15 min read

What Are Niche Edits and How to Use Them for Link Building

Dmytro Sokhach, CEO of Admix Global
What are Niche Edits

Niche edits are links inserted into content that’s already been published. As the technique doesn’t require creating new content and can render quick results, it’s popular among link-builders.

However, niche edits can be controversial because webmasters usually require an incentive to add the link to their site, and this is considered a violation of the search engine guidelines.

In the article, we discuss the associated risks and challenges of niche edits as a link-building strategy to see how they stack against the potential benefits. We also share tips and tactics you can use to secure safe link insertions.

What Are Niche Edits?

Niche edits, also known as link-insertions, are a link-building strategy where the backlinks are added to existing articles or blog posts rather than creating new content or posts.

Let’s imagine you’re building backlinks for a project management platform. Here’s an article by The Digital Project Manager about 15 project management tools.

article by The Digital Project Manager about 15 project management tools

If you look inside, you can see that they already link to 15 different tools, and each of them can potentially be a link insertion. There’s no reason the article can’t be 16 Best Project Management instead of 15 and feature your product as well.

no reason the article can’t be 16 Best Project Management instead of 15 and feature your product as well

How Do Niche Edits Work?

The first step in the process is finding the relevant websites for link-insertions.

A Google search is a good start, but you can find more opportunities with an SEO tool like Ahrefs. How exactly you do it depends on the kind of content you’re targeting. If you’re interested in step-by-step guides, check out the final section.

As you keep looking for niche edit opportunities, vet your prospects to ensure the content is relevant and the site has good metrics.

Having narrowed down your prospect list, reach out to the site owners with a pitch, focusing on the extra value linking to your site would add to their content.

Benefits of Niche Edits Link Building

Benefits of niche edits link building

Niche edits remain a popular link-building strategy because they offer a few advantages.

Quicker results

Niche edits require less effort and time to generate results when compared to other strategies.

For starters, there’s no need to create new content:

One of the main benefits is that they allow you to leverage existing, often high-authority, content to build links. This can be more cost-effective and less time-consuming than creating new content from scratch.

Jon Morgan, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, VentureSmarter
Jon Morgan

CEO & Editor-in-Chief, VentureSmarter

It doesn’t stop there:

Such links can start driving SEO results right away because they’re on web pages that have been around for some time, so they already have backlinks and get traffic.

Inserting your links into existing high-performing content that’s already related to your niche, you can enjoy the authority, relevancy, and trust that the page has already gained over time.

Mia Čomić, Demand Gen Lead, Instrumentl
Mia Čomić

Demand Gen Lead, Instrumentl

Relevance

As you have complete control of the niche edit process, you can target websites that are relevant to your niche or sector.

Why does it matter?

Relevant backlinks help search engines understand the content and context of your website and consequently improve its topical authority and rankings.

In addition, relevant backlinks bring qualified organic traffic to your site and drive conversions. In other words, people who visit your site by clicking on such links are more likely to purchase your product and service, which is the ultimate goal of all SEO efforts.

Authority

When targeting websites for link insertions, you can also approach those with decent DA/DR.

How much link juice such websites pump to your page depends on other factors, for example, the number of outbound links. It’s also possible to artificially elevate the DR without increasing the quality of the website, so the metric shouldn’t be used to assess sites in isolation.

Overall, however, the rule of thumb is that the higher the authority of the linking domain, the more it can improve your rankings in search results.

Since niche edits entail working with well-known websites in the target niche, they naturally draw on the credibility and trust that have already been built up in that community. As a consequence, the connected website receives higher-quality backlinks that are more likely to have a beneficial effect on search engine rankings.

Ravi Sharma, Founder & CEO of Webomaze
Ravi Sharma

Founder & CEO of Webomaze

It doesn’t mean that all your efforts should be aimed at DR90+ sites. Such links are way more difficult to get, and it wouldn’t make your link profile look natural.

A diverse link profile

Niche edits can help you diversify your backlink profile, which is an important aspect of a robust SEO strategy.

First, incorporating niche edits into your link-building strategy allows you to secure backlinks from a range of websites within your industry.

Second, your link can be inserted into various types of content.

Why is this important?

It replicates how websites earn backlinks organically and makes the backlink profile look natural. Moreover, a diverse backlink profile indicates to search engines that a wide variety of sources find your content valuable and worthy of citation.

Control over anchor text

You can also make your backlink profile more diverse by suggesting various anchortexts for your link, which is often possible when negotiating niche edits.

More importantly, having control over anchor texts allows you to use relevant branded or keyword-rich anchor texts.

This is beneficial for 2 reasons:

First, anchor text provides search engines with context about the linked page, helping them understand what the page is about and how it relates to other content on the web. This contextual information can influence how a page is indexed and ranked for specific keywords.

Second, the use of specific keywords in anchor texts can help a page rank higher for those keywords in search results. This is because search engines see the anchor text as a strong indicator of the page's relevance to those terms.

Challenges of Niche Edit Link-Building

Despite their advantages, building links through niche edits comes with a whole host of challenges.

According to Darija Grobova, the PR manager at Omnisend, the process requires a fair bit of effort even if you don’t have to create new content from scratch. You still have to identify the right opportunities and reach out to the webmasters with your pitch, which is time-consuming, difficult to scale, and comes with low returns:

Niche edits can be challenging because it can be hard to find a link placement that is relevant to the existing content… You have to put a lot of effort into finding the relevant content and to pursue a backlink through niche edits, and conversions can be very low.

Aivaras Augė, SEO Specialist at Omnisend
Aivaras Auga

SEO Specialist at Omnisend

Rex Huxford, the Director of Demand Generation at MD Clarity also shares the same sentiment:

When you consider the opportunity cost of the time spent getting mostly rejected for niche edits, you’re likely better off using your marketing expertise elsewhere.

Rex Huxford, the Director of Demand Generation at MD Clarity
Rex Huxford

the Director of Demand Generation at MD Clarity

Darija also points out that the impact of such links depends on how quickly the link gets crawled, and you may not always be able to reap the benefits immediately:

The page you get a backlink from might not get crawled by Google, therefore you won’t see any SEO benefits for a while.

Aivaras Augė, SEO Specialist at Omnisend
Aivaras Auga

SEO Specialist at Omnisend

Antonio Gabric, the Outreach Manager at Hunter.io mentions saturation as the main issue with link insertions. If the site has many outbound links, it dilutes the SEO value of such backlinks:

Everyone is doing niche edits, which can quickly saturate the page with external backlinks, giving less value to the backlink.

Antonio Gabric, Outreach Manager at Hunter
Antonio Gabric

Outreach Manager at Hunter.io

For Marc Bishop, the Director of Wytlabs, unpredictability is one of main reasons you shouldn’t rely on niche edits in your strategy, especially if working with 3rd party intermediaries:

Dependence on third parties for link placement can introduce unpredictability. Changes to the content or removal of the link by the site owner could affect the stability of your backlink profile and, by extension, your SEO efforts.

Marc Bishop, Director of Wytlabs
Marc Bishop

Director at Wytlabs

Finally, many website owners expect a backlink or payment in exchange for inserting your link. Niche edits cost around $361 on average, and buying them can hurt your SERP performance:

Niche edits are very difficult to pull off without webmasters asking for payment or link exchanges, both of which could cause far more SEO harm than good in the long run.

Rex Huxford, the Director of Demand Generation at MD Clarity
Rex Huxford

the Director of Demand Generation at MD Clarity

Guest Posting vs Niche Edits

Guest posting and niche edits are two very different link-building strategies.

As mentioned, niche edits involve inserting your website’s link into an existing article or blog post on another site. This means your control over the text is limited to the anchor text or a section of the article at most.

In contrast, guest posting requires writing and publishing a new article or blog post on another website, with one or more links back to your site. This is way more time-consuming than niche edits but gives you full control over the content and the overall message as long as it meets the editorial standards.

As the content for niche edits is already published, indexed, and maybe even ranked, you can start benefiting from the page’s authority and traffic as soon as the link is crawled.

Guest posts, on the other hand, build authority over time: getting indexed and gaining traction takes time.

However, guest posts are less likely to be considered manipulative, while with niche edits the risk is higher, especially in highly competitive niches where finding relevant and natural placements is a challenge.

Niche EditsGuest Posts
Inserting links into existing articles or posts.Writing and publishing new articles or posts.
Uses existing content.Requires creating new, original content.
Generally, takes less time and effort.More effort and time needed due to content creation.
Control over content is limited to link placement and anchor text.Full control over topic, content, and links.
Immediate SEO impact, leveraging existing authority and traffic.Gradual impact, as new content gains traction and authority.
Higher risk of being seen as manipulative; Lower risk if the content is high-quality; challenge in creating appealing content.
Prospecting is time-consuming as finding relevant placements is challenging and the conversion rates are low.Prospecting is equally resource-intensive. 
Outreach focused on securing a link placement in existing content.Outreach involves pitching topics and content creation.
Niche Edits vs Guest Post

Are Niche Edits an Ethical Link-Building Strategy?

Yes… No... Maybe...

That’s how I could summarize what I heard from SEOs when I asked them the question.

For many, even the term ‘link-building’ equals black-hat practices because it involves intentional actions aimed at improving SERP performance.

There are indeed situations when niche edits can be considered a black hat technique. For example, paying for backlinks or participating in link schemes is a dodgy practice.

If you’re not careful, they can come across as spammy or manipulative. Google’s guidelines are clear that buying or selling links that pass PageRank is a big no-no. So if you’re paying for niche edits or participating in large-scale link schemes, you could be putting your website at risk of a penalty.

Lyn Collanto, Outreach Specialist, KBA Web
Lyn Collanto

Outreach Specialist at KBA Web

Marc Bishop offers a slightly different perspective. For him it depends on 3 factors: is the niche edit accurate, is it relevant, and does it add value?

Ethical considerations around niche edits also involve ensuring that the content where the link is placed remains accurate and relevant. If a niche edit serves to correct outdated information or add a valuable resource, it’s a win-win for the website owner, the audience, and our clients. The key is maintaining the integrity of the original content while providing clear value additions.

Marc Bishop, Director of Wytlabs
Marc Bishop

Director at Wytlabs

Leigh MacKenzie, SEO Consultant and Growth Lead at Backlinko.com shares Marc’s opinion that whether a niche edit is ethical depends on the value added. He also mentions the importance of transparency:

Niche edits are ethical with transparency. Communicate openly with site owners, not shady link managers. Be sure to offer value-adds and it’s a win-win. Deceptive tactics are not.

Leigh MacKenzie, SEO Consultant and Growth lead at Backlinko
Leigh McKenzie

SEO Consultant, Leighmckenzie

Best Practices for Safe Niche Edits

Considering the potential risks and challenges of niche edits as a link-building strategy, I asked the experts to share some of their best practices.

Best Practices for Safe Niche Edits

Focus on relevance

As relevance is what often distinguishes good links from dodgy ones, securing links from relevant sites should be your priority.

Conduct thorough research to identify content that is directly relevant to your niche and offers value to the readers. Relevance is key to ensuring that your link enhances the content and is viewed favorably by both readers and search engines.

Marc Bishop, Director of Wytlabs
Marc Bishop

Director at Wytlabs

Build relationships and offer value

Two common themes that appeared in my conversations with SEOs were the importance of building robust relationships and offering excellent value to website owners.

Here’s Darija’s take on that:

Instead of cold emailing with a request for inserting the link, try to build a relationship first. The key to a successful niche edit is to ensure that the link you’re asking to insert adds real value to the host’s article.

Aivaras Augė, SEO Specialist at Omnisend
Aivaras Auge

PR Manager at Omnisend

Rex has similar thoughts. In his opinion, it’s the quality of your content has a massive impact on your success rate:

Your best bet is to build relationships with site owners and offer content with fantastic value. If your content is high-quality and adds value for the reader, you’re much more likely to hear a “yes” when asking for a niche edit.

Rex Huxford, the Director of Demand Generation at MD Clarity
Rex Huxford

the Director of Demand Generation at MD Clarity

Vet the website

For Antonio Gabric, vetting the websites you approach for niche edits is an absolute must. The point is to ensure that the site is growing and there’s a real business behind it.

Check their traffic/DR/page trends. Check where the traffic is coming from. Check their top pages and anchor texts. Check their incoming/outgoing link ratio. Check if they have a real team behind the business. Check if they have a genuine product/service. In short, check if the website is growing and is a real business.

Antonio Gabric, Outreach Manager at Hunter
Antonio Gabric

Outreach Manager at Hunter.io

Cameron Harvey, a Digital Marketing Executive at Munro Agency, agrees with Antonio:

Tell-tale signs of a bogus site are pages with no services or products, brief or no about us sections, and no address for HQ or office locations.

Cameron Harvey, Digital Marketing Executive at Munro Agency
Cameron Harvey

Digital Marketing Executive at Munro Agency

Nikola Baldikov, the Founder of InBound Blogging, finds the editorial standards equally important:

Ask yourself this: Does the site not have editorial control? Does this website publish mainly guest posts? If the answer to both of these is ‘yes’ then I would move along and look for other opportunities.

Nikola Baldikov, Founder at InBound Blogging
Nikola Baldikov

Founder at InBound Blogging

Monitor for new content

As we’ve already mentioned, there’s a lot of competition for niche edits and the market gets easily saturated.

As a solution, Cameron Harvey recommends monitoring pages of interest in your niche for new content where you can insert links before everybody else:

The market is saturated for this type of link-building in competitive keywords.

Which means if you aren’t first or have a high-ranking page, your backlink returns will most likely be tiny. Which is why monitoring target sites for new posts is an attractive, additional strategy to use in combination with niche edit link building.

Cameron Harvey, Digital Marketing Executive at Munro Agency
Cameron Harvey

Digital Marketing Executive at Munro Agency

This can give you an edge over your competitors, at least initially. In the long run, there’s a risk, that other sites will catch up by getting links on the same pages.

5 Safe Ways to Get Niche Edits Links

5 Safe Ways To Get Niche Edits Links

How do you look for niche edit opportunities and ensure you team up with legit sites only? Let’s have a look at 5 strategies to secure link inserts.

Resource page link-building

Resource pages curated by websites to give their audience quick access to a collection of resources on a particular topic are a natural place for niche edits.

example of resource page link building

If you have a quality resource, securing such a backlink is fairly easy. In fact, many resource pages ask for submissions to keep them current and fresh.

The first step in the process is to find relevant resource pages to target. The easiest way to do it is with Google advanced search operators:

  • keyword intitle:resources inurl:resources.html
  • keyword intitle:resources inurl:links.html
  • keyword intitle:links inurl: resources.html
  • keyword inurl:.com/resources
  • keyword inurl:resources intitle:resources
using search operator for resource page link building

Alternatively, you can use an SEO tool to find relevant resource pages in your competitors’ backlink profiles.

use an Ahrefs to find relevant resource pages

If you’re an Ahrefs user, head over to the Site Explorer and type in the URL of your competitors.

Next, navigate to the Backlinks report and filter the results by:

  • Resources or Links in referring page URL
  • Resources or Links in referring page title
Resources or Links in referring page URL and Title

There are nearly 2200 results now, many of which are on high-authority .edu and .gov websites. Not all of them are resource pages though, so you’ll need to do a bit of weeding later.

Afterward, filter the results further by Status (Do follow), DR, traffic, Backlink type (In content).

Finally, export the results into your G-sheet for further analysis and vetting.

Broken link-building

The principle behind broken link-building is simple: You look for pages with broken links pointing to content in your niche and reach out to the webmaster suggesting your page as a replacement.

A number of the SEOs I interviewed for the article mentioned broken backlinks as a good place to start building links via niche edits

I think a good starting point is to check if any relevant sites have broken links. If you spot such an opportunity, reach out to the website owner and offer your content as a replacement.

Nikola Baldikov, Founder at InBound Blogging
Nikola Baldikov

Founder at InBound Blogging

How do you look for such opportunities?

You can look for broken links on resource pages.

To pull it off, you need a browser extension like Broken Link Checker for Chrome, which scans a page you visit and picks up broken links. Alternatively, you can plug the website URL into the Ahrefs free broken link checker tool.

Broken Link Checker by Ahrefs

And then do the same thing again and again for all of them.

Sounds fun, right? I can’t think of a more soul-destroying process than checking one site after another.

Fortunately, this isn’t necessary as there are other ways to look for broken links at scale.

First, you can look for broken links pointing to your competitors’ websites.

In Ahrefs, head over to Site Explorer and enter your competitors’ website URL, just like above.

Next, navigate to the Best by links report, and filter the links by 404 HTTP code:

filter the links by 404 HTTP code

Next, look through the list of pages with content that you may already have or is easy to replicate.

look at page that you can replicate

Instead of focusing on your competitors, you can look for broken backlinks on pages covering a specific topic.

Here’s how:

1) Open the Content Explorer and change the search mode to ‘In title’

2) Key in the topic

key topic project management

3) Filter the results by Only broken and number of referring domains (>20).

Filter the results by Only broken and 20+ ref domains

4) Have a quick look at the Page traffic to determine how good the backlinks are.

Have a quick look at the Page traffic to determine how good the backlinks are

Unlinked brand mentions

Unlinked brand mentions are another way to pick easy niche edits because the website is already referring to you in its content. All they have to do is just add a link.

However, this strategy works well for established companies only. You need to be big enough for people to write about you without asking.

How do you look for unlinked mentions?

The easiest way is with dedicated tools like Mention, but you can do it with Ahrefs, Semrush, or any other major SEO suite too.

In Ahrefs, you do it in Content Explorer.

In the search bar, enter your brand name and choose the search status to ‘In content’

enter your brand name in search bar

After that, add your domain URL in Highlight unlinked.

add your domain URL in Highlight unlinked.

Finally, export the highlighted pages for further analysis.

Expert roundups

Expert roundups are articles on a particular topic that feature comments, opinions, insights, and tips from subject matter experts.

They are popular in content marketing because they:

  • Give the website exposure as featured experts might share the page with their followers.
  • Help build relationships with influential industry experts
  • Result in backlinks - if you link to their website, they might link back to yours.

Roundups are an attractive target for niche edits because it takes a few minutes to write a commentary or give a quote. If you have adequate expertise, of course.

To find a roundup to approach, let’s use Ahrefs Content Explorer one more time.

In the search bar enter your keyword and +”expert”, for example, "project management" +"expert".

for example project management + expert

Next, scan the results for pages that look like expert roundups, like the ClickUp one.

scan the results for pages that look like expert roundups

Use a reputable niche edits service

The above techniques can help you build niche edits, but as some of the SEOs mentioned, prospecting and outreach could be time- and resource-intensive. And then there’s a risk of penalties should the links you build be deemed manipulative by the SEs.

Bearing that in mind, outsourcing the process to a reputable link-building agency is a valid alternative. I intentionally use the word ‘reputable’ because there are lots of cowboys out there, and you don’t want to get involved with them.

When vetting the agency, consider their track record. Look at their case studies, client testimonials, and previous results, ask for examples of the links they’ve secured for their links, and inquire about the techniques they used to achieve this. Pay attention to communication and transparency.

Editorial.Link link building case studies

Editorial.Link specializes in niche edits. Thanks to our relationships with authoritative websites like Forbes, Monday.com, Hubspot we’ve managed to secure highly-relevant backlinks for our clients.

For example, here’s one of many niche edit links we got for one of our clients, Sitechecker.

example of niche edits link for our client from Hubspot

What was the result?

An increase in traffic and the shiny little feature snippet for a very competitive keyword ‘best seo tools’.

our niche edit link help our client shine in featured snippet

As our services are very competitively priced, many in-house teams wouldn’t be able to match such results.

Final Thoughts

Niche edits are a controversial technique because you often have to pay the website owner to add the link. If that’s what you’re involved in, you face the risk of your links being ignored by the search engines or even penalties.

However, If your link adds value to the original content and is relevant, and you’re transparent in your communications with the owners, there’s nothing inherently wrong with niche edits.

Using legitimate methods to secure niche edits is by no means easy, and you may be better off outsourcing the process to a specialist link-building agency.

If you think that hiring an agency is a better use of your resources, get in touch with the Editorial.Link and book a free consultation.

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