what is a Backlink, types and strategies

Do you already have a website and need to improve your SEO?

It’s crucial to understand that SEO growth or organic ranking is one of the most significant factors for your website. But how is it done?

Among the essential techniques is the inclusion of off-page strategies. These are activities performed outside of your website, aiming to naturally encourage other sites to link to your web page.

This is where backlinks play a vital role.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand what backlinks are, the different types of backlinks, and their purpose in making your website more active in search engines.

¿What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are instrumental in driving significantly more traffic to your website, whether directly to the homepage or to a blog post you want to rank due to its content.

Backlinks are links from one website found on the pages of other businesses.

The more backlinks you can associate with external pages, the more Google recognizes your content as relevant and of high quality, thereby improving your site’s position on Google’s SERPs.

They are those underlined words or phrases in blue that lead you to another page.

These backlinks can boost your search engine rankings, especially when the external website has significant traffic and a favorable reputation in search engines like Google.

The more mentions a website has (be it in blog posts or direct to the homepage), the more this search engine classifies the information as important or worthy of mention, thus increasing its credibility for your website’s SEO growth.

These links are also analyzed based on keyword positioning and content quality.

Keep in mind that backlinks can be embedded as text (in an external post), in an image, or as a CTA (Call to Action) button.

There are two types of backlinks that can be generated on a website. However, users cannot distinguish between them while browsing the site, as the difference lies in the source code used for insertion.

Nevertheless, this difference is taken into account by Google and other search engines, determining the behavior of backlinks for your SEO positioning.

Let’s explore the types of backlinks and their use for SEO.

Types of Backlinks

1. Backlink Dofollow

These are the links that, when mentioned on a website, are more easily traced by search engines, hence they can enhance SEO positioning.

Backlinks that are generated as dofollow have more guarantees of effective positioning if they are published on websites classified with high-quality content and traffic.

Including dofollow backlinks from other websites on your site, or vice versa, signals to the search engine that this content is relevant and important and should be followed.

This essentially accumulates points to rank higher in the SERPs.

Therefore, when requesting to include dofollow backlinks of your website on other pages to achieve healthier organic growth in search engines, it’s crucial that these pages already have good traffic, reliability, quality content, and are well-ranked in search engine results pages.

2. Backlink Nofollow

This type of backlinks is less common and, consequently, less likely to be read by search engines, as the “nofollow” tag signals to Google that it’s not as relevant and can be ignored in its crawling process.

Nofollow links can be used anytime you wish to include an external link in a blog post.

However, if your goal is link building on external pages, nofollow links are not as beneficial, as they won’t necessarily increase your website’s status in search engines.

¿Where are Nofollow Links Found?

You can typically find these backlinks on pages where you can include links to your website.

It’s also advisable to use them for paid backlinks published in banners or advertising images, as excessive internet advertising with dofollow backlinks can be categorized as SPAM according to Google’s recommendations.

Some examples of where you might find nofollow backlinks include:

  • Social media pages (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
  • Blog comments.
  • Forums.
  • Sponsored links.
  • Duplicated content.

Understanding the difference between dofollow and nofollow backlinks and their appropriate use is crucial for a successful SEO strategy. Each type serves a specific purpose and can impact your website’s visibility and ranking differently.

¿Do Nofollow backlinks help in SEO?

Even though for search engines nofollow links are a signal to “not follow,” they can still contribute certain value to the organic positioning of your website.

Google has indicated that generally, its algorithm does not track these types of backlinks. However, they have mentioned there are some exceptions that haven’t been made public.

The tracking of nofollow backlinks varies among other search engines like Yahoo! or Bing.

Indirect Benefits of Nofollow Backlinks

Despite what was explained earlier, it has been shown that nofollow backlinks can have positive impacts on the SEO growth of a website.

For one, according to studies by Fractl, obtaining nofollow backlinks from high-traffic web pages translates into many dofollow backlinks.

This is because copywriters for websites with less traffic often look to substantiate their content with references to these pages, as it lends greater credibility to their posts.

Additionally, another indirect benefit of these backlinks is that, even though they may not be relevant for Google’s algorithm, they can still lead to an increase in traffic to the mentioned web page. Users might click on a nofollow backlink out of curiosity or interest, thereby increasing the number of visits.

It’s important to remember that when reading a blog post, we can’t discern whether a backlink is dofollow or nofollow.

Tips for Acquiring Backlinks

1. Turning Unlinked Brand Mentions into Links

You may find people mentioning your business online without linking to you. This is a missed opportunity to gain quality backlinks to your website.

Unlinked brand mentions are one of the easiest opportunities for building backlinks in your link-building campaign. These people already like your brand and understand what you do, hence they mentioned you. To convert unlinked mentions, you need to track these mentions and contact the website owners to secure a backlink.

So, how do you find unlinked mentions?

  • Use SEMrush’s brand monitoring tool. Set it up to notify you when your brand is mentioned.
  • Use Content Explorer to search for existing unlinked mentions. This is a mini search engine within Ahrefs.
  • Contact authors who have positively mentioned your business and ask them to link to your brand.
  • Look for unlinked mentions of branded products, services, company representatives, and slogans.

2. Writing Guest Blogs for External Publications

Your primary concern should be to drive people to your website. But unique and valuable content is what keeps them there. And low-quality, spammy content can harm your backlinking efforts.

One of the best tips on how to get backlinks to your site is to submit guest posts to well-established websites with high domain authority and significant traffic. Even Google accepts guest contributors on its Google Analytics blog.

Here are some tips for posting your guest blogs:

  • Prove you’re qualified as a writer. A testimonial might be a significant asset.
  • Showcase your qualifications by sharing links to your previously published content.
  • Ensure you have unique and high-quality content. Writing spectacularly might be your only edge.
  • Submit your pitches to websites with medium domain authority if you’re a starting guest writer with no previous works to show.
  • Keep submitting pitches. Websites won’t always respond to your pitches, but don’t get discouraged.

Utilizing these strategies effectively can enhance your website’s SEO performance and online visibility.

3. Analyze Your Competitors’ Backlinks

As a business owner, you likely understand the importance of gathering as much information as possible about your competitors.

This knowledge empowers you as a blogger to determine if the most effective digital marketing SEO techniques working for them could also work for you. Spying on your competitors’ link-building strategies can provide insights into how to acquire backlinks for your website.

  • Strategies for analyzing your competitors:
  • Identify links from their resource page and find which websites you can add to your connections.
  • Set up a Google alert for when they publish new content. This allows you to monitor the backlinks to their websites.
  • Follow them on social media.
  • Subscribe to their newsletters to learn what strategies they implement in their business.

4. The Broken Link Building Method

With the broken link method, you contact a webmaster to inform them of a broken link on their website. Simultaneously, you suggest a link to your website as an alternative to the broken link.

The chances of getting a link to your website are high, as you’re helping them improve their page’s quality by informing them about broken links.

  • Steps for the broken link method
  1. Search for relevant websites in your niche and visit their resource pages.
  2. Use Google to find links and resources by typing:
  3. Main keyword + links
  4. Main keyword + resources
  5. Main keyword inurl:links
  6. Download and install the Check My Links plugin for Google Chrome to find broken links on these pages.
  7. Download the search results using Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar or the Scraper extension.

When contacting the webmaster, be professional and friendly. Inform them that they are linking to a resource that no longer exists and provide the exact locations of the broken links for easy identification.


Backlinks are vital for the SEO growth of a website, regardless of the size of the ecommerce or brand being promoted through link-building strategies.

While it’s not confirmed whether nofollow backlinks are beneficial for SEO, certain experiments by major websites dedicated to this field suggest they might influence organic growth of a website in some way.

Hence, it could be advantageous for your website to obtain either dofollow or nofollow backlinks from a site that is well-ranked in search engines and has a strong reputation in the niche.

Finally, remember to seek a balance between dofollow and nofollow backlinks when positioning your website on other pages.

If you have many nofollow backlinks on low-reputation or traffic sites, Google might consider you SPAM. On the other hand, having many dofollow backlinks on the same type of pages can be suspicious to the algorithm and suggest you’re violating their backlink management policies.

Juan Esteban Yepes

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