Types of Links and Their Impact on SEO

In the sprawling landscape of the digital world, reaching the top spot on search engine results seems like a herculean task. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in, serving as the compass for navigating the turbulent waters of online visibility.

As you navigate the complexities of digital marketing, you’ll quickly discover that it’s a land of many mysteries and revelations. One such revelation is the realization of the critical role that links play in your website’s SEO. But not just any links – the right links.

While the Internet may seem like a vast, infinite network of random connections, in reality, each link forms a crucial path in a vast labyrinth that guides search engines to your website. And SEO? Well, that’s the master plan that helps you lay these paths with precision, maximizing your chances of being discovered. The team at Visible Webs is here to be your guide, your mentor, in unveiling the power of links and steering your business toward unprecedented online visibility.

What Are Links?

Links are the highways of the Internet, connecting one piece of content to another. In the context of SEO, these are often referred to as ‘backlinks’ or ‘inbound links’ – links from external websites that point to your website. Backlinks, in the simplest terms, are the connections formed when one website links to another. Imagine these links as firm handshakes or friendly nods of acknowledgment between websites, endorsing the credibility of each other’s content.
That’s why for businesses aiming to extend their digital footprint, a comprehensive link-building strategy is not just a boost – it’s a game-changer.

Think of these links as recommendations or votes of confidence in your content’s quality and relevance. When a website links to your content, it’s effectively telling search engines like Google, “Hey, this content is worth checking out!”

But not all links are created equal. Some are more influential and carry more ‘weight’ in the eyes of search engines, while others serve different purposes. To wield the power of links effectively, you need to understand their various types and uses.

Types of Links

Links are the bridges that connect the different islands of information on the digital ocean. So let’s dive deeper into the various types of these bridges. 

Links by Attributes

In the SEO world, links are often defined by their attributes. These attributes help search engines understand the nature of the links and how to treat them. Basically, all links can be divided into two attribute categories: “Dofollow” and “Nofollow.”


Dofollow links are your best friends in SEO. These links are like open gates, allowing search engines to follow them and pass on their SEO juice from the source website to the linked site. They transfer both the Page Rank and link anchors, signaling to search engines that your site is trustworthy and relevant. In other words, dofollow links are valuable for driving your website’s SEO performance, especially when they originate from high-quality, authoritative websites.

However, it’s essential to earn these links organically through high-quality content and strong relationships with other websites. Google’s algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated at detecting artificial or manipulative link-building strategies, which can lead to penalties and negatively impact your rankings.


Nofollow links are often misunderstood and underestimated in the world of SEO. They come with a ‘no-follow’ directive to search engines, which essentially means, “Don’t consider this link in your ranking calculations.” They don’t pass Page Rank or link anchors, which often leads to the assumption that they don’t hold any value.

But, in reality, nofollow links play a crucial role in maintaining a natural and balanced link profile. Websites naturally acquire a mix of dofollow and nofollow links, and having only dofollow links can appear suspicious to search engines. Besides, nofollow links from reputable sites can still drive significant referral traffic, increase brand visibility, and even lead to more dofollow links over time.

Links by Power

When we refer to links by power, we’re essentially categorizing them based on their potential influence on your website’s SEO. The two primary categories are “Hard Links” and “Pillow Links.”

Hard Links

Within the world of SEO, hard links are your power players. They are specifically designed to drive your search engine rankings. These links typically contain strategic keywords and are placed within high-quality content on high-authority websites to maximize their impact.

However, like any power player, hard links must be used strategically. Overuse or misuse can appear manipulative to search engines, leading to potential penalties. So it is important to balance your hard links with other link types and ensure they are earned organically.

Pillow Links

Pillow links might not pack the same punch as hard links, but they play an equally vital role. These links are essentially ‘softeners,’ designed to dilute your link profile and make it appear more natural to search engines.

Think of it this way: if hard links are your star players, then pillow links are your supporting cast. They ensure that your SEO strategy doesn’t seem overly aggressive or manipulative, which can trigger penalties from search engines. They can come from various sources like social media profiles, forums, directories, and more, lending diversity and balance to your link profile.

Links by Placements

A well-placed link can significantly boost your website’s visibility, drive high-quality traffic, and establish your brand’s credibility. So it’s time to understand and master the world of link placements. Let’s explore this exciting terrain together!


Outreach links are like the fruits of successful networking – they’re the links that you earn by building relationships with other website owners, bloggers, or influencers in your industry. It involves reaching out to these individuals or organizations, usually with a proposal for mutually beneficial content.

For example, you might offer a guest post on a topic that’s relevant to their audience, which naturally includes a link back to your website. Or, you could propose a resource on your site that could be valuable to their readers. Earning outreach links can be a time-consuming process, but the payoff in terms of SEO value and potential referral traffic can be immense.

Guest Posts

Guest posts are a tried and tested strategy for earning high-quality links. Essentially, you offer to write a piece of content for another website – usually a site that is relevant to your industry and has a higher authority than yours. In return, you can include a link to your website within the content.

Guest posting is beneficial in many ways. It’s a great way to establish your authority within your industry, drive referral traffic, and of course, earn valuable backlinks. However, it’s crucial to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to guest posting. Aim for well-researched, high-quality content that delivers genuine value to readers, and place your links naturally within the content.

Niche Edits

Niche edits involve inserting a link into an existing piece of content on another website. This strategy can be beneficial because you’re getting a link from content and a page that’s already indexed and ranking in search engines, providing a fast SEO boost. However, niche edits need to be approached responsibly and ethically. Always ensure that your links are relevant and add value to the existing content.

PBNs (Private Blog Networks)

PBNs, or Private Blog Networks, are a gray hat SEO strategy that involves creating a network of websites for the sole purpose of link-building. Essentially, a business can own multiple websites and use them to build backlinks to its main site.

While PBNs can be effective for gaining quick SEO wins, they are generally considered risky and unethical. Search engines like Google have strict guidelines against such manipulative link-building tactics, and websites that are part of a PBN can be penalized or deindexed.

Backlinks Submissions

Backlink submissions refer to the practice of adding your links to various online platforms that allow user-generated content, such as forums, directories, social media sites, or blogs. These platforms usually allow you to create a profile or post content, within which you can include a link back to your website.

While backlink submissions can be a quick and easy way to earn backlinks, it’s essential to do it in a responsible and ethical manner. Focus on platforms that are relevant to your industry, and always aim to add value to the community with your content.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 links hail from platforms where you can create your own website or blog on a subdomain, such as Tumblr or WordPress.com. Their URls will look like this one: “bestwebsite.wordpress.com”.
These links offer an excellent opportunity for content creation, link-building, and audience engagement. However, it’s crucial to maintain a focus on quality and user value when creating Web 2.0 sites. Google can recognize and penalize low-effort or spammy Web 2.0 sites, which could impact your main site’s SEO.


Directory links are established when your website is listed in an online directory. While this method isn’t as powerful as it once was due to the proliferation of low-quality directories, legitimate directory sites can still offer SEO benefits. It is key to choose high-authority, reputable directories that are relevant to your industry, and ensure your listing provides accurate and useful information.


Comment links come from the comments section of blogs, forums, and other online platforms. While these links are typically nofollow and won’t directly influence your SEO rankings, they can drive referral traffic and increase brand visibility. However, spamming comments with your links can lead to penalties, so it’s crucial to leave thoughtful, valuable comments that contribute to the conversation.

Crowd Marketing

Crowd marketing involves engaging with online communities, forums, and social networks relevant to your industry and subtly promoting your brand within those communities. This strategy can yield links that, while often nofollow, can still drive significant referral traffic and boost brand visibility.

Links by Anchors

The way we “dress up” our hyperlinks, and the words we choose, can significantly impact the visibility and ranking of our website in search engine results. Each anchor text type is carrying its own unique potential to impact your site’s rankings and traffic, so let’s explore them.

Exact Match Anchor Text

Exact match anchors are powerful tools in your SEO arsenal. They involve using a specific keyword or phrase that you want to rank for, as the anchor text of your link. For instance, if you’re trying to rank for ‘organic dog food,’ you might use that exact phrase as your anchor text.

However, like hard links, exact match anchors need to be used sparingly and strategically. Overuse can appear manipulative and lead to penalties from search engines. Always strive for a diverse anchor text profile that includes a mix of exact match, partial match, branded, and generic anchors.

Phrase Match Anchor Text

Phrase match anchors are an extension of exact match anchors. They include the target keyword or phrase along with additional words. These anchor texts can provide context and appear more natural to search engines, reducing the risk of penalties. For instance, if your target keyword is ‘organic dog food,’ a phrase match anchor might be ‘best organic dog food for puppies.’ 

Partial Match Anchor Text

Partial match anchors are a more flexible version of exact match anchors. They include variations or subsets of your target keyword. For example, for the target keyword ‘organic dog food,’ partial match anchors could be ‘best dog food’ or ‘organic food for dogs.’ Such anchor texts offer diversity to your link profile and can help you rank for a broader range of keywords.

Anchor Text Matching Page Title

These anchors are naturally occurring links that mimic the title of the linked page. This type of anchor text aligns with your page title and is often found in natural links on various websites as your site starts to climb the SEO ladder.  While these anchor texts are less strategic than other types, they contribute to a diverse and natural link profile. It’s a good way of providing contextual hints to both users and search engines about your content’s relevance

Branded Anchor Text

Branded anchors use the brand name of the website as the anchor text. They can also include variations with the brand name. For example, for a company called ‘Healthy Paws,’ branded anchors could be ‘Healthy Paws,’ ‘Healthy Paws dog food,’ or ‘click here for Healthy Paws.’ These anchors can strengthen brand recognition and trust, both with users and search engines.

Generic Anchor Text

Generic anchors are non-descriptive words or phrases like ‘click here,’ ‘this website,’ or ‘read more.’ While they don’t contribute directly to your keyword rankings, they help diversify your anchor text profile and make your link-building efforts appear more natural.

URL Anchor Text

URL anchors use the URL of the linked page as the anchor text. While they’re not keyword-optimized, they appear very natural to search engines.

Nonsense Anchor Text

Nonsense anchors are essentially random, non-descriptive words or phrases. They typically result from spam or low-quality link-building tactics and can be harmful to your SEO. It’s best to avoid nonsense anchors and focus on building high-quality, meaningful links with relevant anchor text.

How to Measure Links? Domain Metrics & Services that Provide Them

Just as a captain uses navigational tools to steer the ship, you’ll need specific metrics and services to guide your SEO journey. Knowing how to measure your links is crucial to assess their value and understand their impact on your SEO. Let’s explore some popular SEO tools and their key metrics.


Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that provides a wealth of data about your links. Two key metrics in Ahrefs are Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR).

Domain Rating (DR): DR measures the overall strength of a website’s backlink profile on a scale of 0 to 100. It considers both the quantity and quality of the backlinks. A higher DR indicates a strong, authoritative backlink profile.

URL Rating (UR): UR, also scored on a scale of 0 to 100, assesses the strength of a page’s backlink profile. It calculates how many backlinks a specific URL has and how powerful those backlinks are. The higher the UR, the stronger the backlink profile of that page.


Majestic is another popular SEO tool with its own unique set of metrics – Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF).

Trust Flow (TF): TF measures the quality of a website’s backlinks. It looks at how trustworthy a site is by measuring the quality of sites linking to it. A high Trust Flow score indicates that a site has a good amount of reliable and reputable links.

Citation Flow (CF): CF, on the other hand, measures the quantity of links pointing to a website without considering their quality. A high Citation Flow score signifies a large number of links pointing to the website, but these could be of low quality.


MOZ is a renowned SEO tool with its own metrics – Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA).

Domain Authority (DA): DA predicts how likely a website is to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). It’s calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score.

Page Authority (PA): PA is a score (on a 100-point scale) that predicts how well a specific page will rank on SERPs. It is based on data from the Mozscape web index and includes link counts, MozRank, MozTrust, and numerous other factors.

Each of these SEO tools and their respective metrics offers unique insights into the strength and value of your links. Using them together can provide a comprehensive understanding of your overall link profile.

How Do Links Impact SEO?

Links are one of the fundamental building blocks of SEO. They significantly influence how search engines perceive the relevance and authority of your website. Here’s how:

  • Enhance Visibility: When reputable sites link to your website, it boosts your visibility and exposes your site to a broader audience. This can lead to increased traffic, both directly from the links and from improved search engine rankings.
  • Build Authority: Backlinks from high-authority websites signal to search engines that your content is trustworthy and valuable, which can boost your site’s authority and search rankings.
  • Boost Rankings: Links are a key factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. High-quality backlinks can help improve your rankings for specific keywords, driving more organic traffic to your site.


With an understanding of the different types of links and how they impact SEO, you’re now equipped to develop a more robust and effective link-building strategy. Remember, the ultimate goal of SEO isn’t just to rank higher – it’s to provide value to your users. Always prioritize quality over quantity, build links ethically, and focus on delivering meaningful content. By doing so, you’ll build a strong, diverse link profile that supports your SEO goals and propels your website to the top of search engine results. 

Like all good things, links require time, patience, and a strategic approach. However, if you lack the time or expertise for effective link building, consider reaching out to professionals like Visible Webs.

We specialize in SEO, PPC services, and link-building strategies to elevate your online presence. So, don’t miss the chance to take your website visibility to the next level. Contact us to embark on your SEO journey today!