea.

Solution – Build connections from pages with high authority and ranking to pages with low visibility. A short site audit is the most straightforward method to accomplish this.

Incorrect Placement Of The Links

In our experience, this is one of the most common mistakes marketers make that hamper their website’s performance. An example of this would be adding links in header tags. Google’s search crawlers consider headings to be part of the organisation of the page. Link placement in these headers confuses crawlers, who view it as spam. Furthermore, it can cause additional harm if header tags are used as anchor texts to entirely unrelated articles.

Solution – We highly suggest you put links in the body of the text. Creating buttons that encourage users to click on the link and facilitate search engine crawling is another excellent method.

End Notes

From internal to external, do-follow to no-follow, and social media to PR – we’ve successfully navigated through the diverse landscape of SEO links, unraveling their unique roles and their collective power. They are the invisible threads that weave the intricate web of the internet, guiding users and signaling search engines.

We recommend balancing the various types of links, their strategic use, and their constant monitoring to lead to a successful SEO strategy. Remember, links are not just about SEO; they’re about creating a seamless, enriching, and interactive user experience. So, let’s start weaving these threads with care, precision, and strategy.

FAQs – Types of Links

What are internal links, and how do they benefit SEO?

Internal links are hyperlinks that connect different pages within a website. They benefit SEO by improving site navigation, enhancing user experience, distributing page authority, and aiding search engine bots in discovering and indexing pages.

What are do-follow and no-follow links?

Do-follow links pass on link equity and improve search engine rankings, while no-follow links do not pass on equity or influence rankings. (Date not needed)

How can social media links benefit SEO?

Social media links can benefit SEO by driving traffic and enhancing brand visibility, leading to indirect SEO benefits through increased content distribution and brand mentions that search engines consider.

What are the benefits of forum links?

Forum links are beneficial for driving targeted traffic from relevant forums, and engaging in industry-related discussions can further enhance their effectiveness. Regular participation and providing valuable insights can maximize the benefits of forum links.

How do links influence search engine algorithms?

Links influence search engine algorithms by providing context around anchor text to assess link relevancy, establishing trust with other websites and search engines, and potentially contributing to search engine rankings through referral traffic and a natural link profile. Nofollow links, although they do not pass PageRank, can still have an indirect impact on search engine rankings.

Picture of Ajay Deep
Ajay Deep


I provide link building strategy and growth marketing services to businesses and enable them to conquer their markets with unmatched authority and impact.

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