What Are Internal and External Backlinks?

Updated on: 20 February 2014


Backlinks in general are links from other websites pointing towards your site. They can be other domain, blog or any specific article or other form of content. These links are counted as ‘votes’ from other sites for your site which can improve the SEO rankings of your website in the search engine results. As we are aware, SEO ranking is one of the key to online marketing success. There are two different types of backlinks namely, external and internal backlinks with each type having their own importance and benefits. Let’s have a look at them in detail, so you know how they can help improve your site’s rankings.

External Backlinks Explained

Generally external backlinks are those links that link to your site or any of its pages/content and these links are counted as if those sites are vouching for your site’s high quality. This gets noticed by search engines and as a result your site’s ranking can improve significantly. It is better to get backlinks or vouched by those sites which are either equal to your site’s quality, content, repute etc. or better than your site with higher Page Rank (PR). Otherwise, getting links from sites with low PR and/or no established reputation won’t help much in creating the much needed ‘link juice’.

There are several ways of creating backlinks, some of them are categorized good ones others are the bad ones that you would want to ignore in order to not get penalized by the search engines. Blog commenting, forum posting, article submissions, Web 2.0 creations, directory submissions, social bookmarking and guest posting are some of the major ways to create quality backlinks. On the other hand, link farming, buying links, getting links from any site (not just your niche), aggressive link building with low quality spun content, link exchanging, etc. are all considered bad and unethical ways of creating backlinks to your site – not recommended and are punishable by the search engines’ rules.

Internal Backlinks Explained

Internal backlinks are created on your site or blog and there’s no external element in their creation. The reason behind the creation of internal links it to make navigation around the site easier. For instance, if you’re writing an article on ‘Top 5 Popular Dog Foods’ you can create a link to any other relevant post like ‘What types of Dog Foods are Suitable for my Dog?’ that you have already published on your site to give the readers an option to further investigate into something that might interest them.

However, putting up numerous links can be confusing for the readers and it doesn’t even look clean either. Try to use them sparingly and not make it difficult for your readers to choose which link would be helpful for them. Moreover, since Google considers internal backlinks for rankings as well as to know whether a site is focused on quality or not – it is important to use them and use them properly.

Both external and internal backlinks can play an important role in any SEO strategy. Therefore, inclining towards any one of them or over-doing them is not a wise thing to do. The key here is to maintain balance and make effective use of both the types of backlinks.