Linkbuilding should be considered the cornerstone of nearly all affiliate website SEO strategies. Backlinks will help search engines consider your website for target keywords. Simple in concept; backlinks come in a wide range of quality. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of backlinks available and how to best utilize them can help ensure your website is poised for success.

Learn More: How to Start a Blog: Successful Strategies for Marketing Your Website

Important Considerations

As you begin familiarizing yourself with different sources of backlinks you’ll begin to recognize that backlinks exist in a wide range of quality. As a general rule of thumb, the easier a backlink is to get the less ability it will have to boost your SEO rankings. Less powerful links can still be used in unique ways such as branding, anchor text diversification, and increasing overall referring domain count. Quality links are always going to be attractive for SEO purposes but sometimes the effort it takes to get them to outweigh their benefit. For example; it might take you as many resources to get a link from the New York Times as it would to get 30 links from smaller niche-related personal blogs. Editorial links carry a lot of glamour but aren’t always the most cost-effective idea. This article will cover some different types of backlinks, explain how to get them, and describe some of the best use-cases for each type.

From Editorial backlinks to spammy comment backlinks; all backlinks have the potential to impact your SEO strategy in both positive and negative capacities. When considering which types of backlinking strategies you plan to implement on your website it pays to know the benefits and potential downsides of each. Below you’ll find a brief overview of some of the most common types of backlinks used to help do affiliate website SEO starting with the most difficult to obtain moving to the easiest.

Editorial Backlinks Moneymound

Editorial links can be very powerful but are costly to procure

Editorial links can serve many purposes and have the potential to catapult any website into the top of the SERPs. These are links from websites like CNN, Forbes, Business Insider, The New York Times, and other widely-distributed websites. As a general rule, these are the most valuable types of backlinks a website can get. As far as SEO is concerned, however, these links aren’t always the ideal option to rank websites in less competitive niches or those meant to maintain a smaller overall body of content. To get these links, without an inside relationship with a contributing author, you have to produce some seriously valuable content or do something seriously link-worthy. Connecting with contributors to these websites on social media and applying for a contributorship are ways to earn these links. When all else fails, you can always buy them!

SEO Potential: Medium to High

Traffic Potential: High

Resource Cost: High

MANUAL OUTREACH BACKLINKS MONEYMOUND

Manual Outreach is all about creating relationships with other websites

Manual outreach links could technically fall into the same category as Editorial links considering they often require establishing and nurturing relationships with editors. Manual outreach links are typically from sites with much lower Domain Authority than editorial sources—personal blogs, small niche news sites, and cooking websites are examples. These are the most effective backlinks in terms of overall SEO power, for most smaller websites such as affiliate sites. These links are commonly called manual outreach because of how they’re earned. These links can be found by searching the Internet for websites that are related to yours and establishing a relationship with the editorial staff. Offering to provide a Guest post, requesting your content be added to a resource page, or even suggesting a replacement of a broken link in content is exchanged for yours. These types of links are negotiated on a link-per-link basis and come with a high degree of unpredictability. Working towards a few for the main pieces of keyword-focused content on your site can help secure a top position in the SERP.

SEO Potential: High

Traffic Potential: Medium

Resource Cost: Medium

PBN Backlinks

Private Blog Networks offer tremendous SEO power but come with a high risk

Private Blog Network (PBN) Links

PBN links are links that you create on websites that you own and manage the content on. These links are considered Black Hat SEO and could get your website penalized when implemented incorrectly. This article is not going to dive into the considerations to be made with regards to PBN strategies. Generally speaking, however, PBN links can be essential aspects of effective SEO strategies in more competitive niches. PBN links are essentially like manual outreach links that you have complete control over. They save the trouble of having to reach out to new websites to create quality links and can save tremendous time. The downsides of PBN links are that they can be difficult to manage, can cause your site to be penalized if mismanaged, and have an on-going cost associated with them. These links can be especially powerful when trying to rank affiliate websites, product pages, or content with an overtly commercial nature. Many other websites will not find it attractive to link to your pages discussing affiliate offers or product reviews. With PBN links you can help more easily support the content that is going to drive the largest amount of revenue for your site.

SEO Potential: High

Traffic Potential: Low

Resource Cost: Medium

Web 2.0 Links

Web 2.0 sites are great for branding and general purpose SEO

Web 2.0 links are backlinks that are found on websites such as Blogger, Livejournal, or WordPress.com. The characteristics of a website that make it a Web 2.0 website are pretty ambiguous. Generally speaking, Web 2.0 websites are high-authority websites where user-generated long-form content tends to be the normal format. WordPress.com is one of the best examples, which allows for unique subdomain websites to be created with dofollow links inside content you have complete control over. Web 2.0 sites are really like PBN links, except they are free. Web 2.0 links used to be the pillar of most affiliate website SEO campaigns though are regarded as much less effective now.

Still, quality Web 2.0 links can help boost your site’s overall SERP presence and help control the keywords for which search engine’s consider your site to be relevant for. Many of these websites have developed stringent anti-spam measures to ward off abuse such as the use case we’re discussing here. This means that creating a Web 2.0 site with a single article isn’t an option anymore. These sites will, more often than not, get deleted by the provider after a period of time. Creating 3-5 articles, some random image or video posts, and ensuring you have a contact, about us, privacy policy, and terms pages can increase a Web 2.0 site’s chance of long-term survival. The main cost for these sites is in the development of content to use for them. These sites aren’t likely to rank for any keywords themselves, but can help nourish your primary website.

SEO Potential: Low to Medium

Traffic Potential: Low

Resource Cost: Low to Medium

PRESS RELEASE LINKS MONEYMOUND

Press Releases are great ways to distribute content, though often provide only minimal SEO benefit.

PR links are a bit of an ambiguous name considering the wide amount of use-cases that could be considered a press release. For discussion here, PR links are those gained from services that distributed a piece of content with links to your site across many news-type websites. These links are all going to be nofollow and all the content is going to be duplicate. The SEO value here is arguably little, though these links can serve well to help build a brand recognition among search engines, diversify anchor text and, when being actually news-worthy, could get you some solid backlinks from editorial sources.

Quality press release services typically range in price from $150 to $500 depending on how widely you want your content to be distributed. If you’ve just finished developing a killer piece of informational or engaging content then you may want to consider a more premium service. If you’re just laying down a blanket of branding terms and generic anchors however, converge your money. You’ll find the majority of these links end up coming from local news affiliates. Many press release services will offer the option to write the content for you for an extra fee. If you’ve got no idea what you’re going this isn’t a bad option but writing things yourself will help you better mold the release to fit your SEO strategy. If press releases are part of the final stages of an amazing content project they could attract some serious SEO and traffic value. For run-of-the-mill content however, press releases aren’t going to skyrocket anything.

SEO Potential: Low to High

Traffic Potential: Low to High

Resource Cost: Medium

Profile & Forum Links

Profile links can help diversify backlink profiles but only offer minimal SEO benefit

Many websites allow you to create a publicly viewable profile in which you can include a link to a webpage. These profiles are often on very large websites such as Sony.com, IBM.com, as well as forums across the internet. Profile links offer two main SEO advantages; they help diversify anchor text and add to overall referring domain counts. On their own, these links aren’t going to boost your SEO very much but they can help allow you to use a more exact match or partial match anchors on websites that will have a strong SEO impact. Forum links are a bit different in that they can appear naturally in conversation threads or as profile links embedded in the bottom of each user’s posts.

These links have more traffic potential than they do SEO power but again; weaker links can help diversify anchor texts and help associate your website with your brand name for a low cost. Many SEO services online market these types of links as services because they are easy to create. A blank user profile, having no posts, no activity, and no userpic is going to raise eyebrows if you ever get hit with a manual review. The best approach for these types of links is to create them manually, fill in all the profile information, and maybe even make a few random posts to appear like an active account. In addition to appearing more legitimate, this extra touch will help ensure mods of these sites don’t delete your profile (and backlink) the next time they do some housecleaning!

SEO Potential: Low

Traffic Potential: Low

Resource Cost: Low

Comment Links Moneymound

Comment links can drive traffic but offer little direct SEO benefit

Backlinks from comment sections in discussion forums, news articles, or other online resources can help signal to search engines that your site is a valuable resource. Search engines attempt to judge the value of content based on how people interact with content that is known to be of high value and interest. Articles that catalyze heated debate are recognized as being more valuable, or at least novel, and more worthy of consideration than others for distribution. Comment links will have little direct impact on your website’s ranking power but can help serve as a useful signal to search engines that others find your content valuable.

Comment links typically come in two varieties; the links that are embedded in your username and those that are embedded in the actual body of a comment. Both of have the potential to provide another unique referring domain to your site as well as work to diversify your overall anchor text profile. Links in the body of a comment text on highly-distributed articles also have the potential to generate a considerable amount of direct traffic. One popular shady marketing method is called Comment Hijacking where users either attempt to have a link posted in the top comment, or to have the top reply to the top link contain a backlink.

The thought here is that either method will have a link to your site be one of the first links that a reader sees when scrolling into the comment section. Overall, manually-placed high quality comments have a well-deserved place in digital marketing campaigns. Their overall direct SEO impact will be minimal though they can help allow you to be more forceful and direct in other high impact areas.

SEO Potential: Low

Traffic Potential: Medium

Resource Cost: Low

SOCIAL SIGNALS SEO MONEYMOUND

Social Signals offer virtually no direct SEO impact but can help gain exposure and traffic

Social Signals

Social signals aren’t exactly backlinks but are certainly worth mention here. These are things like Facebook shares, Twitter retweets, Google+ +1s, Pinterest Pins, and a whole range of other networks and their interaction metrics. There isn’t a lot of great data to illustrate how directly social signals correlate with SEO positions. Generally speaking, content that ranks higher in the SERP has higher amounts of social signals. This could very likely be a case of quality content getting quality backlinks which also gets quality social sharing. Nonetheless, when trying to get Google to rank your content higher it’s recommended to look as much like those sites ranking at the top of competitive niches as possible.

Just to be clear, we aren’t talking about social media marketing here. Social signals are purely a metric that doesn’t consider the quality of content, the nature of your social media presence, and doesn’t even require that your website have a social media profile! Social signals are those actions taken by others where your website is part of that action. It’s been reported by many that social signals seem to affect the speed by which pages get indexed and considered by search engines but overall have very little direct SEO impact. If you are getting natural social media shares you’ll likely see a strong increase in traffic. If you’re simply buying social signal services that ‘fake the funk’ then you’ll not likely see any additional traffic. Overall, social signals can help smaller websites appear to be more competitive.

SEO Potential: Low

Traffic Potential: Low to High

Resource Cost: Low

SHORTLINKS MONEYMOUND

Shortlinks can help siphon some Domain Authority and serve as buffers

Shortlinks are a bit of an edge case when talking in terms of SEO. Shortlinks are links created by services such as Bit.ly which can turn a url like moneymound.com/seo/linkbuilding-101 into a url like bit.ly/sdf3Vj. The most popular use-case for this type of link is for sharing on social media platforms such as Twitter that have a tight limit on the number of characters one can use. By using a shortened link, it’s possible to post more content. When it comes to using shortlinks for their SEO value, things are a bit more indirect. Shortlinking services like Bit.ly have an insane number of links to their website which afford them a tremendous amount of overall domain authority. By creating a link on one of these websites, you can leech some of this domain authority for use with you backlink. These links are great to point towards your Web 2.0 type posts and then unleash an onslaught of automated backlinks to boost page rank. These links won’t rocket your page to the top of the SERP but can help pack a pretty solid punch.

SEO Potential: Low to Medium

Traffic Potential: None

Resource Cost: Zero

WIKI DIRECTORY VIDEO LINKS MONEYMOUND

Wikilinks, Directory Links, and Video links are all pretty low SEO impact

This category of backlinks is meant to encompass all the random types of backlinks that can be had. There are endless sources of websites online where users can submit links to be publicly-displayed. These links can all serve a useful role in your overall SEO strategy but shouldn’t ever be regarded as having much SEO potential. These types of backlinks are powerful illustrations of the idea that the easier a backlink is to get; the lower value it will have. Many low-quality SEO services on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and SEO forums like Blackhatworld would have us believe these links are still viable SEO solutions. There are exceptions to every rule but, you’re not likely to find much SEO value within this category of backlinks. These links can still serve to diversify anchor text and increase overall referring domain counts.

SEO Potential: Low

Traffic Potential: Low

Resource Cost: Low

AUTOMATED BACKLINKING

Automated linkbuilding can be provide valuable SEO impact when used properly and cautiously

Any task that can be done with a computer has the potential to be automated. For those that understand the nuances of posting content to different websites, automating that process is a simple matter of reverse-engineering the API for those sites. Many software products exist that are capable of producing millions of backlinks through automated processes. That’s to say; you configure you settings and press ‘go’ and wind up with backlinks. Falling back onto the guiding principle of link quality correlating with link ease; automated links are usually build on sites that offer little SEO value.

Popular link-building software includes GSA-SER, Ranker-X, and Scrapebox (comment links) and other web-service based products include FCS Networker and Rankwyz. These products and services are all designed to create links in mass quantity with little regard for quality. Long ago, these types of backlinks were able to fool search engines and could quickly rank websites to the top of the SERP. Today, these backlinks are likely to offer little positive impact to your website and can cause dramatic upsets to your overall SEO strategy such as anchor text over-optimization or even a web-spam penalty. Even though these products represent a strong potential for negative impact they can be used in ways that offer positive SEO potential.

Automated posting on unique domains with highly-relevant content can still rank websites, and the automated building of even semi-decent backlinks can help boost the Page Authority of existing backlinks like Web 2.0s. Automated link-building strategies are most-commonly used in Tiered Link Building methods where 5-10 quality links might get 2500-10000 passable quality links, which might in turn get 150,000-500,000 low quality links. You’ll hear people shouting all day long that these types of link building strategies have no place in modern SEO. We encourage you to run your own tests and make that decision for yourself.

SEO Potential: Medium

Traffic Potential: Low

Resource Cost: Medium

new link discovery

Discovering new sources of backlinks is part of any SEO strategy

The New or Unknown Source

SEO is an evolving landscape and there are always new link opportunities that have little consensus for their potential. Emerging social media networks, new commenting systems, and new contributor platforms are popping up all the time. When you find a new opportunity for a backlink don’t ever let yourself write it off simply because you’re not familiar with it. Medium.com was considered just another obscure Web 2.0 platform in its infancy yet now is regarded by SEOs as a high-quality source of Web 2.0 backlinks.

Websites that look like they are high quality often have a high chance of evolving into something that is of high quality. Creating an account on contributor platforms that are young may allow you access to websites down the road that decide to restrict free accounts from creating content, thus increasing the SEO value of links you’ll be able to create with yours. One of the best ways to discover new and effect sources of backlinks is to use link-discovery tools like aHrefs to analyze competitor domains. Find the links that are working for sites that rank well and try to integrate those into your SEO strategy.

Taking a Balanced Approach

The sources for backlinks mentioned above all have potential to impact the SEO of your website. At first glance, many of the lesser-impact backlinks like comment links might seem not worth your time. Using these types of links strategically can help to allow for greater flexibility in your more impactful SEO efforts. For example; using raw urls (ex: https://www.moneymound.com/) and branded anchor texts in comment links, Web 2.0s, and press releases can allow you to use a higher percentage of exact-match and partial-match keywords when guest posting on related blogs or using PBN links. Another important consideration is that of repetition. Having backlinks from many referring domains is good but having many backlinks from the same domains doesn’t offer the same impact. That’s to say; bigbadbootcleaner.wordpress.com could be a powerful Web 2.0 minisite with a link to your site, but if it had twenty links to your website they would likely start to have a lessened impact.

Final Considerations

SEO is an ever-changing landscape; what works well today might not work well tomorrow. Quality is arguably the most consistent factor in SEO. Striving to create the highest quality content, backed by the highest quality backlinks, is the safest long-term strategy for website SEO. The basis for this regard is that search engines should always be striving to return the highest-quality results for user searches. Creating the highest quality signals possible to help recognize your website should always give your website the best chance of ranking well.

Nothing is certain in SEO and for every site should have an SEO strategy catered to its unique keyword goals and contextual relevance. The types of backlinks discussed here shouldn’t be considered an exhaustive list of all possible backlink sources but only as a jumping off point for those new to ranking affiliate websites. As you gain experience with these types of backlinks you’ll find that you’ll likely develop a greater sense of being able to use one type to leverage the impact of another. That’s a skill found only through practiced experience but can be effectively cultivated through building affiliate websites.