Types of backlinks for SEO

Backlinks, or backlinks, help search engines crawl a web resource and understand the subject of the pages. However, the level of their usefulness for a site’s SEO differs depending on the type and type of links for: 

  • location: contextual, guard or footer;
  • method of acquisition: purchased or natural;
  • source quality: from reputable, relevant, unrelated sources;
  • the duration of their placement: leased or “perpetual”;
  • tactics of their construction: from the main pages of the site; from comments or social networks;
  • the presence of anchors: anchor or non-anchor;
  • the nature of the impact of indexing: indexed and non-indexed.

Let’s consider separately each category of link mass types. So, external links are of these kinds, if you categorize them by type.

1. Contextual, guard or footer

Contextual links have the greatest weight – those that are written directly into the news or article on the page.

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Fig. 1 – An example of contextual links in the text of the news

There are also posts below or above the article, often not directly related to its topic, so they have less weight.

In third place, respectively, are footer links or placed in sidebars, they practically do not affect the ranking of the site.

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Fig. 2 – Example of a footer link

All of these links are useful for site recognition and promotion.

2. Purchased or natural

Purchased links are those that are purchased on special aggregators and put down specifically to influence search results. If you have unique, high-quality content and place it on resources where it is in demand, such a purchase is an effective tactic. But often purchased links are dangerous, as they can turn out to be spam and lead not only to a decrease in the site’s position, but also to a domain ban.

In turn, natural links are those that readers of web resources are willing to share of their own free will. This means that the text is useful, therefore, the advantages of these links are free advertising for the site to which they lead, as well as informational value for users. In addition, a natural link is given to the source of information, for example, in the news:

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Fig. 3 – An example of a natural link to a source

Natural links are definitely good for SEO.

3. From reputable, relevant, unrelated sources

Backlink sources can be:

  • authoritative (such a site is a reliable, accurate and truthful source of information, as a rule, with a large number of pages in the index and with a domain that has a certain age);
  • relevant (if the topic of the source matches the request of the user of the search engine and is fully disclosed);
  • unrelated (most likely, this link is purchased, because the site does not correlate with the topic of the user’s request and, most likely, is not authoritative).
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Fig. 4 – Example of linking to authoritative sources: Ahrefs and Serpstat

Of course, effective SEO requires avoiding unrelated sources and relying on reputable.

4. Rented or «Perpetual»

Rented links are those that are paid for a certain period: a month or a year. Thus, they are temporary. This type of link often looks unnatural in the text, which is why search engines give them weak link power in this case.

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Fig. 5  – Example of a rented link (signature on the forum)

“Perpetual” links are less budgetary, but much more effective: they are placed on the pages of the site as long as it exists. Often found on blogs and forums.

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Fig. 6 – An example of a relevant link from the forum

If these links correspond to the declared topic of the site and the exact needs of users, then they can also be natural at the same time, and therefore, be posted free of charge as an indicator of quality content.

5. Distinguishable by the tactics of their construction

This type of links is differentiated depending on what kind of source they are taken from:

  • the main pages of a specific site;
  • guest comments on blogs;
  • social networks,
  • paid posts, etc.
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Fig. 7 – Example link to the Create lab on the Google blog

Despite the still high popularity of guest blogging and the development of social networks, the most effective links are those that lead directly from a site that hosts high-quality content.

6. Anchor or non-anchor

The anchor link is embedded in the text by means of keywords that reflect the essence of the content when clicking on it. It happens with a direct or indirect occurrence of a keyword. The relevance of such links affects search rankings, but it’s best not to overdo it with commercial anchors.

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Fig. 8 – Anchor link example

Non-anchor links are those in which the link itself is given instead of the key text. They can be regarded by search engines as spam, therefore, when purchasing them, one of the conditions for adding a non-anchor link should be compliance with the topic of the web resource.

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Fig. 9 – An example of a non-anchor link

In addition, links with the name of the page or the address of the site, with the general words “can be read here”, “in more detail”, etc. can be referred to without anchor.

The optimal ratio of anchor to non-anchor links is 20% to 80%, provided they are diverse.

7. Open for indexing or prohibited to it

Indexed links (aka Dofollow) automatically send the citation index to search engines. No special opening for indexing is required, and the information itself is indicated in the page code.

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Fig. 10 – An example of an indexed link

Non-indexed links (aka Nofollow) will not transfer the citation index to search engines. If this attribute is registered, then it can be used to avoid an increase in the link weight of the site, as well as close the service pages of the web resource from indexing and prevent the authors of the content from building up the link weight.

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Fig. 11 – An example of a non-indexable link

As we can see, search engines still consider a link profile to be an important indicator of a site’s quality, albeit in conjunction with other ranking factors. This means that you should not underestimate the active complex use of useful types of links: to useful content, in business profiles, in social networks.

Accordingly, you should stay away from their dangerous types: paid, links from irrelevant sites, from low-quality directories and other spam (so-called links from SEO attacks).

A strategy like this will lead your SEO campaign to success.

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