In this article we’re expanding on our link types by going into more detail about the reasons that people link.
There’s two main types of reasons that people link;
- Attribution Links
- Resource Links
Attribution links are those links that are given for a reason that is not directly related to the page being linked to. The formula for acquiring attribution links is;
Entity Activity + Sufficient Exposure + Sufficient Awareness of Entity Website = Link to Entity Website
Attribution links can be further classified into either those resulting from ‘online activities’ or ‘real world activities.’
White Hat vs Black Hat
We always recommend a white hat link building strategy. All black hat links are attribution links by definition but not all attribution links are black hat. It all comes down to the exact reason why the link was given. If there’s some kind of value being exchanged for the link then that would be black hat. If the link was given completely editorially with no explicit exchange of value then that’s white hat.
Common Examples of Attribution Links
- Image attribution – if someone uses an image in a blog post they will often credit the originating website with a link [online activity] [could be white hat or black hat depending on how explicit the exchange is]
- Event attribution – if a business puts on an event and their linking audience reports on it they will often credit the event organiser with a link [could be online or real world activity depending whether the event is online or offline] [white hat]
- Article attribution – if someone writes a guest article for another website, that website will often write them a short bio with a link included [online activity] [could be white hat or black hat depending on how explicit the exchange is] (see a longer discussion of this here)
- Product review – if someone is writing a review of a product they might include a link to buy the product which would be a standard direct link but they might also include a link to the manufacturer which is an attribution link [real world activity] [white hat, providing there’s no explicit exchange ie. free product in exchange for a review]
- Donation attribution – if a company donates some prizes for a competition and the organisation holding that competition is writing about it they will often mention the companies that donated the prizes and give them a link [real world activity] [could be white hat or black hat depending on how explicit the exchange is]
- Business List/Directory – if someone writes and article where they include a list of businesses or creates a business directory [real world activity] [white hat]
- Paid Link – if someone explicitly exchanges money, services or other value for a link [could be online or real world depending on the exchange] [black hat]
Resource links are those links that are given for a reason that is directly related to the page being linked to. The formula for acquiring resource links is;
Online Resource + Sufficient Exposure = Link to Online Resource
Resource links are both online and white hat by definition.
- Resource List Link – someone has curated a list of resources and included links to those resources
- Reference Link – someone has written an article and included links to their sources e.g. Wikipedia
- Further Reading – someone has written an article and touched on a topic that they don’t want to go into in more detail so they provide a link for further reading
- Supporting Arguments – someone is trying to make a point and they link to other sources that support their argument