Niche edits or “link insertions” are a common SEO strategy involving the addition of links inside existing content on other sites. In some cases, this can be easier than guest blogging—but there are drawbacks you should be aware of.
In this post, we’ll get you up to speed on niche edits, what they are, and how to make them work for you.
Niche edits, also known as “link insertions” or “curated links”, involve adding a link to an existing page on another website. The goal is to boost your rankings by gaining backlinks from authoritative sources, without creating any new content. Webmasters are often paid to add the link.
For example, let’s say your website is about indoor plants. A high-ranking interior design website—that you want a link from—has an existing post about decorating the living room. One section may be about adding indoor plants near a window to brighten up the space. This is potentially a good opportunity to link back to your own content from that blog.
If the interior design website has high authority, this link can be very beneficial for you. But like most valuable assets, the opportunity comes at a price. Most of the time you’ll have to get in touch with a webmaster, make a pitch and usually pay for the link.
There’s a big difference between guest posts and niche edits.
Guest posting is also an opportunity to build strong backlinks to your site. It involves creating relevant articles for another website. You’ll have to pitch a topic that gets approved by the hosting blog. Once you get approval to write the piece, you must generally match their writing style and follow other publisher requirements to get the post published.
In contrast, SEO niche edits only involve inserting a link to your website. There’s no need to go through the arduous process of writing a blog post.
Which is better? It depends. The strategy you pick should be based on your purpose, objectives, and available resources.
When pursuing any SEO strategy, it’s important that it is white hat—since going against Google’s guidelines risks hefty penalties.
Much like any type of link building, manual niche edits can be considered as white hat, grey hat or black hat, depending on the approach you take.
If you reach out to sites directly, suggesting relevant linking opportunities to the webmaster that add value to their content, this is generally considered acceptable.
Be aware, however, that link insertions for the sole purpose of manipulating your rankings is forbidden, according to Google’s guidelines:
Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Links that are obviously purchased, excessive link exchanges or blatant guest posting campaigns are all things likely to be flagged under these rules. And niche edits that are too out of place are likely to get noticed, too.
You may be able to find agencies offering bulk niche edit services for clients. In our experience, this is very risky. At a minimum, make sure they’re building links to reputable websites with some authority and with high quality content. Otherwise, your scheme will be noticed by Google and you risk a penalty for your domain that might be very hard to remove.
If you are unsure whether to pursue link insertions or guest posting opportunities, here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider. Let’s begin with the perks:
When going after niche edits, you get to choose the page on which the link appears. You therefore know whether the page is indexed and if it ranks well. Guest posts, if not managed properly, often aren’t indexed and get buried in strange, unexpected parts of the site. And in many cases, you won’t know this until the post has been published. Not fun.
Unlike guest posting, a niche edit lets you insert links in existing content. Once you get in touch with the webmaster and get their approval, you’re good to go. No more dealing with bad writers and content mills.
A niche edit lets you build links to difficult pages that may be difficult to insert naturally into guest posts. If the webmaster is on board, you can generally get links inserted to parts of your site that might otherwise be a challenge.
There are a number of potential downsides with link insertions as a strategy—let’s take a look at some of them.
Imagine you finally manage to get a link added on a coveted site with high domain authority in your business niche. It’s a great feeling, but sadly it may be months before the link is even noticed by Google.
Because the page is already indexed, you have to wait until Google recrawls the URL. You won’t reap any SEO benefits until this happens.
Niche edits often do “work”, but they can be a double-edged sword if they’re not highly contextual. Don’t be surprised if Google detects your niche edit as a linking scheme and ignores the link. In the worst-case scenario, they could penalize your domain. Rather than paying to increase your rankings, you might be doing the reverse.
Guest posting can seem like a long and arduous process but it has a lot of benefits to your overall marketing strategy. A guest post can be written in a way that brings added value to your brand or generates publicity. If you’re doing startup link building, for example, this messaging matters.
With a niche edit, you don’t have control over the content. You can build links, but you’re less likely to pique the interest of readers or generate lasting brand value. In addition, you don’t get the SEO benefits from crafting relevant content that matches your niche.
If you choose to pursue niche edit links, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.
The first step is identifying sites to approach. Here are some things to consider:
After you’ve chosen a few target websites, the next step is to identify individual pages that would be suitable for your link.
A good way to do this is to use a Google search operator and a carefully crafted query. A search operator is simply a combination of words and symbols that can help you filter and target your search results.
site: theblogurl.com “your keyword”
Running this search will reveal the pages or blog posts on that site where the keyword appears. There are a multitude of other operators available—experiment and see what works.
Another way to do this is using a tool liks Ahrefs. First, come up with a list of sites in your niche that you like. Then, use the ‘top pages’ option:
Step 3: Pinpoint the pages that get real organic traffic:
The results will reveal a list of similar articles with a lot of social shares and backlinks, which is a good place to start from.
Next, find the email address of the author or webmaster responsible for the content. This will generally not be advertised on the site, so you’ll have to do some digging.
Email Hunter is one tool for this. True to its name, Email Hunter lets you find the email address of people from a certain domain.
To get started, simply enter the domain name to launch the search. Then, you’ll see a list of email addresses within the domain.
Some search results reveal the name of the individual. You can use LinkedIn to find the position of each person within the organization.
If the domain is owned by a small business or a hobby blogger, it’s usually quite easy to find the webmaster. For larger companies, however, it can be very difficult.
The final step is to pitch the link insertion you’d like to make.
The email can be fairly straightforward. Keep it simple—no one likes long emails, especially unsolicited ones.
Here’s a template that you can use:
Subject: Your article on [topic]
My name is [name], and I work as a [position] for [company name and description].
I recently read your great article on [blog name] via [page url]. I particularly liked [something unique about the article].
I would like to discuss a potential collaboration. We recently wrote an article (link this text) about [related topic] that is gaining some traction. I think this article would be very useful for your readers, and add a lot of context around your piece.
Would you be interested in linking to this article from yours? If your website charges a fee for niche edits like this, please share your rates.
Looking forward to your response.
The key points to remember here are:
For more information about crafting a successful pitch, see our complete guide to pitching to bloggers.
If the site you’re targeting is any good, your recipient will be receiving a lot of emails very similar to this. Chances are, they won’t reply to you the first time. But that’s fine! Cold outreach is all about the follow up.
A good rule of thumb is to follow up in a few days, then in a week, and if the prospect has not replied every two weeks after that. You can even automate with tools like Woodpecker.
When it comes to follow-up emails, it’s best to be short and sweet.
I just wanted to quickly follow on the niche edit opportunity that I sent to you last week.
Are you interested in collaborating on this article?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Expect to encounter a lot of rejections—it’s par for the course. However, if you stumble upon an author who accepts your proposal, it can be very valuable.
Building a steady stream of high quality backlinks is a challenging process. PrestigeLinks offers a full-service blogger outreach service and can reliably land guest posts and niche edits in prestigious publications. Get in touch today to start link building with us!
Can you really create a scholarship to earn cheap EDU backlinks? We investigate the pros and cons of scholarship link building.
Still on the fence about whether you should be guest posting? In this post, you’ll learn about 10 reasons you should incorporate guest posting into your marketing strategy.
Talk to our link building team to see how we can help.