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Backlinks, 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.

It’s totally not rocket science and I’m going to break them 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. 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.

best blog resources

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.

how to use links in wordpress


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

Backlinks are crazy important when trying to boost your authority and SEO 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, Forbes.com 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 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.

UPDATE ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

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

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 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 in a nutshell. Got it down now?

Check out some other beginner blogging tips here:

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