Backlinks. Everyone wants them, but very few can get the ones that are actually valuable and then rank their site for competitive keywords. Along with content, backlinks are the essential element of SEO.
But what do you when Google tells you that every backlink that you try to build is not good, and it might cause a penalty? There are numerous type of links that are violating Google’s guidelines, but if you are smart, you can get quality backlinks and grow your organic traffic, without taking any risks.
In general, the best backlinks for SEO are the ones that you can’t control. The easier it is for you to get a link, the lesser value it will have for search engines. Google doesn’t give a lot of credit to links from sites that everyone can manipulate with ease. That’s the case with blog comments on low-quality sites (often auto-approved), forum signatures or profile links, low-quality directories and sometimes guest posts on unknown sites.
I’m going to share with you 25 types of backlinks that you can safely build or acquire for SEO and also tell you how to get them. No bullshit or motivational stuff, just actionable data and tips.
The days of spammy link building are long gone. To succeed with SEO nowadays, you have to adapt and get only quality backlinks. Remember that there’s no shortcut for SEO results.
IMPORTANT: Before you start rushing to build backlinks like a maniac, note the following things:
- Relevancy is imperative. If the site that’s linking to you is not related, you are better off without it.
- The number of links your site has is not something for you to be obsessed. It’s better to have 10 links from authoritative sites than 500 from websites that have no reputation.
- Not all backlinks are good. In fact, the majority of them are bad. Here’s a guide showing how to decide if it’s worth having a link from a site or not.
- Don’t abuse any sort of backlink. Each of the types of links listed below is safe, if you create diversity. Anything that doesn’t look natural can turn into a bad link.
- Getting good backlinks takes time and a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
- Never get links using a single link building strategy. If you are abusing any of the right methods, Google might find that you are doing something unnatural.
Without any further ado, let’s do BACKLINKS!
1. Backlinks from resource pages
In every industry, even the ones some like to call “boring”, some sites have resource pages. From there, webmasters tend to link out to sites that they consider useful and relevant for their readers. However, just asking for a link without giving anything in return will get you nowhere. To increase the chances of getting a link from that page, you must meet the following conditions:
- Have a great resource/site to present to the webmaster.
- Give the webmaster a reason to link back to you. Try to establish a relationship before offering your site as a resource, or help them fix a problem they have.
You can find resource pages using the following search strings in Google:
- Keyword + “resources”
- Keyword + “useful resources”
- Keyword + “helpful resources”
- Keyword + “links””
- Keyword + “useful links”
- Keyword + “helpful links”
- Keyword + inurl:”resources”
- Keyword + inurl:”sites”
- Keyword + inurl:”links”
- Keyword + inurl:”other sites”
Quick tip: Whatever you do, don’t accept to do link exchanges for a backlink.
2. Backlinks earned with infographics
Infographics are an excellent way to make your content more shareable. Besides the potential of an infographic to go viral on social media, it can also attract backlinks. If an editor likes your content, he can easily embed it on his site, without the hassle of duplicate content. Every big business in the world uses infographics as a way to promote their site. Here’s an example of an infographic created by IBM.
It may look like an easy task at first, but not all infographics attract backlinks. An excellent infographic that attracts quality links has to stand out with a good design and provide data that’s intriguing and useful.
Learn more about building backlinks with infographics here.
3. Backlinks from donation and non-profit sites
The process of earning links by donating to nonprofit sites is very straightforward. Some sites that link out to sites that have donated. It’s as simple as clicking the “donate” button and submitting your site’s URL. In a few days, your link will show up. You can give away between $50-100, depending on how reputable the site is. While some might not link back to your site, most will. It’s also important to check the number of outbound links. If there are too many links to other websites, you might want to skip the opportunity.
Although there are not so many sites that accept donations in exchange for links, when you find one, the success is almost guaranteed. Below are some search strings you can use to find sites accepting donations:
- “Donation list” + “contributors”
- “Contributors page” + “Donate”
Another option is to do reverse engineering. When you find the first nonprofit website, check the links of the sites that have donated before and you might discover tens of other opportunities.
4. Backlinks earned by promoting your best content
After you write a new article, don’t just sit and hope that the article will start to receive backlinks. That’s rarely the case if you don’t promote it. Think of what would have happened if Einstein would not have made his general relativity theory publicly? No one would have known about it for years. It’s the same with your content. If you don’t promote it enough, it will be buried somewhere on your site, and no one will know about it. You have to struggle and spread the word about your articles.
The best option is to find sites and bloggers that tend to link or share articles that are similar to yours. You can then do email outreach and ask for some feedback on your latest article. Don’t request a link directly, because that would turn them away. To find such sites, you can always use Monitor Backlinks.
5. Backlinks from testimonials
Every company loves to show off their client’s testimonials. It helps them build credibility and get more sales. Most businesses that sell a product or service will also accept testimonials from their customers and link back to their social profile or website. Such links are totally white hat and they can help you with SEO.
Think about all the products or services you’ve bought recently and reach out to the owners and send them your testimonial. Make it a good one, and they might even feature yours on the homepage, making the link even more valuable. You can send testimonials or leave reviews for the ebooks you’ve purchased or the podcasts you are listening.
And it’s not all about the links, but you can also gain more authority for yourself and exposure for your business.
6. Backlinks from “Best off” or “Top X” sites
For every niche, there are posts or lists with the most popular blogs in the industry. Having your site mentioned in such lists is great and can attract many other links after.
If the editor has not mentioned your site, maybe he doesn’t know about it yet. You can either use the broken link building strategy or simply reach out and ask if he accepts new suggestions. You can also use these lists that contain the most popular blogs from your industry and then try to get backlinks from them.
To find sites that publish “best off” or “top X” lists, use the following search strings in Google:
- Best blogs + “keyword”
- Top blogs + “keyword”
7. Backlinks from bloggers
Bloggers should be your best friends. Most bloggers don’t write just for their site but also for third party online publications. They always need resources and tools to mention in their posts. If you have a high bond with them, they might link to your site and you’ll earn quality links from various blogs.
If you sell a product or provide a service, try to create a relationship with the most famous bloggers that write about your topics. Offer them your service for free and if it’s good enough, you’ll end up getting new backlinks from them on a regular basis.
8. Backlinks from link roundups
Link roundups are short posts that curate the best content from the industry over the last week or month. If you can get a link from a roundup, you’ll get a nice one-way contextual link that can also send referring traffic to you. These are editorial links that have a good SEO value.
If you have a popular blog, you might naturally earn links from such roundups. However, if you are just starting out, you might have to reach out and pitch your content. Always pitch your best pieces of content that are link worthy of increasing the chances of getting featured and earning a backlink.
Everyone names their roundups differently, but you can use different search strings in Google to find most of these opportunities. Here are some options
- “Keyword” + link roundup
- “Keyword” + best articles
- “Keyword” + roundup
- “Keyword” + best posts of the week
- “Keyword” + best posts
9. Backlinks from influencers
Influencers are just like bloggers, but they have even more authority. They often go to conferences and because they are well respected in their industry, their recommendations are stronger than anyone’s else. Whenever an influencer links to your website, you can expect to get a lot of SEO value and have many benefits in the future.
10. Guest blogging on quality sites
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to promote a site and earn backlinks. Because of that, it has been abused and has made many say that it’s not safe to go guest blogging anymore. That’s false, and it’s just one of the many SEO misconceptions that circulate on the internet. Google is accepting guest posts, and that tells everything.
With guest blogging, you write an article on a third-party site, and link back to your site from your author bio, or sometimes within the article. If the article that you wrote is valuable, the reader might also visit your site. It’s a chance to get your company’s name in front of an already established audience and increase your authority.
Guest blogging is great and can help you earn links from very reputable sites, but there are two important things to consider:
- Don’t write for sites that have no authority and they publish low-quality content. Only aim to write for reputable sites.
- Don’t use keyword rich anchor texts
- Guest blogging shouldn’t be your only source for getting backlinks. Here’s a video showing Google’s view on guest blogging
11. Backlinks from interviews
Interviews can either be in podcasts shows, on radio, TV or a text version on blogs. No matter the form, you’ll get a nice one-way link to your website. Whenever you are asked to respond to an interview, give it your best to provide helpful answers, to increase the chances of being invited to other interviews in the future.
Most frequently, these interviews are only invitational. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t do any harm if you would reach out and introduce yourself and say that you have a story worth telling.
12. Backlinks earned from meetups and conferences
Participating at local meetups or sponsor conferences can help you obtain backlinks from relevant sites. These links have a good SEO value, and they will help you get a lot of exposure in front of an audience that shares similar interests.
13. Internal links
Internal links are precious for SEO. Their advantage also comes from the fact that you have full control for them, and you can decide where the link will be located and also what anchor text it will have.
While they might not be on the same level of importance with external links, it’s an important aspect to consider for SEO. Always link to previous articles that you wrote and make it easy for readers to navigate through your posts.
14. Backlinks from blog commenting done right
Blog comments have been one of the most abused strategies in the history of SEO. Most blog comments link out to external sites with nofollow links, but that doesn’t stop some people from spamming sites with low-quality comments. Simply saying “Hi, great post”, and then leave a URL, will only harm your site.
A good blog comment has to interact with the editor or other readers, ask questions or provide solutions to their problems. Don’t write comments just for the sake of getting a link. Also, try to stay away from sites that auto-approve blog comments, or otherwise you might have as link neighbor gambling or adult sites. Once your site becomes more popular, people might naturally link to it from blog comments.
15. Backlinks earned with webinars
Webinars are great, and they generate a lot of traction. You can also obtain backlinks if the information provided in the webinar is helpful. Always make it easy for others to embed your webinars. Youtube is one of the best places to host your videos.
16. Backlinks earned by creating free online tools, widgets, plugins or extensions
Just like you try to help people with useful content and tips, you can also create easy tools to solve their problems. Small tools or plugins often get numerous backlinks. For example, you can make a mortgage calculator or a tool that helps users quickly generate an embed code for infographics. There are endless opportunities for any niche.
17. Backlinks from quality directories
Let me start by emphasizing that most directories are not good, and you should be very cautious when choosing one to submit your site. Whether it’s a local directory or a blog directory, only pick the ones that have an established reputation and a decent authority.
If you submit your site to hundreds of directories, you’ll do more harm. Don’t be tempted to buy the Fiverr gigs that will submit your site to “top 100 directories” for just $5. Those directories are useless, they’ll probably use the same description, titles, etc.
Only the backlinks from reputable directories have SEO value. This is a list with some of the most popular blog directories. And here’s a list of the best local directories.
18. Backlinks from surveys
Holding surveys or polls and then making the results public can help you earn quality backlinks. Editors love to link to statistical data, especially if the results are intriguing. Often send surveys to your audience and you’ll increase your chances of getting backlinks, when you’ll publish the results.
19. Backlinks earned by running discounts, promotions or contests
If you sell products, run some contests or give away significant discounts to get more exposure from bloggers. It’s an easy formula to get backlinks. If your offers are interesting, the campaign can even go viral and attract more links.
20. Backlinks earned by targeting sites that went out of business
It always happens that businesses go bankrupt. That means that all the people that were linking to their content were now linking to a site that no longer exists.
You can retarget their backlinks and try to get some of their best links to your site. Use Monitor Backlinks to get a list of all their links. You can then start your outreach and inform the editors that they are linking out to a company that doesn’t exist anymore. In the email approach, make sure to mention your site as a useful resource they can use for replacement. Because you are doing them a favor, by telling them they link out to a non existing business, the chances of getting a link are higher.
Such sites that shut down can be found using the following search strings in Google:
- “Keyword” + shut down
- “Keyword” + rebranded
- “Keyword” + out of business
21. Backlinks received by writing about news or latest trends
If you are in a niche that covers news or latest trends, always make sure to be one of the first to write about any topic. That will ensure you to earn backlinks from relevant sources. All these links are great, and they’ll help you quickly dominate the SERPS for your given keywords. Also, make sure to write content with a viral potential.
22. Backlinks earned by creating quality videos
Content is not all about text. Videos are slowly overpassing articles and are starting to dominate the content industry. By creating quality videos, and giving everyone an easy option to embed them, you’ll earn great links for SEO.
23. Backlinks from people you know
It’s totally fine to ask your friends or acquaintances to link back to your site if they own a website that’s relevant to yours.
24. Backlinks from forum posts
Just like blog comments, there’s a delicate line between good backlinks earned with forum posts and bad backlinks. If you have links from forum posts, because someone has recommended your services naturally, the link will be good for SEO.
25. Backlinks from Q&A platforms
Everyone has questions, and everyone needs answers. If your site has the answer to people’s concerns or issues, it will be nice to have links to your site from Q&A platforms like Quora or Yahoo Answers. Even if most of these sites are linking back to you with a nofollow attribute, by having your site presented in front of a crowd, you never know when someone decides to link to it with a dofollow link.
While most backlinks opportunities might not be very good for your site, there are still alternatives left that will help you rank higher in Google. In this article, I listed 26 of the most common types of links that are considered good for SEO.
If you want to analyze your existing backlinks and make sure they are good, check my backlinks analysis guide.