Only Outreach Founder
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Niche edits are a useful link building strategy in the hands of a careful SEO marketer.
But they are not without their issues.
Getting bloggers to engage is difficult. Vendors may sell you hacked links. Or you may get caught up in link schemes.
In this article, I’ll break down the advantages of niche edits, how to build them and key factors for quality control so you can have success with this strategy without the pitfalls.
Let’s dive in.
Niche edits is a link building strategy that is used to add a link to existing content.
Another name for this is link insertions.
This is different from a guest post backlink because those are placed in a new piece of content.
Manual niche edits are done by reaching out to sites and asking or bartering to get your link added to a relevant post.
Niche edits can be white hat or black hat depending on the circumstance.
For example, if you alert a webmaster they have a broken link and successfully suggest your article as a replacement, that’s a white hat link.
However, if a vendor unscrupulously adds your link to a hacked blog, that is a black hat link.
Then there is a gray hat middle ground of paying for backlinks on a website with good metrics.
As with most link building strategies, the way you build the backlink and the quality of the websites you work with influence how safe and effective your SEO efforts will be.
Niche edit link building has grown in popularity over the past 5 years as other forms of link building like PBNs and buying backlinks decline in effectiveness.
There are several advantages to niche edit link building. Here are the top four.
Many content marketing focused blogs like SaaS sites or corporations don’t allow guest posting.
They prefer to control their entire content process.
You can still successfully pitch a niche edit if you contact the right person with the right approach.
Niche edit prospects are quick to find by doing competitor link building analysis.
Once you do outreach and find interested bloggers, it only takes a few minutes to complete the task.
Compare this to guest posting which can take weeks to write an article or digital PR that can take months to build a relationship and you can understand why niche edit outreach is so popular.
The niche edit concept allows crafty marketers to get more creative with their outreach.
Broken links, link exchanges, and skyscraping have all been born to make getting white hat niche edit links naturally.
Broken link building is probably the most white hat of all the niche edit techniques.
The tactic involves finding "broken links" on websites and then reaching out to the webmasters of those sites to offer a replacement link.
The successful rates from broken link outreach are notoriously low because most bloggers can’t be bothered to update old links or ignore link outreach emails.
One way to improve your success rates is targeting recently published articles with broken links.
The blogger will likely care more about the content and appreciate your outreach.
The skyscraper technique is a link-building strategy that involves finding content in your industry that's already popular and creating something even better.
The goal is to create the best possible piece of content on a specific topic so that people will naturally want to update their existing blog posts and link to it.
To do this, you first need to find existing content that's doing well. You can do this by searching Google for terms related to your topic and looking at the results.
Look for articles with a high number of social shares and backlinks. Once you've found some popular content, it's time to create something even better.
This means making your content longer, more detailed, and more comprehensive. You should also make sure to add new data and insights that aren't in the original piece.
Once you've created your content, the next step is to reach out to the people who have linked to the original piece and ask them to link to your new one as well.
A link building strategy that hasn’t been fully tapped to its full potential is updating the old content of prospect sites.
This process involves analyzing a prospect site using tools like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, checking the publish date of pages, and determining if the traffic for those pages is trending downward.
If so, you can reach out to the site owner and pitch updating the content in exchange for a backlink to your own site.
While this strategy requires some time and effort upfront, it can be an effective way to get quality links from relevant sites. Plus, it’s a strategy that is often overlooked, so you may have less competition if you choose to pursue it.
A link exchange occurs when two websites agree to link to each others' content.
Three-way linking, also known as A-B-C link exchange, is the generally accepted solution for marketers who want to do easy link building but lessen the chances of Google penalties.
It’s the natural magnet for those looking to do niche edits.
“You add a link to my content in your existing article and I’ll do the same.”
Other versions of this include doing a niche edit for a guest post.
Joining or building a Private Influencer Network is a great way to get started.
Just keep in mind that link exchanges should not be your only tactic - incorporate other effective link building strategies to establish a natural backlink profile.
The Value First Outreach (VFO) Approach is a link building outreach framework that starts with one guest post and turns it into further link opportunities using the Private Influencer Network concept.
You start with securing one high value guest post and proactively invite other bloggers to get a link in the guest post in exchange for a niche edit from their website.
You can score dozens of niche edit links with just a handful of guest posts.
The most difficult part of this strategy is simply getting started with the first one but with enough time set aside and a good organization structure, you can have success.
Buying niche edit backlinks is easy and you can visit any number of websites to do so.
However, purchasing backlinks comes with a whole host of issues.
Firstly, search engines warn against purchasing links and Google algorithms can reduce your organic traffic as you get caught up in link schemes.
Second, not all backlinks are the same - quality, pricing and results are all wildly different.
There are generally 2 types of agencies you can hire.
Middleman niche edit services maintain a database of blogger contacts that they will leverage to buy niche edits on your behalf. This is convenient, especially if you don't have the time or knowledge to develop a link buying process of your own.
Basically, you pay the niche edit agency a one-time or monthly fee, specify what kind of dofollow backlinks you want, and they'll purchase them from website owners in their database.
Many marketers choose this route because it saves them time and energy, however there are several concerns with the quality of backlinks from agencies, including risks like poor vetting and repetition.
The second type of niche edit services you can hire are organic niche edit agencies (like Only Outreach).
A link building services agency that specializes in outreach and relationship building can build backlinks without paying for them. Instead of paying, they can leverage link exchanges and relationships with website owners to deliver free links for their clients.
With such an agency, you can expect better quality links but usually you have to do monthly packages.
If you’re building the links yourself and have the interest of a blogger, your job is not done yet.
You want to come across as a good partner and request the most impactful niche edit you can find. Here's how to do it.
Only request niche edit links from their blog posts, not the homepage or service page.
In addition, don't ask for a niche edit link to your blog post from a directly competing blog post on their blog. This can come across as pushy and self-serving.
Finally, don't ask for niche edits to your service pages. While you might occasionally get away with this, most bloggers prefer not to link to pages that are selling something.
This approach ensures your link placement requests are well-received and more likely to be successful.
Getting a link from a hyper-relevant page is one of the best ways to get a backlink.
This is because the page is not only relevant to your keywords but also has your keywords in the title, URL, and article.
However, this can be difficult to do because people tend to get lazy and just pick the first blog post they see.
To make it easier, you can use Google to search for relevant blog posts by using the "site:domain.com keyword" search.
This will give you a list of all the relevant blog posts on that site so you can pick the most appropriate one.
The goal is to get a backlink from the most recently published relevant article.
It looks less spammy to Google and more recent articles have more internal link juice, which makes your backlink more powerful.
When you have the choice of multiple relevant ones, go for the most recent posts.
To find the most recent blog posts, you can use the "site:domain.com keyword" search and then sort by date.
Or, you can use a Google operator like "inurl:blog/2022" to find all the blog posts published in 2022.
Higher page authority blog posts send stronger link signals, a factor most niche editors overlook.
The good news is there’s a tool that makes it easy to find high-authority pages.
Use Ahrefs.com to show you the page authority for any given URL.
As you can see, the first page has a total of 43 referring domains, the second has 16 followed by 10, and then 7.
What does this mean for you? The more referring domains you have linking to your page, the more authority you get.
The best link is one from a high-traffic page, another factor commonly ignored because it requires extra effort.
Ahrefs makes this easier by allowing you to enter a website and explore its keyword rankings.
You can then filter by your own keywords to see if they have any good rankings.
If you see a website with good rankings for your target keywords, that’s a strong indication they have traffic and are worth targeting.
If they do, you can click on the pages that rank and see if they would be a good fit for your backlink.
Just note, it's rare to find the perfect page that has all these attributes for every opportunity - and you don't need that.
When you reach out and ask for something, it's your responsibility to make the experience smooth.
Don't make the webmaster think or work. Once you have an agreement, make sure everything the webmaster needs is a click or a copy-paste away within the email or an attached Google doc.
You might assume that because it's in the trail mail, that the webmaster can just dig up the info. That gives them work to do and reduces your chances of follow-through.
If it's a simple niche edit into an already existing article, I will write an email like this:
And if you are suggesting they add additional text to the article, create a Google doc with a screenshot of the exact place you want them to add the text, followed by the text for them to copy and paste.
Whether you’re paying for the link or finding other means, low quality links will only stunt your SEO progress. Here are several ways to check the quality of the backlink before you build it.
A website with a high domain authority (or domain rank) is more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). It is calculated by using a variety of factors, including the number and quality of links to the site.
You can check the Domain Rank here for free.
Organic traffic is the number of visitors who reach a website through unpaid search engine results. Ahrefs has a metric called Organic Traffic that estimates this as a monthly value.
It can be a valuable indication of a website's popularity and effectiveness.
If a website has high DR but low traffic, it's potentially a sign that something is wrong with the website.
Knowing a website’s existing monthly traffic is a valuable metric but it doesn’t tell the whole picture.
The 5 year traffic trend is a more powerful way to gauge the health of a website.
If a website has 1000 monthly traffic now but it used to be 50,000 several months ago, I would avoid getting a link from that website because its highly likely they lost traffic due to a Google penalty.
Alternatively, if a website only has 100 traffic but you can see it just started a couple months ago and is actively working on growing through content and link building then that is a link purchase that will get stronger over time.
Avoid sites that allow niche edits from any site or accept guest posts from anyone who will pay for them.
A website should care about what they’re publishing - otherwise they’re just a link farm.
Avoid sites where the the author of most articles on a blog is “admin”.
Likewise if there is no author persona or interesting About Us page that proves someone cares about this site.
Search engines like Google created the concept of EAT just for this purpose.
Anyone can make a website but only few care enough about their website to put their name behind it.
would only get niche edits from websites who have a real author persona tied to them.
This is a big one because search engine optimization veterans can easily buy expired domains that already have link juice, put up a nice looking blog and start selling links with no other business model.
A dead giveaway is when they have a “write for us” page prominent with no other visible business model.
Selling ads, having a SaaS, providing services, selling products or a course are all legitimate ways to monetize.
You can go back several decades to see what a website used to be. This is especially helpful when trying to buy backlinks.
As touched on above, turning expired domains into cheap backlinks selling businesses is commonplace.
To inspect the backlink prospect in question, enter the domain into the search engine of archive.org.
If you see a big gap in it’s history, the domain likely expired and was picked up again by a new owner.
You can use the Ahrefs outbound links report to see if the website has a history of linking to questionable niches like casino and CBD. It is a clear sign of a website that sells bulk backlinks. And sometimes a sign of a website that will publish anything for money.
So, is niche edit link building the right choice for improving your search engine rankings? The answer is... it depends.
If you're doing things the right way - reaching out to webmasters and suggesting your article as a replacement for a broken link, for example - then it's considered white hat.
But if you're buying links, you'll need to be more careful.
And while there are certainly risks associated with any kind of link building, buying niche edits can be especially dangerous if it lacks quality control in the process.
Do your research before making any decisions, and make sure you're working with reputable websites who have a good track record when it comes to SEO and organic traffic.
If you’re looking for an agency who can do niche edit outreach on your behalf while sticking to high quality websites, check us out.
Our refined link building outreach and vetting process will help you get the backlinks your website deserves.
Our refined link building outreach and vetting process will help you get the backlinks your website deserves.