It’s 2020, a lot has changed with SEO over the years including the value of certain link types. While profile links and forum links were easy to create and carried value back in 2010, that’s simply not the case anymore. Today it’s important to have a backlink profile of high quality links coming from trusted domains that Google sees as authoritative for your topic.

A quick tip I like to recommend is:

If it’s easy to create, there’s likely no SEO value.

I’ve rambled a bit about links here and there, but today I’m focusing on how different links are valued by the type of link and where it is coming from.

Different Types of Links

Before jumping into value of links coming from different domain name extensions, it’s important to understand different kinds of links. For example, the majority of a backlink profile is likely “dofollow” with a handful of links that are “nofollow”. The nofollow links mean an attribute is added by the publisher to inform search engine crawlers to not give any credit to that link. The nofollow attribute is common for affiliate marketing, embedded within user-generated content or anywhere a site does not want to give out its authority.

While it’s preferred to obtain dofollow links to boost your SEO, your link profile will have nofollow links mixed in – that’s completely natural.

Aside from dofollow vs nofollow links, you also need to be mindful of the type of link – image, text, button, etc. Most SEOs write content to earn text links with relevant anchor text, but may also choose to use images to help create a diverse link profile. The key here is to be as diverse as possible in your link building.

Links by Domain Name Extension

When reviewing a link profile, you’re also going to find inbound links from a variety of domain name extensions like .com, .net, .org, .info, .co, etc. In most cases the .com links will make up the majority of your backlink profile. If your website operates in the US and you’re seeing links come from a lot of foreign domains, there’s a chance you have been spammed or maybe you tried out some spammy link building in the past.

Authoritative Links

One thing that remains true in 2020 with regard to link development is the authority that a .gov or .edu link drive to a site. Google views these domain name extensions as having expertise in the subject, so every outbound link from them carries a lot of weight.

I recently received a .edu link from a specialty college – rasmussen.edu/degrees/design/blog/web-designer-job-description/ – pointing to the homepage of my agency site. Because of the way I use internal linking on the site, the value of the .edu link is spread through the rest of the site to all of the inner pages. From this one link, I’ve already seen ranking and organic traffic increases.

How to Get .EDU & .GOV Links

While I provided commentary for a student of the aforementioned college to get the link, most .edu links are tough to come by. A few ideas may involve sponsoring a scholarship of a local university, providing post content for a university’s blog or if you are an alumni of a university, ask to leave a testimonial with a link pointing back to your site. You may have to get creative, but it’s possible.

In addition to a .edu link, you’ll also want to try to obtain .gov links. If you work with a local government agency, ask for a link. If you built something for a local government agency, ask for a link. You may even be able to provide post content for a government agency’s blog and will therefore get a .gov link.

Google is very selective on the kinds of links it awards. Be cautious about creating “easy” links and instead focus on creating relationships with publishers to establish long-term links in your niche. Try to create links from .edu and .gov sites if you can, but understand they are hard to come by.

If you have any questions about link acquisition or need an audit of your links related to a penalty, please drop me a line at jeff@octivdigital.com.