what are backlinks

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are important for seo

Your website is up and running. Now you have commenced the hard work of trying to increase your organic traffic.

You are learning the ropes of SEO and think you have all the on-page work done but now you are facing an uphill struggle – building backlinks.

What Are Backlinks?

A backlink is any link on another website that points back to yours. Backlinks are one of the most important components of SEO (search engine optimisation).

Google’s algorithm is carefully designed to deliver the most authoritative, valuable results in every search a person does.

To fulfil that purpose the search engine algorithm weighs a number of different ranking factors. It helps to  determine how credible each website and webpage are.

Best-Digital Marketing Services backlinks

Using a link building strategy helps to boost your organic marketing efforts. This is an influencing factor that contributes to your search engine ranking. 

Each time another website includes a link to yours, it is like telling their visitors that there is something useful on your website. It is an endorsement of the content on the page.

When a lot of websites with authority link to the same page on your website. Google sees that – what is on the page is valuable as a good indicator. 

Websites gain authority in the search engine’s eyes by having more backlinks.

The more authority a website has the more valuable backlinks on that website are for the website being linked to. 

For any website owners if you want to improve your SEO rankings you need to know about backlinks which are the main currency of the web. 

12 Different Types of Backlinks

As you start to work on your strategy you may be thinking the more the better – right? Steady on. Not all backlinks are created equal. 

You need to understand the different types of backlinks and the relative value they have for your brand to build backlinks effectively.

1. Editorial Backlinks

The best types of links in SEO come from editorial mentions. An editorial mention is when another website refers and links to your website in a piece of quality content.

 An editorial backlink may be included as:

  • Citing someone from your company or something from your content as a source of information
  • Referring to your website as a resource for additional information
  • Mentioning your website as the creator of an infographic
  • Including your website or content in a link roundup
  • Interviewing someone associated with your website

How to Get Editorial Backlinks:

  • Develop a strong content marketing
  • Create high-quality evergreen content that serves as a go-to resource.
  • Generating shareable content that other sites will want to talk about.
  • Publish content that shows your website and brand as a thought leader in your industry so that other sites will want to use, re-cite, source and interview you.

Consider using keyword popularity to find trending topics you can write about on your website.

When someone adds a link to a webpage, by default it will be a do follow link. That means the search engine algorithm will see the link and count it toward the authority it assigns the website.

Best-Digital Marketing Services do follow backlinks

For a link to have any direct value in how the search engine algorithm measures the website it must be a do follow link.

Many of the backlinks around the web are do follow. However some websites opt to tweak their HTML to label a backlink as no follow.

When a webmaster adds a link to their website they can use HTML code to set the link as either do follow or no follow.

  • Do follow links tell search engines to notice and give SEO value to the links.
  • No follow links tell search engines to ignore the links and give them less SEO value.

Because do follow links send better signals to search engines they are more valuable than no follow links. 

You want links to your site to be coded as do follow. However a no follow backlink can still drive traffic to your website.

Best-Digital Marketing Services do follow & no follow backlinks

Why would a website do this?

There are three main reasons why websites use no follow links:

This was the reason why no follow attribute was created in the first instance. Lots of black-hat link builders were spamming websites with comments meant purely to gain links.

By providing this option to make all links in the comment section no follow, websites could avoid endorsing spammy websites because of links included in the comments.

The alternative use of no follow links is to signal Google when a link on your website is from an advertiser who paid for the placement.

Since ads are legitimate but paying for links is against Google’s guidelines.

This gives websites a way to continue making money from ads whilst staying in Google’s good books.

Majority of websites have opted to make all links on the website as no follow.

This will save them the trouble of figuring out if every link published on the site is to a high-quality website and if they are OK for endorsement.

For website owners who publish a high quantity of content from a lot of different sources, this is a way to cover their bases when implementing a link building strategy. 

No follow backlinks can still provide value for your website by introducing your site to new visitors.

This also sends organic traffic your way and some SEO experts are convinced they deliver some SEO value as well.

For anyone working on building backlinks they need to understand the distinction between do follow and no follow which is absolutely important.  

4. Business Directory Backlinks

These are one of the easiest legitimate types of backlinks for businesses especially for local businesses.

Review sites like Yelp and Google My Business always offer the option of including a link to your business website in addition to directory listings such as those for professional organisations – local Chambers of Commerce, UK Small Business Directory, Trade Finder, Business Magnet and Opening Times. 

Best-Digital Marketing Services - google my business

Building links is easy. Especially by listing your website on legitimate review and directory sites and joining relevant professional groups that include a directory. 

Should another website mentions your business that is an opportunity for a backlink to be created

Bloggers often talk about products and business publications that cover your business news or third-party websites.

That will mention you in reviews or product roundups and include a link to your website when they mention your brand. 

A common link building tactic is to find brand mentions around the web that do not include a link. Then reach out to the website owner to ask them to add one. 

Creating a valuable resource on your site often encourages other sites to link back to it. A high value piece of content that often leads to links is a webinar recording.

Other sites frequently link to or even embed other brand’s webinars on their site which leads to both links and brand mentions.

Repurpose your webinars by posting them as recordings on your website so people can visit and link to them.

Use blog promotion to attract attention to the webinar recording.  Try finding guest blogging sites that may be interested in using the webinar as resource on their site.

These are a valuable type of link that can be earned through public relations (PR) and guest posting.

Obtaining any links to your website from an online publication in your industry is regarded as high authority.

An example of this would a company that sells gardening supplies earning a link on the The Royal Horticultural Society website.

These are very challenging to get but it is well worth a lot to your website especially if they are do follow backlinks.

Backlinks on .gov and .edu website are notable because many SEO experts are convinced they are worth more on average than .com, .net or .co.uk websites.

This is not an absolute rule since gaining a link on a .com website with a lot of authority is potentially better and weighs more than a small and largely unknown .edu website.

Nevertheless they are valuable enough that many SEO consultants put special effort into finding legitimate ways to earn a link on these types of sites.  

Another way to get sites to link back to something valuable on your site is by offering a free tool.

A free tool could be a basic tool like an auto loan calculator or a scaled down version of a paid tool like Alexa’s Site Overview and Audience Overlap tools. If the tools are valuable enough others will link to them in their content.

On top of the free versions of paid tools, you can add a CTA to sign up for the full product or service which drives leads in addition to awareness.

Create a simple tool or free version of your paid tool. Use Alexa’s Audience Overlap tool to find sites that have a similar audience who would be interested in using your tool.

Then use guest blogging outreach to connect with the sites and see if they would like to feature your free tool.

Blogging backlinks are often easier to build than some of the other types of backlink described above. Due care should be exercised to establish how valuable they are depends a lot on the blog.

There are a lot of the backlinks on the live websites on blogs between business blogs, personal blogs, media blogs and entertainment blogs.

Any kind of blog that covers topics relevant to your industry and has a high SEO authority is worth targeting to build backlinks.

Best-Digital Marketing Services guest post - guest blogging

Do not waste your time on blogs that have few readers, do not have much of a reputation or those who are completely unrelated to your industry. 

Some common strategies for building blog backlinks are through guest posting.

This is where you contact the bloggers to share valuable resources relevant to the topics they cover or be an expert source for a blog post. 

Forums are a popular type of website that allows users online to connect with each other and form a community.

There are millions of online forums that focus on a wide range of topics from business industries to product-focused forums to fan forums on just about anything.

It is simple and easy to create posts that include links since forums are made up of user-generated content posted by members.

Building backlinks from forums has to be strategic. It means that you should only publish in high-quality forums when you have something useful to add to the conversation. This can be a good link-building tactic.

There is a caveat – If you do it correctly the rewards will exponential. However if you do it badly then you will create low-quality links that make your website look worse to the search engines. 

Different types of links described above have different levels of value when it comes to how much they affect your website’s SEO.

This is the category that will not help you and it will actively hurt you. Google’s algorithm penalises websites that have a lot of spammy backlinks pointing to them. 

spammy backlinks

Basically if a link is unlikely to deliver traffic back to your website it is probably spammy.

These categories may include paid backlinks, links in low-quality or irrelevant directories and spammy forum or comment links.

Google gets better day by day at recognising which backlinks are built using SEO schemes that are trying to cheat the system using their algorithms.

Finally if you do not want to get penalised then avoid any tactics that feel sleazy. 

Link building requires getting other people to add your link to their sites which you have control over thus making it a lot harder. 

How to get backlinks legitimately and white hat is the biggest question in SEO. There are a number of legitimate techniques a business can use to get relevant backlinks that are both good for SEO and for driving new traffic to your website. 

E-commerce businesses can build links by offering free products to bloggers to review, sponsoring industry events and publishing original research where bloggers love linking to statistics.

Local businesses can earn links by working with local charities, hosting local events and giving out scholarships and awards. 

Any website can potentially earn links by creating useful content that is good enough that other websites want to link to it. 

Building backlinks requires creativity and there are a lot of tactics worth trying that are acceptable by Google.

The most important element is to make sure the links you aim for are actually valuable to your audience and the website you work with. 

We have covered most of the basics about backlinks but you may still have questions about how backlinks work.

Here below are some answers to the most common questions. 

There are two reasons why backlinks are important although one of them gets a disproportionate amount of attention:

  1. Backlinks signal to Google and other search engines that your website is authoritative and should rank higher in the search results. They are also considered one of the most important SEO ranking factors. 
  2. They help new people learn about your business and drive relevant traffic back to your website.

People spend a lot of time focusing on the first reason which definitely matters. However the end goal of SEO is making your website easier to find for users who are looking for what you sell.

A good link that shows up in a relevant context can help earlier even before you consider the extra SEO authority it provides.  

Most of the links you see around the web show up as a few words underlined in blue. To follow the link all you have to do is click on the words. Those words are the backlink anchor text. 

Best-Digital Marketing Services Internal Linking

Google pays attention to the anchor text of your backlinks along with the keywords you use on the page. It uses the anchor text to better understand what your page is about.

When a backlink on a high-authority website uses the anchor text you want the page to rank for then it is an SEO jackpot (Keerching £££).

Best-Digital Marketing Services seo jackpotBest-Digital Marketing Services seo jackpot

A link that uses different anchor text than the keyword you are targeting is still valuable.

Provided if the wording is related to your target keyword although it may not be worth much. 

There are examples of backlinks all across the internet. In this blog post you can find an example of backlink to other websites in the No follow Links section: 

  • A page connecting  to SEMRush website with the anchor text some SEO experts

We are linking to these pages from the Best-Digital Marketing blog, while this is a backlink for SEMRush – they are actually outbound links on our site.

Quality content often links out to content that supports or expands on the points being made in a piece that creates opportunities for a more passive type of link building.

This is done by simply creating content of value where you gain links from bloggers who use your content to illustrate their point.

There are also examples in this post of something that is distinct from a backlink but looks similar called internal links.

The link with the anchor text improve your seo and How to get backlinks in the section on the same topic is a link to another blog post on this website that makes it an internal link

Best-Digital Marketing Services link building

Internal links are another important part of SEO and different from backlinks.

They are valuable because they provide an opportunity to use relevant anchor text to alert Google on what the page is about.

This also helps to create connections between different pages on your site and drive traffic to other parts of your website.  

A bad backlink is any link that comes from a low-authority website or alerts Google that you are using spammy link-building practices.

Google pays attention to individual links separately. It also notes when your backlink profile shows a pattern that suggests you are trying to cheat the system.

Any backlinks that suggest the above pattern are bad backlinks.

It is a definite YES! Many websites have been penalised due to having spammy links and Google can penalise you by blacklisting your website.

You could drop in the rankings rapidly due to an algorithm update that catches more of your low-quality links.

Best-Digital Marketing Services high quality backlink

Whichever way you choose – you lose traffic and visibility. Trying to recover can be very difficult hence it is very important to seek out only quality and relevant backlinks. 

A good backlink is one that comes from a website that has SEO authority and covers topics relevant to your website.

SEO tools provide information on how much authority different websites have.  Therefore you can tailor your link building efforts to those that are worth it.

The best backlinks always deliver SEO authority and relevant traffic to your website. 

You can take steps to disavow low-quality backlinks that are hurting your website by mistakenly hiring a black-hat SEO firm in the past them.

google disavow links

SEO tools will help you identify the low-quality links out there. Then by using Google’s disavow links tool – you remove them from your backlink profile so Google no longer counts them against you. 


If you think that backlinks are difficult and how they work has got you overwhelmed – Do not worry.

You do not have to do all the work of learning different backlink strategies and executing them all on your own.

SEO Services

Best-Digital Marketing’s skilled SEO experts are here to help you with all the components of SEO marketing described here.

We have the experience on how to identify backlink opportunities that is most valuable to your brand and earn you those links. Contact us now to learn how we can help your business rank better in the search results.

For full SEO package functionality

and select the package that suits your business needs.

If you prefer to discuss your requirements first just

or fill your details with a message of your requirements at

For more information about our services and how we can help you with your SEO needs:-

Hope you are enjoying and learning a lot with abundance of information about:-

What Are Backlinks?