Basic Backlinks For SEO and Other Types of Links Used in a Blog and What They Do

links in your blog

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backlinks for SEO

Backlinks for SEO, Internal Links, External Links, DoFollow, NoFollow, NoOpener, NoReferrer, Sponsored – OH MY!!

Here is one of the most common questions asked by so many new bloggers. What are all these “links” about and what do they have to do with my blog? How do I use them? Where do I use them? And finally, WHAT DO THEY ALL MEAN??

Well, first I will tell you that everyone feels the same. And seriously, why are there so many anyway??

I promise you, they all have a place in blogland.

The purpose of these links is not only to give a positive reader experience on your blog, but for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We all want our site to have actual traffic coming to it, right? Accomplishing this requires getting on Google’s good side and ranking high within the search engine.

It’s totally not rocket science and I’m going to break the types of links in SEO down for you so that we can all carry on with creating amazing content instead of worrying about these silly links.

Internal Links

Internal links are links that you add to link to other relevant content within your site.

You should aim to have 3-5 internal links in each post that link to other content that will build on the article that your reader is viewing. Don’t forget to periodically go back and update new relevant content links on a regular basis. For SEO purposes, Google LOVES fresh content and these tiny updates can really add up over time and give your blog a boost.

Internal links are great for your site as they help your audience to stay on longer which reduces your bounce rate (which also affects your Google ranking) and provides additional value to your readers.

External Links

External links are ones that you use that will lead your reader away from your blog.

You want to use these sparingly, yet smartly.

These should be from websites that are offering amazing value and content within your niche and are considered a high authority site like Forbes or the New York Times.

You should strive to have 1-2 high-quality external links in each blog post. Research is key here. You want the links to add to or solidify the topics being discussed in your articles.

Having these will enhance your reader’s experience as well as show that you can position yourself as an industry leader with quality information to share.

The different types of links in SEO and how to use these links in wordpress


Backlinks are when another site creates a link back to your site.

Backlinks for SEO are crazy important when trying to boost your authority and standings. The more quality sites that link back to your blog, the better. Think of it this way. If you were the owner of Tiffany’s and you talked about a specific diamond, that would all of a sudden see a huge boost in popularity.

In fact, recently posted that quality backlinks may be one of the most important ways to boost a blog’s authority, especially with the new algorithm shift.

There are a number of ways that you can get good quality backlinks for SEO including:

  • Guest posting on sites with a higher domain authority than your site
  • Leaving quality comments on sites that keep your URL in the comments
  • promoting your content on social media
  • Providing testimonials for high-quality sites
  • Mentions from experienced bloggers in your niche

To gain authority in your niche, try to reach out and do collaborations with other bloggers on a regular basis to help grow your backlinks.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate links are links that you add that if clicked and/or purchased from, you may be compensated in some way.

This can be through a commission, free or discounted product or some kind of shout out.

Although there’s no set amount to use within a post, it’s best to create affiliate links that are naturally sprinkled throughout instead of in your reader’s face all the time. They start to lose their effect if every word starts being linked.

I’ve also found that creating posts that include reviews of the affiliate that you are mentioning perform much better than just random links.

Affiliate links should always be set to “nofollow”, which is coming up.


NEW- Sponsored Links

In a recent update, Google announced that instead of using “nofollow” for sponsored links (links that you are compensated for), you should start using “sponsored” instead.

The nice thing is that you don’t have to go back and update all your old sponsored post links. Google is fine with that as long as going forward, you use the new one instead. Whewwww. One less thing. lol

how to use links in your blog correctly for SEO

What is Anchor Text?

PRO TIP: Many new bloggers will just link a single, non-specific word to their link. Search engines prefer that you use a phrase that is describing of the destination for SEO instead. For example: Find more on this post here. Isn’t as good as: Find more fat-busting recipes. The underlined and italicized text is what is know as the anchor text and Google likes it to be specific.

DoFollow vs NoFollow

DoFollow and NoFollow links determine if a search engine should follow on to the next site.

So Google (and other search engines) don’t like it when you make them follow a link from your site to another site that you are or could be compensated for and can (and will) penalize you for it. It’s like fake traffic to them.

This includes sponsored posts, comments, affiliate links and forums.

By default, WordPress sets all your external links to “dofollow” and so the ones you are being compensated for will need to be changed to “nofollow” to make sure that Google stops following the link.

Of course, any links that are internal and point to your own content or external content to an external authority reference site are fine to leave “dofollow”.

How to Change Links from dofollow to nofollow

To actually change your links, you’ll need to edit your HTML. It kind of sounds scary and intimidating, but it’s not. All you’ll need to do is go to the top right corner dots in your WordPress editor and change your view to “Code Editor”.

Now, anywhere you find the code <…a rel=”dofollow noopener norefferer”…> , just change the “do” part to “no”.

(Sometimes it doesn’t say the “dofollow” part at all do you’ll just add in that section.)

I learned recently (after having a bit of a lesson) that I’m grateful that I’ve been using a plugin called Pretty Links all along my blogging career.

If you haven’t used Pretty Links before, it changes (cloaks) links into pretty-to-use links that match your URL and automatically opens my external links with a “nofollow”.

If I hadn’t had been using it, I would have had to go back and reset them all manually after I removed my no follow plugin, which would have sucked. Ughh…

Thankfully, I only had to update a few that I didn’t use originally from Pretty Links which is another great reason to use the free plugin when you start using affiliates. Then you won’t need to change the code ever. Whewwww..


The “NoOpener” code will be added to your HTML if you choose to open your link in a new window.

It automatically gets added when you toggle the switch in the link settings in your block editor.

This is a good idea when you’re having them leave your site so they don’t get moved away too quickly.

This is sort of a personal preference thing but unless they are clicking a link near the end of my blog post or on an external link that will take them away from my page, I prefer my readers to stay on the page to reduce my bounce rate.


NoReferrer code was introduced by Google a while back to try to cut down on spam.

Because it doesn’t seem to hurt anything, the general consensus is to just leave it be. This is one of those codes that no one seems to be sure what it’s current purpose is, but it’s still in play.

Good. One less thing for both of us to have to worry about. lol

So that’s it. All the blogging link terminology for SEO in a nutshell. Got it down now?

Check out some other beginner blogging tips here:

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72 thoughts on “Basic Backlinks For SEO and Other Types of Links Used in a Blog and What They Do”

  1. I have not yet started affiliate marketing because my site is new and I’m still trying to set it up, but I do have a post where I linked products I recommend for a successful camping trip. For this instance, should I still do a nofollow? I was looking at the code and don’t see at all, is this because it isn’t an affiliate link? Its a little confusing!

    1. Hi Destiny! If the links that you were using could potentially earn you any income or product in anyway, then you need to make sure there are no following week. If youโ€™re just linking out to some helpful resources that you wonโ€™t receive any compensation for, you can leave them as dofollow. Hope this helps! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Wow!! Thank you so much for the great information on nofollow links. I had no idea. This makes perfect sense on a topic that I had no clue about.

    1. You’re welcome, Virgina! It’s still great to have an idea of how all the links work so that when you’re ready to jump into paid or compensated work on your blog, you’ll be ready. Thanks for reading and have an amazing day!

    1. You’re welcome, Nilakshi! I found all those links so hard to understand at first, so I can totally relate! So glad that you found this helpful. Thanks for reading and have an amazing day!

  3. This is great! Thanks so much! I have been doing this blog thing for 2 years, but feel like my traffic is so so low, so working on stepping my game up to increase traffic and this post is absolutely helpful! Thanks so much for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You’re welcome, Haley! Traffic is the ultimate goal for lots of bloggers, so you are not alone there. Glad this info could help you out. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you are looking for more one on one help, I do offer coaching as well and we can map out a plan for your traffic. Just drop me a line ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi! Could you clarify if it’s a good idea to open a new page if my link is for one of my own blog posts? I read what you wrote about NoOpeners, but it’s a bit confusing. Thank you.

    1. Hey Jamie! I always open internal links to other blog posts in new windows unless it’s at the bottom of a post because, as a personal preference, I hate when I open a link and then I can’t find the original post. Hope that helps to clarify?

  5. This is so easy to read and understand. I’ve had trouble understanding links and this is the first time I actually kind of get it.

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