internal links vs external links

Internal Link vs External Link vs Backlink (with video) – What’s the Difference?

There are so many things that go into building an SEO friendly website! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can cause many a newbie to want to pull their hair out. Internal link vs external link vs backlink, for example. What’s the difference between them? How do you use them? What are backlinks for?

Each type of link has its place in your posts and in your website. While they may sound “techy" at first glance, they’re really not very technical at all.

By the end of the quick video in this article, I guarantee you’ll understand internal links, external links, and backlinks completely. You’ll know exactly how you should use them, and why understanding these simple aspects of SEO will create a great user experience for your website in no time.

internal links vs external links

Internal Link vs External Link vs Backlink – What’s the Difference?

Watch this quick video and I’ll show you visually exactly how internal links, external links, and backlinks work and why you need to know how to use each type.

What are Internal Links?

An internal link is simply a link from one of your posts to another one of your posts within your website. The reader never leaves your site, thus the name “internal link".

As an example, this link here is an example of an internal link. If you click on that link you’ll go to an article I wrote on how to google for research and profit. Through that internal link I’m taking you from this article on my website to another article on my same website.

You should always have internal links in your posts. Think of it as a way to show the reader around your site. When you are linking to your own content, users follow these links and Google sees this and recognizes that you have something good to offer.

What are external links?

Conversely, external links are links that take the reader from your article to another article outside your website. These are good when you are referencing an outside source of your content.

For example, if I reference information I found on Wikipedia I might create an external link so that the user can see the source of that information. And just in case you didn’t catch it, that link to wikipedia in the previous sentence is an example of an external link. Clicking on that link will take you from my website to an article outside my website.

External links are important for your site as well. If all you have are internal links, a reader may start to question the validity of your information. Referencing outside sources can give your site some credibility, and when your reader finds you credible, they’ll come back for more.

What are backlinks for?

Backlinks are usually the links people seem to misunderstand the most. A backlink is simply a link to your website from a source outside your website. As an example, that external link I created to Wikipedia will act as a backlink for Wikipedia. Through that link they have an outside source, my site, linking to their website.

If you have an article you’ve written and you link to one of my articles as a reference, that link would be both an external link for you and a backlink for me. Does that make sense? You are linking to a site outside your own (external link), and in the exact same way, I’m receiving a link to my site from outside my own (backlink).

When you have a good number of backlinks, this is great for SEO and ranking. Google sees all these other sites linking to yours and realizes your site must be an authority site. Because of this, your posts will rank higher on Google! Higher rank means more traffic to your site! And more traffic means more potential revenue!

You don’t have to depend on others to build up your number of backlinks

You can create you own backlinks by leaving comments on other sites. Most every time you leave a comment on another site you fill out at least a few fields to leave that comment. For example, to leave a comment on my site you’ll fill out your name, email, and website.

When your comment is approved and published, anyone who clicks on your picture or name on your comment will be taken to whatever url you entered in that website field. This means they will be going from my website to yours. This acts as a backlink for you.

internal links vs external links

In this way, leaving relevant comments on other websites within your niche is a very positive thing for ranking and SEO. Google sees other related sites in your niche linking to you through your comments and sees this as a sign of authority. The brighter the light you can shine on yourself from the perspective of Google and other search engines, the better chances you have of getting higher rank and more traffic.

Internal Link vs External Link vs Backlink Summary

I hope you better understand the internal link vs external link question. If you’ve asked yourself “What are backlinks for?" in the past I hope that question is answered as well. There are many factors that go into higher Google rankings and good SEO, both on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Understanding the technical terms relating to your website is the first step in building a successful website.

If building a successful online business is something that interests you and you’re looking for the right training to better understand how to make money online, how to build traffic, and how to turn that traffic into revenue, I highly recommend you create a free starter account with this training program. You’ll be very happy you did.


What other questions do you have? Do you feel you could explain the internal link vs external link question to someone else if they asked you? What other road blocks have you felt you have in your journey to create an online money maker? Share your thoughts and questions below!

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  • Eric,
    Thank you once again for simple explanations! I really enjoy your teachings and this teaching was by far the one I needed at the present time to get my rankings increased and to aid my followers in a wholesome website to enjoy! Yes, I agree, these three links can sound a bit techy at first, but once I dove into the lesson they were quite easily understood and go hand-in-hand. Looking forward to your next lesson.
    John W. Raleigh
    WA Premium Member

  • WOWZERS Eric!!
    Amazing lesson here! Soo Impressed!! I’m still quite a newbie to all this awesome information, so your post was sooo helpful for me! Thank you so much!! I was also wondering how you would just write a phrase and still link it without the URL being part of the writing, so that was new to me. Never thought of “Internal, External, or backlinks”, however I have left my website URL at times on a comment thread before! I will have to remember this!! Thank you bunches, buddy!! AWESOME sauce!! Will definitely be coming back to learn some more from you! 🙂

    You are an amazing teacher…from another teacher (Kindergarten teacher of the bullet journal for adults. I help those who ‘think’ they aren’t creative enough…and teach them how to ‘play’ again).

    Soo informative and helpful!! Keep up the good work, Eric! I’ll be checking back!

    ~Evon Robinson 🙂

  • Furkan says:

    I just started learning SEO and man there are many things to learn. I learn a lot about them however I need to build backlinks to my site. Do you think should I go with white hat or should I just buy some backlinks?

    • Eric Cantu says:

      What’s up, Furkan? I would definitely advise against buying backlinks. You’ll probably just get thrown into a huge directory list with hundreds of urls stacked on top of each other all over the internet. Google looks at those and realizes they’re not relevant. This was common practice back in the day because a backlink was a backlink. But those days are over. I’d just continue building quality content, doing good keyword research to build traffic, and commenting on relevant websites in your niche. Thanks for the comment, man!

  • Marley Dawkins says:

    Wow this is a great education for me, because honestly i have been pulling my hair out a bit trying to work out SEO because there is some conflicting information, but this is one of the best breakdowns that anyone can understand, you have cleared up for me exactly what internal/external and back links are actually all about and the benefits of all of them, so thanks for that.

    Which one would you say is the most important truly? I suppose they are all equally important really.

    Thanks for this Eric!

    • Eric Cantu says:

      Thanks for the comment, Marley. It’s hard to say which is more important when you think of internal link vs external link vs backlink but I think ultimately if you had lots of backlinks from authority sites pointing back to you, those would bring up your ranking incredibly. But as another person commented, there is a difference between comment backlinks and contextual backlinks. Backlinks in comments are great, but when an authority site references you in their post, those are the backlinks people really want.

      Great question. Thanks again!

  • Deep says:

    Great post I was definitely able to have a clear understanding of internal, external, and backlinks. I am still relativity new to the online world and have a clear understanding of many things like this is allowing me to excel, so I want to thank you for sharing and keep up the great content I really enjoy learning new things.

  • Gabe says:

    I must say I really enjoyed this article man. I am new to this whole affiliate marketing thing so I just try to soak up as much knowledge as I can.
    Before this, I had no idea what an external or internal link was, definitely not a backlink either. You really broke it down in a way that I could understand so thanks man!
    One question though, how does google recognize these backlinks? Like is there something that I need to do before commenting?

    • Eric Cantu says:

      As long as you fill in the website field when leaving a comment on someone’s site, this will leave a backlink pointing to you so that anyone reading your comment can click right on over to your website. So be sure and leave great comments! People follow great info! Thanks Gabe!

  • Mike Jay says:


    You are very good at teaching and I appreciate the breakdown of link types. I didn’t understand the purpose and benefits of internal links and backlinks before I read your article, now I have a better idea how to make my site more attractive for SEO.

    Thanks for taking time and energy to share this great content.

    God bless,
    Mike Jay

  • Mark Perkins says:

    Eric, thank you for this post. You have explained the differences very very well. I was unaware of the comments back link. I guess it is like one big network.
    Thanks again

    • Eric Cantu says:

      That’s a really good way of putting it. Every time you’re visiting another person’s website, we tend to think of it as just ourself and the page in front of us. But in reality, it’s like you’re at a party filled with people. So when you make a comment, other people are listening. They’ll look you up and down, and decide if you’re someone important or not. And when they see you offering up great info, guess what, they want your card. Well in the world of commenting, your name and picture is your calling card so it might as well point back to your site, right? I learned this early on when I was learning how to build websites and it’s a tidbit I love to pass on. Thanks for the comment!

  • Chris says:

    Great post Eric. Thank you! I was clear on internal and external links but not so much on backlinks. Now, thanks to this article I’m clear. I especially loved the video tutorial. I found out that I was posting comments and writing the name of my site instead of the URL. So, now I’ll do it properly and in that way get backlinks. Thanks again.

    • Eric Cantu says:

      I’m glad I could help. Any time you can leave something behind on a relevant site within your niche that points back to your site, this is a good thing. Especially when leaving relevant, well thought out comments. Others will see the value in this and may decide to click on your name or picture and guess where they’ll end up? At your website looking for more good info. Thanks for the comment, Chris!

  • Courtney says:

    I LOVED the video! I’m such a visual learner — this was entirely helpful! Although I had a pretty good grasp on what “internal” and “external” links are, I didn’t have a clue what “backlinks” were, never heard of it actually. You’ve really enlightened me on the importance of solid and relevant comments. Describing the process as “rubbing elbows” with important people really painted a picture (mostly of me at an elegant ball meeting royalty) but having an interactive website will do just fine too 🙂 Thanks so much for this post! It’s always fun to learn about something that you didn’t know you didn’t know about!

    • Eric Cantu says:

      lol, great comment, Courtney! And hey, if you do your blogging while wearing white gloves all the way up to the elbow, I’m not going to judge you, right? lol. Thanks for the insight and I’m really glad you enjoyed the video. Internal links vs backlinks seems to be a pretty clear cut discussion most of the time, but I do see a whole lot of the “What are backlinks for?” question, and for that reason I created that video and this post. Thank you so much for the very entertaining comment, lol. Take care!

  • Yunier Gonzalez says:

    This was a very well written article about the different between the 3 links. In regards to your backlink section while I do agree that commenting on others blog (niche related to yours) has a positive SEO factor on yours . These type of backlinks aren’t going to boost up your rankings that much.

    These backlinks are no follow which means that link juice from that website won’t pass to yours. If these links came from there website directly (contextual) then these do pass weight and can increase your rankings drastically if from an authority website.

    • Eric Cantu says:

      Thanks for the comment, Yunier. The absolute key to making your way up the ranks and building traffic is consistent, quality content and a great user experience. The reason commenting on other websites within your niche can help so much is that through doing this you are creating links outside of your website than point back at your own, and as you well know, when you’re on one website and see quality info from another person, you follow that person to see if there’s more quality info to be found 🙂

      That’s why quality comments are so important. People will follow you via that comment right back to your site from other authority sites within your niche. This creates an organic traffic increase! More traffic creates more authority! More authority creates higher rankings! Higher rankings lead to revenue potential!

      Thanks for the comment, Yunier! I appreciate the insight!

  • Melani says:

    Hi Eric. How did you create the internal link “this link here is an example of internal link” and then when I click it appeared your other article. My internal link look like a link “https:/……….” not a sentence like yours.

    • Eric Cantu says:

      Hey Melani! Take a look at the short video up above and you can see exactly how to create one. It’s done by highlighting the words you want to become the link and then following a couple quick steps. I show an example of doing exactly this a few times in the video so you can see exactly how it’s done by watching exactly what I do on my screen. Thanks for the comment!

  • Jack Taylor says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the great article and video explains how backlinks, internal links and external links work. That is the best explanation on links I have ever come across. Back in the old days I used to buy backlinks in an attempt to get better rankings with Google. As you know those strategies no longer work. Thanks again!


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