The types of links that you build matter as much as you execute your link building strategies tactics.

Just like knowing what kind of salt and pepper to use for your recipe, your cooking becomes more effective when you actually know what ingredients to use and why you need to use them.

So, if you want to be an effective link builder, you need to understand these 12 link types.

Here we go.

types-of-links-how-to-get-them

1. NATURAL-EDITORIAL LINKS (CONTENT)

Natural-editorial links are by-products of link earning.

This type of link is acquired organically – meaning there isn’t any form of outreach initiatives from the side of the person who gets the link.  The webmaster or publisher initiates linking to a certain piece of content.

Link-wise, it’s close to impossible to get the similar link type unless there’s a high-level reason why a particular person would link to your website.

In my experience, there are three primary factors on how you can earn natural-editorial links:

A. CONTENT RANKED FOR REFERENTIAL KEYWORDS

Not all keywords that you target can get people to both search for it and link to the top ranking piece (or whatever ranking page they’d find worth referencing to).

For example, if you search for what is link building, you’ll find that most people would end up typing the exact question, getting the answer and leaving the page right away. 

But there are keywords that people both search for and link to as a reference for their own content works. These are called “referential keywords“.

Here are some examples of referential keywords:

I. TOPIC TEMPLATES

Any niche template is highly searchable and is worth linking to. The reason is simple – it makes life easier. If you can have a template to create your own resume without having to write the whole thing from scratch, it actually saves you minutes (if not hours).

Therefore, templates keyword is one content type that is worth referencing in a blog post because it gives value worth finding for.

Popular examples of this niche-type keyword are job search templates and web design templates (CSS and HTML).

job search templates serps

Other template keywords you may also create content around that can fit in your industry are the following:

  • Christmas tree template
  • meal plan template
  • door hanger template
  • macaron template
  • travel itinerary template
  • weekly lesson plan template
  • wedding seating chart template
  • real estate flyer template
  • family budget template

Pro tip: Use Ahrefs or SEMRush to search for a specific type of template you could invest a content piece around in your space.

You can use the tool’s search volume to type in a keyword + “template” to find niche template terms.

ahrefs parenting template example

II. TIPS/STRATEGIES/HACKS

A writer wants to include more tips in his content and so, if you have an extensive guide on co-parenting tips, there’s a good chance it could be used as a reference on other blog posts.

Example: photography tips, first date tips, rhetorical strategies, camping hacks

III. DATA

Industry/topic data can serve as a credible source of information for a content you’re writing about. It builds trust from your readers and thus, this is a type of content that has high likelihood of being linked to by publishers as a reference.

Example: real estate data, snapchat data usage

EXCEPTION:

There are niche-type keywords one wouldn’t ever think of being referenced by potential linkers. Such are the case with question keywords.

Normally, a question keyword, what is a watchdog? for example, can be easily answered and doesn’t require you to reference to a post about that specific topic.

direct question search results

If you’re the writer, you think it’s only a bit-sized information and you could either list it down or use your opinion if you can answer the question properly.

However, there are cases that require expertise to answer a question and thus, gives content creators an opportunity to create content from it that doesn’t just serve the need but have data/facts to support the answer.

You’ll see this happen in health niches. One should have a scientific/medicine background before he/she can answer a question.

For example, the search query, “Is snoring a hereditary?”, requires content that is written by a person with strong health background(PhD graduate).

Is snoring a hereditary google search

With these niche questions that are best served with expertise-based content, there are cases when a question keyword can also be a referential keyword. This means that content ranking for such keyword can also be used as a reference by other publishers in their posts.

B. WORD-OF-MOUTH BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL PAGES

Another factor that could help you earn links is when your community users, brand evangelists, and those people who know your brand link to you naturally from discussion websites.

What makes it worthy of earning is the amount of conversions you can get from those discussion sites – not just links.

forum links assisted conversions

Forum links that point to your bottom of the funnel pages, i.e. to your product pages, is really valuable from a business perspective – as it can generate sales over time. 

C. STRONG BRAND AUTHORITY

Building your brand authority in your space requires consistency in messaging and delivery of high-quality offering.

Whether that’s a great product/service, a great brand ambassador, or the length of company existence (with strong brand presence), the more you could establish any of those factors consistently on your site, the higher the possibility of earning links this way.

For example, Tim Soulo recently published a post on how they grow exponentially at Ahrefs from a MRR/ARR metric perspective.

ahrefs growth

How that possible is their ability to focus on one thing – to improve their product best. The product itself allows them to earn links from SEO or internet marketing publishers.

(If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you see that I’ve been linking to them almost all the time, when I want to share a tool that can be used for certain link building activities).

This isn’t something that is scalable in nature, for sure, and the market decides if you have the great/best offering.

But if you’re choosing clients to cater with your SEO or link building services, it’s something that you have to consider. A brand authority could easily help earn links because it’s the community themselves – publishers and products’ existing users linking to the organization naturally.

2. MANUAL OUTREACH LINKS (CONTENT)

As implied, manual outreach links are executed with manual efforts – from finding relevant link opportunities to identifying an irresistible offer (something that’s valuable to end users) and to sending emails to appropriate contact persons.

This is the most common type of links on the web given that not everyone has the ability and authority to earn links when starting out.

That being said, manual outreach link building can bring guaranteed range of number of links per month (e.g. 6 to 10 links per month) if done right and consistently throughout a period of time.

There are a lot of ways on how you can build manual outreach links, and here are some resources that can help you get started:

For this post, I’d like to share with you something that’s been overlooked when doing manual outreach link building.

First:

PICKING UP NEW COMPETITOR LINKS

If there are only a few inches away in beating up the competition, knowing what your competitors are working on based on their new links being acquired is essential to maneuvering your website to better links.

For this reason, you can use Ahrefs to check your competitors’ new links.

new backlinks ahrefs

You can even filter indexed links based on a specific period of time (past month, past week, or past day).

filter new competitor backlinksPicking up new links of your competitors will you give insights as to which link building tactic they’re currently focusing on (either niche scholarships or discount programs for example) and if they are pursuing blogs/sites from other verticals (but definitely still relevant to their brand).

Given their recency of linking, new links acquired by your competitors has high chances of converting into links when pitched since they are more receptive to link pitches. 

LINKABLE MARKETS FOR CERTAIN CONTENT TYPES

A certain type of content is serving a particular linkable audience.

For example, an educational guide caters to resource linkers while bloggers are more receptive to infographics and entertainment-driven article.

Meanwhile, news editors are looking for more data-studies type of content.

content fits linkable market

via SiegeMedia

In essence, if you’re manually reaching out to certain linkable audience and you’re not giving them a suitable content type, you’re less likely to acquire a link from an editorial perspective.

That’s not to say there’s no chance of linking. But for every content type, there’s a specific linkable audience it does serve.

3. SELF-CREATED NON-EDITORIAL LINKS

Not being editorially given, self-created non-editorial links tend to carry less weight than other link types. They get lesser clicks to their referring pages as compared to links placed within the body of content. Therefore, from a lead generation perspective, it’s not worthwhile to put all your efforts in self-created non-editorial links.

self created non editorial links

Here are some examples of this link type that I’ve seen still being built up to this date:

    • Not moderated blog comments
    • User profile pages
    • Forum signatures/profile links
    • Not moderated directories

Get this type of links to diversify your link profile, but not too many, given that they don’t provide as much link value as compared to editorial links.

The type of self-created non-editorial links you should definitely get are social links.

Here are a few social sites where you can build free backlinks:

4. DISCUSSION-BASED LINKS

Links coming from discussion websites and online boards are proved to be valuable in terms of driving referral traffic and assisted conversions to a website.

Both benefits are a strong proof of how powerful that link type is, as you’re hitting two birds with one stone: traffic and conversions.

To benefit much from discussion-based links, one must consider the following:

    • Identify sub-niche boards from community discussion and niche-specific forum sites.
    • Consider more of quality than quantity (e.g. if you own an eCommerce guitar website, a brand presence on a guitar forum with 5000-ish users is better than a music forum with almost 50,000 users).
    • Participate in discussion boards/threads where you think you can provide value with your expertise. Take note that your goal is to drive traffic through clicks from links. If your participation doesn’t engage the users well, it’s more difficult to drive traffic to your website.
    • Don’t insert links pointing to your commercial pages with no relevance to threads. You may be flagged as spam or be banned from the community site.
    • Add hyper-relevant links to discussions. If you think a category page is more suitable than a product page, then consider more to adding it.

Here are a few examples of websites where you can build discussion-based links:

QUORA

Quora is a a question-and-answer site where people benefits from answers to specific queries.

Search for Quora-sub threads that you can follow and find questions from it. Spend 10 minutes of your time providing genuine and valuable answers or solutions to niche-relevant questions.

quora question and answer

Last year, I’ve put a daily practice to answer one relevant question every single day. It drove not just traffic, but potential clients to our agency.

COUNTRY AND LOCAL-SPECIFIC FORUMS

If you’re doing local link building, it’s important to not just get relevant discussion-based links, but also hyper local.

For example, if you’re targeting Aussies, Whirlpool is a forum site in Australia you’ll love the most as users (mostly from tech niche) are highly engaged.

Identifying a forum site like this is worthwhile to spend minutes, if not hours, of your time. Genuinely provide solutions to recent questions that will best result to more traffic and leads to your website.

whirlpool forum

NICHE-RELEVANT FORUMS

Don Rhoades shared a credible idea on how to penetrate niche forums for traffic.

He coined the term, “forum participating rubric“, which is a method of using criteria to make decisions on participating in forums and online conversations that mention a need for your products.

Here’s how it looks like:

forum participation rubric

Here’s what each row means:

Timely: I like to try and stay current as sales opportunities can go from hot to cold very quickly. Online conversations can change focus just as instantly. As an online retail salesman, you must be ubiquitous in “the showroom,” which any good salesman knows is everywhere he is. You can use this method for current press hits as well.

Collaborative: Agree or disagree, supporting another user’s statement helps you build a relationship, and that’s what link building really all boils down to. Keep in mind, the first few interactions you make will most likely not be a good time to drop a link. This is a situation that calls for patience and being genuine in your responses. Remember, this is not about ranking sites and scaling the shit out of a process. This is about adding value to a community.

Education: This is most likely the best facet of this approach. Every product, no matter how much like other products it may be, has unique features, advantages, and benefits. These are the selling points of your product over others. Your on-site content should communicate these FAB’s and offer the G, which stands for Grabber (ask for the sale, without asking).

Clarity: This is one of my most common 4’s on the scale. Having an opportunity to address a misprint or correct an opinion formed by the reader is a blessing in disguise. This is also where it pays to have assessed all of your press mentions and link profile. Many times, I have found opportunities to place links to other sites that already have links that generate sales. BOO-YAH! Some press hits from 2 years ago had no inbound links in the body, but after giving a clarifying statement (with an informational page link), they still bring in significant monthly sales.

Ecommerce Link Building Using Rubic by Don Rhoades

5. SPONSORSHIP-BASED LINKS

Getting this type of link isn’t groundbreaking. You only need to be a sponsor of an event, organization, charity or any cause, and in return you’ll be receiving a link from a specific page.

Here are steps on how you can build sponsorship-based links.

First is to identify niche-specific sponsorship link opportunities.

If you’re targeting a local city, it is best to also filter opportunities based on its locality.

You can use this search query (inurl:sponsor “INDUSTRY”) or (inurl:sponsor “INDUSTRY” “CITY”) to look for sponsorship pages in your industry.

The more hyper-relevant your opportunities are, the better link value you can get from them.

sponsorship links

Next is to create a list of these sponsorship opportunities in a spreadsheet.

This way, you’ll be able to check each page later on and prioritize which sponsorship opportunity is more suitable to your website and to your budget.

Finally, reach out to each contact person in the website/organization with a value offer that suits for them.

6. MEMBERSHIP-BASED LINKS

This type of link is a by-product of being part or affiliate within an organization.

Acquiring membership-based links is based on the idea that if you have joined an organization, whether you’re coming off as a personal or corporate, you will have a chance to get a link from a specific page of that organization website.

membership based linksIf you’re working for a client for link building, it is best to check your company’s existing collaborations, partners or affiliated organizations.

Do a research if there is an existing membership/affiliate/partnership page in that organization.

See if other companies have links to their respective sites. This is important as you won’t be able to get a link from them if, in the first place, they haven’t given links to other companies.

When you see one, reach out to the particular organization and ask if you can give you a link from that specific page.

7. Edu & .Gov LINKS

Links coming from .edu and .gov links are highly trusted by search engines, and therefore, is a high-quality link type you should aim to get for your website.

These links are difficult to acquire, but certainly there are many ways on how you can score them. Below are some tips on how to get .edu and .gov links.

    • Provide a scholarship opportunity for students, make it more relevant to your brand (e.g. scholarship for disability students if you’re selling medical supplies).
    • Offer an educational content to .edu and .gov site that is worth linking to from a relevant resoure page.
    • Get links from summer housing, internship and off-housing pages of .edu sites (best fit if you’re a real estate site – apartment).
    • Acquire links from “new to an area” page of .edu sties (things to do, local attractions in [CITY], quality schools in [CITY], moving and relocation in [CITY], etc..).

things to do in city pages

Here are some more resources you can read on building .edu and .gov links:

8. EVENT-BASED LINKS

As implied, these links are acquired using events either you create your own or just participate.

Here are some ways on how you can maximize events to build links to your website.

Host your own event (whether local or niche-specific).

This requires that you have a set of brand followers (offline or event, much better if it’s both) or simply have built an expertise around a certain niche/industry. This way, it’ll be easier for you to sell tickets or get people to book slots for the event.

host local industry conference

Invite people who have linking intent, i.e. publishers of a local media team, bloggers, influencers or content creators/PR of different companies to come at your event. Give some free passes or reduce their sponsorship fees if they’re a huge win for you (i.e. a big local media site). 

If your event is to provide information/content to your audience, it’s also important to invite industry experts to speak. This will give you some links, as some of them may also promote your event from their own blogs.

Get your event listed on local or event listing websites/directories. Here are some search queries you can use to find these low-hanging link opportunities:

  • [CITY] inurl:event inurl:submit
  • [KEYWORD] inurl:event inurl:submit
  • [CITY] [KEYWORD] inurl:event inurl:submit
  • [CITY] inurl:event inurl:add
  • [KEYWORD] inurl:event inurl:add
  • [CITY] [KEYWORD] inurl:event inurl:add
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “submit event”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “submit an event”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “submit your event”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “add event”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “add an event”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “add your event”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “submit your workshop”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “submit your course”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “submit your class”
  • [KEYWORD] [CITY] “submit your conference”

Pitch to become a speaker at an event

Companies hosting events normally have pages on their sites dedicated to that purpose. By pitching yourself to become a speaker at a local or industry event, you may ask organizers to include a link to your website from their event page.

Take a look at this contextual link I got from a local events page.

local speaking pitch 1

local speaking pitch 2

To find speaking opportunities within your region, this newly built platform by Bryan Harris is a great help.

agent speaking agent

The platform has a filter function that helps you sort out speaking pitch opportunities that are only relevant to your expertise/industry.

Moreover, here are some websites where you can create events, list your events, participate, or even pitch to be speaker:

And down to our last type of link – relationship-driven links.

9. NATURAL-EDITORIAL LINKS (RELATIONSHIPS)

Another kind of natural-editorial links is a link that is built through relationships.

Relationships, if started and strengthened through authentic and continuous connections can really help someone acquire a natural link.

There is one attribute that allows relationships to result into links.

Reciprocity.

The principle is that when you offer value to a person, it’s but natural for that other person to give back something in return.

The question now is not how to build relationships, because that obviously is natural for every person, but how to know what value to offer to a person.

Here are some tips on how you can identify and bring that value to a targeted audience in your space (which give you ton of opportunities to earn natural links in return):

    • Make a list of people who you can help and can also help you in strengthening your brand.
    • Build conversations with them around industry communities (forums/community sites) and social networking sites. Don’t come off as a spammy by sending out generic Tweet DMs.
    • You can start by sharing their latest content (best if you can customize your tweets to make it unique and enticing for clicks from your followers).relationship driven links
    • Promote your best content to them (by giving so, you let them see resources they can use as references to their works).
    • Influence other influencers. By doing so, you can capture audiences of other influencers when they start sharing content and you’ve built strong connections with them as well.

Overall, those are the 9 types of links that you need to remember. Not all of them you will build, but the links you should prioritize are ones that can drive traffic and conversions to your website.

If you liked this post, subscribe to our newsletter and follow me on @venchito14.

Need help with your link building campaigns? Check out our link building services here.


The Author
Venchito Tampon Jr

Venchito Tampon is the CEO and Co-Founder of SharpRocket,. Also a Filipino motivational speaker who inspired thousands of youth and young professionals across the Philippines.

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