Beginners Guide to Backlinks In 2021

BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - title

Beginners Guide to Backlinks In 2021. If you are a newbie into SEO, then you might have heard about the term “Backlinks”. Do you know what are backlinks and how do they impact your search engine rankings?


Well, we know that it can be quite intimidating for a newbie to understand backlinks. But don’t need to worry as we’re going to cover each and everything about backlinks in SEO in this guide.


In this blog post, we’ll cover what are backlinks, their true value, types, Google updates with regards to links, few off-page SEO techniques, and a lot more.


So, without further ado, let’s begin


Before we move ahead, let’s understand the true value of backlinks.


The true value of backlinks from an SEO point of view in 2021


BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important dataTo understand the true value of backlinks, you must first know what they are.


Backlinks are nothing but an outbound link (a hyperlink leading to another website) that one particular website gives to another website or a web page. To understand it better, do check out the image below.


In the above-seen image, website A gives a link to website B. This link will then help website B get better rankings and organic traffic from Google. Easy right? No? Don’t worry.


You need to think of backlinks as a vote of recommendation. The more votes you have, the better your search engine ranking will be. Search engines like Google consider these links (votes) to determine which web page or website needs to appear on top of Google SERPs.


The more links a particular website has, the better will be its ranking.


BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important dataWay back, Google introduced an algorithm called page rank that they used to determine link points towards a particular web page. Many SEO experts called this link point “Link juice”. This, in turn, passes from one website to another via hyperlinks.


For example;


Getting a backlink from Forbes and New York times gives you very high-quality link juice and will positively impact your SERP rankings.


That’s why link building is one of the most important ranking factors and most SEO folks run after making quality backlinks.


What are different types of backlinks?


Generally, there are two different types of backlinks in the world of SEO. First, do-follow backlinks. Second, no-follow backlinks. Both these types of links have their own advantages and disadvantages.


Do-follow backlinks:


Do-follow backlinks are those types of backlinks that allow the search engine bots to follow a particular web page. In other words, this type of backlink passes on the link juice from one website to another.


The more do-follow backlinks a particular web page has, the better will be its ranking on Google.


Remember, by default all the links on the internet are do-follow. Hence, you don’t need to add any additional HTML attributes to make them that way. So, if you want to make them no-follow, you need to add an HTML tag.


Do-follow links also help increase the domain authority and page authority of the website.


Here are some techniques you can use to make do-follow links in 2021;


  1. Guest posting
  2. Content submission on various article submission sites.
  3. Blogger outreach.
  4. Link exchange with relevant and high authority websites.
  5. Infographic submission.

BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important dataNo-follow backlinks:


No-follow backlinks are exactly the opposite of do-follow backlinks. These types of backlinks don’t allow search engine bots to crawl and index any web page.


Besides, they don’t pass on any link juice from one website to another.


Also, they don’t play any role in improving the ranking or organic traffic of your website.


However, they can help you increase your referral traffic, provided that you get no-follow links from a high-traffic website.


History of No-follow Links


BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important dataIn 2005, Google introduced rel=”NoFollow”. Not long after, Yahoo and Bing also adopted the same practice. Google also stated that links with rel=”NoFollow” tag won’t have any influence on the ranking of a web page.


The basic agenda behind the introduction of rel=”NoFollow” was to fight comment spam. In the early 2000s, comment backlinks were the most common backlink building technique adopted by bloggers and SEO experts.


Such types of links manipulated the search engine results. Thus, the creation of rel=”no follow”.


Today, in 2021, many CMS like WordPress use no-follow tags in the comment section by default. Because of this, you don’t need to worry about someone spamming your comment section and steal all the SEO value from your site.


You can also check whether the particular comment link is no-follow or do-follow by the following process;


  • Find out the comment.
  • Right-click on the link
  • Select inspect elements
  • And check whether the link is no-follow or do-follow.


In most cases, comment links will no-follow for sure.


How Google has been fighting PageRank manipulation since 2009


BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important dataPageRank flows through your website via internal links (A link from one web page to another from your own site). For example, some of the links on this web page might have internal links that may direct the users to any other web page or a blog post like this one.


This type of internal link helps in passing on the link juice from one web page to another within your website. However, the link juice gets only transferred via do-follow links and not by no-follow links.


Before 2009, this was how to link juice system was distributed; If you had 3 links pointing to your website of which two are do-follow, then the total page rank or link juice would be shared between the two do-follow links only. Many SEO experts and bloggers started taking advantage of this by making do-follow links only to their commercial intent pages (money pages).


This manipulated the SERP and the quality of information that people were getting for their query. That’s why Google took notice of it and introduced several algorithms like Panda and Penguin. These focused on fighting with such kind of link manipulation activities.


Google is also against paid links since 2013


BluCactus - important dataPaid links have been one of the most common link-building techniques used by many bloggers and SEO experts since early 2010. Of course, such a kind of paid link did work in the early 2000s


But do you think paid links still work in 2021? Of course, not. Google is strictly against paid links. In fact, the websites that participate in such kind of link-building practice get penalized by Google. Some even get de-indexed from Google’s search results.


To fight against paid links, Google introduced many algorithms such as the Panda and Penguin updates from 2010 to 2014.


So, make sure that you make links naturally and avoid making paid links.


What is the difference between no-follow and do-follow links?


BluCactus - important dataThe only difference between no-follow and do-follow links is that no-follow links use HTML tags attached to them. A normal web user may not find this as a major difference. But when it comes to search engine optimization there IS a huge difference.


From an SEO point of view, do-follow links help in passing on the link juice from one website to another. In short, they help improve the search engine rankings of a website.


According to research done by Sparkto, the quality of links pointing towards a website or a web page has the highest impact on improving the search engine rankings of a website.


However, what’s important here is that not all links created will have an equal impact on your SERP rankings. It’s their quality that matters the most.


For example;


Getting one do-follow link from a high-quality website is far better than getting 5-6 links from low quality and spammy website. So, when it comes to link-building, always focus on building quality backlinks naturally.


What are the different ways you can check whether a link is do-follow or no-follow?


There are two different ways you can check whether a link is a no-follow or a do-follow.


BluCactus - important dataView the HTML code


The most popular and widely used method to check whether a link is do-follow or no-follow is by checking the HTML code of that particular link.


For this, all you have to do is go on to a particular website. Right-click on the link and select the inspect elements option.


A dialogue box will appear and in there, you should look for the Ahref tag. In the above-seen image, the link point to a Moz website is a do-follow link as it doesn’t have a no-follow attribute attached to it.


BluCactus - important dataUse paid tools


The next way to check whether a particular link is do-follow or no-follow is by using paid tools like Ahref or SEMrush.


This is slightly a costly method as you need to invest in purchasing an SEO tool.


The benefit of using a paid tool is that it won’t only help you in checking backlinks but will also do the needful for your entire SEO task.


Types of links that tend to be no-follow


BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important dataAny type of link that has a no-follow attribute attached to it is a no-follow link.


In general, the following are the types of links that are mostly no-follow in nature.


  • Blog comment links.
  • Social bookmarking links.
  • Links from social media websites.
  • Press resealed links.
  • Links from third-party tools.



What are the advantages of no-follow links in SEO?


Even if no-follow links don’t have any role to play in increasing the website’s search engine rankings, it doesn’t mean that they don’t add any value to your marketing efforts.


Of course, no-follow links has some benefits associated with them such as:


BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important dataThey help in diversifying your link-building efforts


As you know, do-follow links are the most important types of links since they offer you maximum SEO value. Besides, they’ll help you in increasing your website’s ranking and organic traffic as well.


However, you shouldn’t focus on building too many do-follow links in one go. If you do so, then Google may take notice of it and may find something fishy about your site.


That’s the reason why you should always diversify your link-building efforts. For this, you can follow the 80:20 rule while making backlinks. So, 80% of your links can be do-follow and the rest 20% should be no-follow.


Increase in referral traffic from other websites


The other benefit of the no-follow link is that it can help you to increase your referral traffic on your website. This is because you cannot stop people from clicking the link. For example;


BluCactus - content plan for social media - important dataIf you get a do-follow backlink from a high traffic blog then some people might click on that link and they may land on your site. This will increase the referral traffic on your site.


Protect your website from Google’s penalties


Whenever someone makes paid backlinks, Google penalizes their website and may also de-index them from the search results. But getting a paid sponsored link from a high authoritative website with tons of traffic would make sense if you add a no-follow attribute to it.


This will allow you to increase your referral traffic, build credibility and authority on the internet.


When can you use no-follow links?


BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important data

Comment links


Of course, you should make all your comment links no-follow.


You already know that comment links are treated as spam by Google.


Because of this, you should make all your comments links no-follow.


If you are using CMS like WordPress, then by default all your links will be no-follow for sure.


BluCactus - guide-to-backlinks - important data

Paid links


Paid links are big no. but you can still use them to increase the authority of your website, improve referral traffic and build some credibility. However, if you are building any kind of paid link make sure to add a no-follow HTML tag to it.


Links to web pages that aren’t relevant to your website


For example, you may run a digital marketing website with tons of links leading to many resources on a website outside your niche. In this case, Google may think that you have given a link to an irrelevant website.


In fact, Google may also think that you gave those links only for monetary compensation. Hence, Google might place a small penalty on your site. So, always add a no-follow tag to the links given to websites not belonging to your niche.





Link Building is one of the most important aspects of SEO.


It can either make or break your website. So, it is important to understand every aspect related to it. We hope you understand the A-Z of backlinks and link building with this guide.


Still, if you have any doubt then you can shoot up your questions in the comment section.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *