5 Types of Link Building

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There are many reasons to build links to your website, and sometimes, it is hard to determine if one link is better than another, or if it is worth anything at all. For example, a dofollow link is better than a nofollow for some purposes, but not for others. And a redirected link may hold no value for SEO, but may still prove valuable. Here are the types of links that you can build to your website, and why you should take advantage of a mixture of each.

Traffic Generating Links

Traffic generating links are links that do not necessarily help in terms of raising your rankings for a particular keyword or building up your PageRank. What these links do is expose your website on higher traffic pages in hopes that the traffic from the site you are linked on will get you referral visits. Traffic generating links can be in the form of text links, banner ads, forum posts, blog comments, social mentions, popular directories, and more.

Two free tools to determine the traffic a site gets and what demographics visit the site which will help you decide whether it would be a valuable traffic generating link are Compete and Google AdPlanner.

Compete will allow you to compare up to fives sites (when you register for a free account) and see their estimated traffic, percentage of change (to see if a site is becoming more or less popular), top keywords leading to the site, top keywords used on the site, and top referral sites. This is great information to use if you are looking to build traffic links via banner ads, blog commenting, and guest blogging.

Compete Site Analytics

Google AdPlanner shares traffic statistics (unique visitors, page views, average time on site), demographics information (gender, education level, income level, age), and related information (audience interest, related sites visited, and keywords searched for) about individual sites. You can also search for sites based on audience by specifying the geography, language, demographic, and interest level to find sites that are visited by people who would be most likely to click on your link. Google AdPlanner will also let you know if a website accepts advertising and links to the advertising page for that website.

Google Ad Planner Site Statistcs

Traffic generating links can be a mixture of free and paid links, dofollow and nofollow links. The key in finding traffic generating links is finding sites that get a good amount of visitors that are interested in what your website has to offer.

SERP Elevating Links

To boost your search result positioning for particular keywords, the key is getting dofollow links on relevant pages using your keyword phrase as anchor text. So if you want to rank highly for blogging tips, you will want your links to be using those keywords.

There are many ways to get good SERP elevating links including blog commenting on relevant dofollow blogs (preferably with the KeywordLuv plugin), guest blog posting with your anchor text link in your author bio or content, forum signatures, article marketing, directory submissions, and organic links from relevant pages.

PageRank Boosting Links

While the debate ensues about how important PageRank is for your site and whether Google will continue updaing rankings, until the day comes when Google removes PageRank from their toolbar, people are going to care about their ranking in the 1 – 10 system.

PageRank is built by getting dofollow links from relevant pages with high PageRank. The higher the PR of the page your link is on, the more it will count towards boosting your PageRank. This Google PageRank calculation chart shows how many estimated links it takes to get your site to move up in PageRank.

So what tool will help you find some pages with high PageRank? Why not try SEO Quake for Firefox? It has a handy feature that will let you sort your search results for a particular word by PageRank.

SEO Quake Search Results Sorted by PageRank

Once you find relevant pages with high PageRank, you can start building PageRank boosting links to your site via blog comments, link requests, directory submissions, etc.

Reputation Building Links

Are you looking toward using SEO for reputation management? Then you will want to focus on reputation building links – links that are anchored with your name or company name as the anchor. The links are built not just to your main website, but also to your social profiles, blogs, and other affiliations, as the point is to bring positive information about you up in the search results.

Reputation links can be built in a multitude of ways. It goes beyond just creating social profiles – you have to build links to those social profiles. Ways to do this include adding it to your main website, interlinking one social profile with another, blog commeting using your name as anchor text and social profiles as the website URL, adding your social profiles to relevant directories (like Twellow, the Twitter directory), including your profiles in forum signatures, and so on.

Backlinks for Your Backlinks

Each of your backlinks to your websites or social profiles is strengthened by the incoming links to the page your link is placed upon. Therefore, it only makes sense to create some backlinks for the pages you get links.

One easy way to do this is to socially bookmark pages once you get a link placed upon them – this can also be an effective method of keeping track of the links you are getting if you are not using another system to manage your backlinks. Bookmarking the pages your link gets placed on may also help notifiy search crawlers to come and check out the newly updated page, getting your link noticed and cached quickly.

The Key to Building Links

One of the most important things to keep in mind when building links, for any purposes, is that the process must look natural to Google to avoid being penalized. So be sure to vary your strategies, anchor text, and other methods of link building so that you can get the optimum results without running into any problems.

Your Link Building

Do you vary your link building for different purposes, or aim simply to raise your SERP? Are there other ways you build links that are effective for the specific purposes mentioned above. Please share your tips in the comments.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and blogger who develops high-quality content for businesses.
Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines
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  • seomonkey

    The best links combine some of the types – typically you should aim for “Traffic Generating” and “SERP Elevating” links, if possible at the same time.
    Backlinks for backlinks sounds like a bit of waste for me, since you could use this time and efforts for the first two. (Well, when there are easy backlinks, that's maybe a worthy strategy)

    • Kristi Hines

      I do simple things as far as backlinks for backlinks, like the social bookmarking via some bookmarklets on my browser. It's fast and hopefully beneficial to giving more strength to the page your link is on.

  • le-juge

    Very good article.
    Like SEO monkley, I usually try to acquire a mix a all the types of links with a preference with traffic generating ones and SERP elevating ones.

    Note that some links can be in several categories as they can generate some traffic, increase your rankings, increase your PR, and build some of your reputation

    • Kristi Hines

      Very true – probably the most valuable links are the ones that help in multiple areas as far as rankings, traffic, and overall domain strengthening.

  • Ninoyz™

    I'm not much into this kind of things… But, while reading it… I think it will really help my site to earn more followers/visitors… I'm thinking of learning this kind of strategies… 😀 thanks for this one!!! 😀

    • Kristi Hines

      You're welcome!

  • William Cross

    How about being one of the innovators and actually provide something useful like creative methods instead of the available everywhere basic crap?

    • Kristi Hines

      Sorry you've already read about these approaches to link building. I am highly active in the blogging world, and a lot of people write about how certain links are absolutely worthless because all they focus on are building links to get a higher PR or boosting search results. They didn't consider the fact that some links, although they are nofollow or redirects might be good in terms of boosting traffic or building their reputation on a well known site. Businesses are the same way too – if you are link building for a company and they think a link is not worth it simply because it doesn't have anchor text, you have to be able to defend it as helpful in other ways. That was more of my point with this article.

      • John Soares

        Kristi, this post is very useful to me. I'm not an SEO expert; I'm a blogger and info product seller trying to figure out the best ways to get good traffic to my site.

        People like me need articles like this.

    • le-juge

      I think you are a little hard, and on my blog you'd have been moderated for unpolitness

      Even though i did not learn anything reading the article about how link building is done, I like the approach and the philosophy.

      This type of generic article are useful to me as they help me with how talking and explaining processes to my clients. They also are good for general awareness of prospects and our Best SEO customers are not the one that don;t know how to do it, they are the one that do not have the time to do it.

      If you want an article on “how to link build like a pro” here is one – http://www.superbibi.net/mode-demploi/link-buil… But I honestly doubt you'll be able to translate

      • Kristi Hines

        Thanks for sharing that article… I'm sure I lost some of the meaning using Google Translate, but it does have some great tips for link building indeed!

      • le-juge

        Your welcome,

        Still thinks that W Cross doesn't know how to talk to a Lady

      • BizMeds

        “Best SEO customers are not the ones that don;t know how to do it, they are the one that do not have the time to do it.”

        That is so true, link building is a continual process for the un-initiated the concept of link building is mis-understood. Myself, I find this part of my work drudgery due in part because of the time it takes.

        What does it cost source out link building?

    • Darren Moloney

      Hmm why don't you point us to creative methods that YOU'VE written on link building and I'll think better of you otherwise quit being rude…

    • Jay

      Totally agree – this is v basic knowledge already plastered across the net.

      • le-juge

        Totally Agree with Darren Moloney – Jay, William, why don't YOU give your creative way.

  • Maciej

    I usually like to take a strong marketing approach to building up links. Putting branding efforts and elements into the link building often times leads to nice news source type of links.

  • advance web

    Oh. Thanks for the article. THis is really useful. Thanks fr sharing it with your readers. Thanks a lot.

  • borisbenz

    Can someone actually show me a site that was penalized by Google because they had too many links too fast? Here is the thing, if all links that you point to your page contain the same anchor text, it is obvious that they are not “natural”. Also, if all links are coming from the same IP or a few IPs sending masses of links to your site, they are simply being devalued except for the few that computer will leave as relevant.

    Consider this Kristi, if Google engineers would penalize people for links from other websites, they (engineers) would voluntarily assume a huge headache and they would destroy Google's credibility as the best search engine. How?
    This is how. Advesarial SEO. Bam! If someone wants to take their competition down, they simply deploy a bot that will produce a few thousands of crappy links pointing to their website and in a few hours its all over. In niches were people making over 1K per day that would become a common practice and Google would become no better than AltaVista in a few months.
    I am not responsible for links from other sites. Period. And to determine who actually built a link is, oh boy, not easy. What happens with people who builds too many links too quickly is most of the work is lost due to link devaluation.
    That's what I think.

    • Kristi Hines

      I completely agree that it would be unfair to penalize a site because of too many incoming links, but I have seen it happen. I watched it happen to one of my own sites – I was over zealous (because it was for a SEO contest) and did a lot of commenting, forum posts with signature links, and added the site to my social profiles shortly after launching it. I was simultaneously doing link building to the internal pages with different keywords as well as the home page for the site's name, but it didn't matter. The first week, for an obscure phrase, it made the first page – then it spent the next three to four weeks buried beyond 100th position for the keywords I was targeting. I stopped working on the link building aspect and just focused on adding more content, and it eventually came back to the first page.

      • borisbenz

        This is what's called Google dance. This is not a penalty but simply Google gives chance to new websites to show up on top if they have some kind of groundbreaking news. Because you worked extensively on your linking you have triggered the computer loop where it was decided that your page deserved high SERP for a certain keyword. But then I would presume because your links didn't grow exponentially after given the chance to show up on high in the SERPs, Google pulled it down. Then after increased content and the fact that links you have generated were still alive, you came back to the place were you should be after it was considered that you have “matured” to keep your SERP position.
        No penalties just a simple calculation to test whether you are worthy to be on top.

        That makes much more sense to me. Again, penalties for links would ruin Google, this is my personal conclusion because just like I said Google would ruin its own business if they would dare to penalize people for someone's actions. Not only that, they would get their pants sued off by all the businesses who were link bombed. It's a huge legal issue, there is no way that corporation like Google would overlook that. No way.
        Boris Benz

      • Kristi Hines

        I did a little analysis of the situation, looking at other sites that were in the same contest, targeting the same keywords. The reason I thought my site was penalized was that, in comparison to the sites that stayed consistently in the first page: our domains were about the same age (mine was probably a few days newer) and I had a good number of backlinks, blog posts, more Diggs, a lot more comments spread out over the posts, and more traffic (which I judged via Alexa rankings). So being bumped so far back in SERPs for a few weeks felt like a penalty, as I felt what I was doing was similar to the rest of the sites. But maybe I did just fall prey to the Google dance.

      • borisbenz

        Everyone does Kristi,
        If your page hit the top fast it is only a good sign. I think you should continue with link building and keep adding content. I am too busy or too lazy to do both for my site 🙂

    • le-juge

      kinda disagree – IN Dublin Google has a 400 people service called Search Quality Evaluation service and I am pretty sure that somehow they can trend how many links your website has acquired and during how much time – My guess is that if your website get way out of this trend, this will raise a flag for human evaluation of the site. Then …

      • borisbenz

        I don't know how things are in Ireland (just kidding) but there are plenty of examples of sites or single articles that instantly generate thousands and thousands of links and go to the first position on Google in a matter of hours because they posted something that spreads like a wild fire. If the buzz stops after a short period of time the page goes down in rankings fast. I think that Google also watches the traffic and the number of links, tweets, and other references pointing to the page. If the topic short-lived there is no reason for Google keep page on top, it's being “pulled down”. But this is good news because no matter what your website acquires “credit” or reputation of being an interesting source and this only helps in a long run.
        Google dance overall is a good thing, it gives new sites an equal chance to be visible. The only thing is that it may be misunderstood as penalty.

      • le-juge

        I'd really like to see one of this example… is it a niche? or is a a generic keyword? You are talking about a buzz… I think you are underestimating Google algorithm. I my opinion, Google can make the difference between a Buzz and a spammy link acquisition process ones more just by checking trends. Think about the amount of data Google has gathered over the years … I don't say you'll be blacklisted but too many links, too fast and during a too long period will raise some flags, at best it won't help your website in SERPs, at worst you'll be penalized one way or another

      • borisbenz

        Of course Google can determine spammy link acquisition, even I can 🙂 but just like I pointed out to Kristi, there is no way to determine whether it was done by the owner of the page or someone else who wants to “pull” that page down in SERPs. Therefore I dismiss the notion of Google penalties.

        Also, Kristi has pointed out that her page came back in rankings later. So, as far as I am concern that's not a penalty.

        As far as pages hitting the top of SERPs quickly I would recommend to see the article by Sugar Rae on her blog about Tweeter Time Wasters. This is one of the examples and there are plenty. Just search on Google terms like “#1 position on Google in 4 hours” or something like that.

        When you say page generated buzz, it comes down to the number of links and references from the variety of sites and that is what professional link building is all about.

      • le-juge

        ok – I see what you mean. I agree for the buzz thing –

        Now regarding the “Google penalties” your opinion makes sense. We aren't completely in control of our website link popularity and it seems unfair to be at the mercy of a “link attack”.

        Still there are in my opinion some flag raised by this type of “massive spammy link acquisition” whoever has launched it (you or an “aggressive/dishonest” competitor) and unfortunately there are some sort of automatic penalty.

        The problem is that what made the success of Google algorithm in the early days (PR + link pop) has take such an importance into the algorithm that I doubt they can completely get rid of it.

      • borisbenz

        Yep, the massive link acquisition usually results in devaluing most of the links pointing to the site. And that is the reason Google doesn't reveal which links it counts and which are being discarded. It is a common phenomenon when it comes to article syndication due to same anchor text and duplicate content.

        I think what happens and this is what is being called “Google penalty”, when the large number of links is being devalued, web page takes the SERP the position which it rightfully deserves according Google logarithms. I think the jump up and down in SERPs or what is known “Google dance” occurs because Google programmers set up a time frame for website “to prove its worth” judging by the number of links generated while it is on top or on the bottom of SERPs.

        For example if you are in #1 position, you should get much more links because you attract much more traffic and if your information is valuable people will vote for it (with links). If during “Google dance” you are the number #150 under your targeted keyword, you should be generated much less links because of lesser visibility. When the page is back on top, the number of links should continue to grow exponentially.

        This should give a clue to link builders when to take a break 🙂

        I do not have any insights on how Google logarithms work and I don't care to get any juicy secrets. My approach to SEO and link building is based on my humble personal experience and observation of search engines behavior. I can't imagine though that Google would take a huge legal liability to “penalize” if it is not a 100% established fact that a person is responsible for unethical actions.

  • alfredp333

    Great comment. What I am not sure about is the page rank. Google doesn't seem to pay attention to it anymore. I think one suggestion that is very useful is video with the right tags and properly optimized, Google loves video.

    • Kristi Hines

      Google may not pay attention, but so long as they keep updating it like they did recently, people will consider it important. I did an analysis from the perspective of blogging comparing PR with other metrics (comments, retweets, traffic, backlinks) and found that high PR didn't equate to the best post, and vice versa.

  • dhirajch

    Agree, any thing overdone is bad, so instead of creating spam backlink one should focus on quality of backlink with proper anchor text and related websites.

    • Kristi Hines

      Exactly – a few quality links go a long way compared to a lot of lower valued ones.

  • muzikdin

    thanks love

  • muzikdin

    müzik dinle

  • Peter Stevens

    I ran into a few competitive sites with content sites for the purpose of building links. One competitor keeps it in the keyword domain, meaning they keep the site true to the subject matter, but they own all the posts and comments. The other has a non-keyword site. They choose to build a site on the environment and have their name at the bottom as the sponsor of the site with a keyword rich link. They are constantly #1. and 80% of they back links emanate from this site. What bucket would you put this activity and is it all above board or does it border on gray.

  • Shamim

    How much importance a non-keyword related comment name can get from Search Engines? Suppose, my name is Shamim and if i comment here and there to promote one of my SEO blog, using my name as the anchor text……..will it help my blogs to be high ranked?

    • Kristi Hines

      Those kinds of links aren't necessarily good for SERPs – but I have found that on some blogs, if you are one of the first few people to comment and you leave a really intelligent response, you can get a good bit of traffic.

  • Steven Downward

    This was a great post. I'm pretty new to the whole backlinking thing and this post was great. Gave me a lot of info about the different types of links and what they are good for. Before this, I was just going by what made sense.

  • maps4pets

    Think I will start following you on Twitter.

  • Alexandr

    Thanks for the info Kristi, this is great tips.

  • Vance Sova

    Hi Kristi,

    This post on link building is one of the best if not the best that I've ever read.

    You write for everybody so they can learn. Somebody who commented earlier wanted some revolutionary information or perhaps to say that they already know everything.

    It is the way you put things together that is so valuable and helpful.


  • david @seo-writer.com

    Hi Kristi.

    Backlinks for your backlinks is a great idea, something I have done a few times (not nearly enough). It does pay to be selective, though.

    For instance, if you get a link from a page that lists your site and 15 top competitors, it doesn't help to boost that page's link-juice.

    However, if you have made a guest blog post or are the only one in your niche listed on a page, it is certainly worth creating some social bookmarks or adding it to a Squidoo lense or even using that as the URL for a blog comment or two.

  • Luke

    Very good article for a newbie like myself, thank you!

  • executive training

    Thanks for these tips. Another great article from your blog, this site is a gold mine and I visit it very often to get some new tips.

    • Shamim Ahmad

      It is general not gold mine Please if U wanna to become best seo then deeply go for it

  • james

    Hi Kristi,
    Nice article and I have to agree with you on the section relating to the use of Keyword Luv. I know many SEO's challenge the benefits from blog links but I work in a fairly competitive niche and Keyword Luv links alone have been enough to raise me to the bottom of page 2 for a very competitive phrase.

  • Shamim Ahmad

    It is general not gold mine Please if U wanna to become best seo then deeply go for it

  • Marcus

    Some of the best links to our site in terms of generating highly qualified visitors and leads are not what you may term ‘SEO links’.

    Links from SEO forums, business forums and Q&A sites like Quora where we have helped folks out with specific SEO or link building problems and then directed them to BowlerHat.co.uk for a more indepth answer or even just via our profile clicking through to the site often bring visitors who like what you had to say and how you helped someone else and then generate an enquiry.

    If you only ever try to build links with the goal of improving your search results then you are missing a trick – think visibility, think leads, think highly qualified site visitors and you may find that link building for SEO is not quite as important as you may once have thought.

    Certainly, we have several small business clients that can generate more than enough business with blogging and engagement in a few online communities and that works out better for them financially than a heavy duty link building campaign and also shows gradual SEO improvements and increased traffic from the blog content alone.

    Sure, I am not saying link building to boost traffic is not needed but it can be detrimental when the only focus is shifting your keyword rankings up a couple of notches.

  • Rodrigo@offset printing

    Quality posts is the crucial to be a focus for the
    visitors to pay a visit the site, that’s what this web page is providing.

  • Andrew D.

    I’m still learning and have been wandering what other articles meant by building links to your links. Thanks to this article I now know I can use bookmarking to do that.