Curated link insertions are backlinks placed on aged posts. This article explains how to build them correctly.
Link insertions are one of the top 10 link building strategies SEOs use. But they are often misinterpreted in the SEO world.
Are link inserts like guest posts? Are they not link spam?
In this article, we’ll look at what link insertions are. More importantly, I’ll show you how they work and how to build them safely.
FYI: curated link insertions are also called “niche edits,” “link placements,” and “contextual links.”
Getting Started with Curated Links — What You Must Know
What Is Link Insertion?
Link insertion, like the name, means placing a backlink on an existing post on a target website.
Ideally, you’ll pick the “existing articles” and “target websites” based on their link juice. More importantly, there must be a relationship between you and the owner of the websites.
Otherwise, you’d be threading on Google’s BAD side: link spam.
But how do you build the much-needed relationship?
Here are some of the strategies I use for my money sites and clients:
- Target brand mentions — this works if you are an authority figure in your niche. Just find posts mentioning your name without a backlink.
- Target broken links — find resource pages or high-traffic posts with broken links. Then, check if you have a replacement page. If not, create one and pitch website owners.
- Feature on niche-relevant podcasts and roundups. Also, provide answers to questions on HARO [Help a Reporter Out].
Why Should You Build Link Insertions?
Take Nathan Gotch as an example. He spent $22.9K on 565 niche edits. He found that the niche edits are 70% effective, especially when you build at least 3 to a target page.
Now, you’re thinking, what is so special about curated link insertions? Why do they work?
Here are the 3 top reasons why niche edits work and why you should build them:
- Link insertion is safe: this link building method is a white-hat strategy since you’re leveraging relationships.
- Link insertion is lucrative for website owners: using Nathan Gotch’s case study, imagine how the target website owners must feel. They are getting paid handsomely for placing curated and relevant links on an existing page. Who would turn that opportunity down?
- Link insertion requires little to no stress.
Link Insertions vs. Guest Posts: Are They Different?
By definition, the difference between link insertions and guest posts is clear. The former doesn’t require any writing — outside the pitch email.
FYI: writing guest posts can be a link insertion strategy. This happens in broken link building and blogger outreach because you’ll often receive backlinks. But a guest post is never a niche edit.
Beyond ease, there are other crucial differences between link insertions and guest posts. I differentiated them below using 3 differential factors:
Link Juice Advantage
Link insertions use indexed posts with appealing backlink profiles. This way, you can leverage the traffic and link juice of the said posts to enhance your website/page performance on search results.
On the other hand, guest posting means writing a post from scratch. You’ll wait a while to rank the articles before your links will even get a click.
Winner: curated links
Time and Energy Efficiency
Depending on the age and domain/page authority of the website you use, your post might wait up to a year to get to the top pages of search results. In other words, your links won’t get clicked in time. That’s not time or energy efficient.
On the other hand, you can save time and energy via curated links. Locate a target page, reach out, and leverage the traffic and rank juice for your website immediately.
Winner: curated links
Frankly, curated links can be rigid. You can’t decide a lot of crucial details like where website owners should place your backlinks or the meta descriptions of the post.
On the other hand, you have 100% control in “guest posting.” You can place your link anywhere in the post if the guidelines of the website owner allow it.
Winner: guest posts
Bottom line: curated links are much easier to build than guest posts. More importantly, they are more effective for SEO.
In essence, prioritize curated links for your SEO campaigns,
Now, you understand the basics of link insertions. Let’s take a deep dive into how they work.
How Do Link Insertions Work?
Link insertions work in 3 steps:
- Find top-performing existing content
- Draw up a list of anchor texts
- Pitch the owner of the website or author of the post
Note: the steps below are what work for me. Other SEOs might have different processes.
Find Top Performing Existing Content
Start your search from the target website. Is it relevant to your money pages?
For example, say you plan to send the backlink to your wedding gift store. Getting a backlink from a construction website doesn’t make sense. The two businesses do not correlate.
If you pursue such a link, that’s no longer a white-hat strategy. You would be violating Google policies and stand being penalized.
So, what should you do?
If you own a wedding gift store, target websites talking about wedding locations and gift ideas.
- Type “niche + blog” into Google’s search bar like in this picture:
- Don’t pick the no 1 result yet; add the top 5 results on the first page to an Excel sheet like this:
- I’ll pick Brides.com because it has the highest domain authority. But you can also get a link insertion from all the sites.
Next, let’s pick a top-performing aged post on our target site.
- Go to Ahrefs Site Explorer > input the URL of the target site
- Look towards the left tab > click “organic keywords” under “organic search.”
Fortunately, Brides.com is ranking number 1 for a keyword directly related to my business. That is my target post.
Draw up a List of Anchor Texts
If you don’t know anything about anchors, check out this guide first.
Exact or partial match anchors are undoubtedly the cherry-pick to draw the most link juice. So, let’s start with that.
Using our example:
- Say you want to send the backlinks to your site’s wedding bag collection
- Search within the article for the term “bag.” I found a “custom bag.” I can use that as it is a partial match anchor.
What about generic anchors?
I don’t recommend using generic anchors like “click here” or “download here” for niche edits. It would be a waste of effort.
If, in any case, an exact or partial match anchor is not available, plead with the site owner or author to add a new sentence just for you. This request might cost you extra.
Either way, use a mix of anchor texts if you’re getting link insertions from different websites to a single page. Otherwise, your strategy will come off as link spam.
Pitch the Owner of the Website or Author of the Post
From practical experience, the workload isn’t doing outreach but negotiating link insertion prices. So, I’ll focus on how I do the latter.
But if you don’t know how to pitch, read this extensive guide on writing and mastering outreach.
Back to the negotiation: steal the steps below to get the best out of link insertion pricing.
- Know the benchmark for link insertion price. The range might vary depending on the niche, country, and metrics of choice. However, the baseline shouldn’t be more than $365 per niche edit.
For a niche like “wedding,” our example, where link insertion acceptance is low, the price might even be higher.
- Despite the price inconsistency, set a spending limit. Then, approach the site owner or post author.
- Don’t be too forward. Instead, ask for how much the “contact” charge for link inserts. Then, beat the price down to a convenient range.
Here is an alternative method.
- Don’t ask for the price of link insertion from the start. Instead, send queries about guest posts. Ask a question like this:
“I saw that you accept guest post submissions. Do you also have openings for sponsored posts too? If yes, I’ve an idea on [X] that can benefit your audience.”
- If the site owner said yes to the sponsored post, ask how much.
- Irrespective of the quote, tell the site owner that you have already stretched your budget. Can they accept link inserts instead for a fraction of the cost of sponsored posts?
How to Get Curated Links During Link Building?
Generally, there are two ways you can build curated links:
- Do it manually
- Use link insertion services
Build Curated Inserts Manually
This method involves everything I discussed in “how curated links work.” But some extra details go into it. Check the details below:
- Check the authenticity of the target site. Does it match your needs? Are they a REAL website or a link farm? Do they accept links from just any business with unrelated niches?
- Check the website metrics. Will the traffic and ranking benefit your site? Or is your domain authority score even higher? More importantly, check the source of the target’s backlinks. If they are not diversified, steer clear.
- If the target passes the authenticity and metrics test, start your outreach campaign. Build out a relationship and be genuine. Also, check if you can get other link building opportunities beyond curated inserts.
Use Link Insertion Services
Unlike the manual approach, link insertion services are 100% hands-off. And that’s not even the best part. This is:
Link builders have a vast network. They have written several guest posts on your desired websites, gotten niche edits, and earned their reputation.
Getting to that level takes time. But with link insertion services, you can have it all at an affordable price.
Take my agency, SERPReach, as an example. We’ve been building niche edits since 2009. We have worked with SEOs across several verticals and industries. Yet, we constantly expand our network.
And even with the quality and experience, our curated link insertions are relatively affordable. We place your links on a 40 DA and 1000+ traffic for as little as $99.
Which of the Two Options Should You Use?
The best option is to use a link insertion service if you’re a busy professional or business owner. It will save you time and energy. More importantly, you’ll get results — as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, if you want to be hands-on about link building, combine the two methods. Build manual, quality links to your blog posts for a start.
Then, hire an expert to build link inserts to your landing pages, lead gens and cornerstone content.
Additional Tips to Build Link Inserts Correctly
Get Links Only from Relevant Blog Posts
Regardless of how appealing the metrics of a post might be, if it is not relevant to your page, Google might flag it as link spam. If that happens, your rankings will plummet as the slightest algorithm update. In other words, your efforts will be futile.
So, choose only relevant blog posts like when we picked Brides.com for our sample wedding gift business. Here’s another example for easy comprehension:
❌️ A dog trainer getting a link on a blog post titled “How to Sell House Fast in Melbourne.”
✅️ A god trainer getting a link on Petco’s blog post “How to Stop Your Dog from Begging.”
Diversify Where You Place Your Links
In our example, I only showed how to get links from Brides.com. In the real sense, that won’t be enough to beat your competitors. Target other placement sites — even more than 5.
However, don’t chase generic target sites in the name of diversifying your link placements. That might tank your efforts. Instead, prioritize relevancy.
You can try something like this:
- A dog trainer can get featured on websites that sell:
- Training gear for pets,
- Cleaning supplies for areas where pets often soil
- Care products and treats for pets
In the end, your link profile will be diversified and yet relevant.
Place Link Contextually
Lastly and most importantly, don’t place your links just anywhere in a relevant blog post. It won’t get clicks. The link juice might not even drip effectively.
Instead, use exact or partial match anchors that fit your context.
In this post, for example, this point is the best place to place a dog trainer backlink:
“Crate-trained” fits the context and the phrase of a dog trainer. However, it is not the best. Getting a link in the conclusion will be better.
Convince the site owner to add a sentence like “if despite all the tips, your dog keeps begging for food, hire a dog trainer.” Then, you can place the link on “dog trainer.”
Verdict: Do Link Insertion Services Work?
Short answer: yes!
Link insertion services eliminate all the stress of manual outreach and vetting processes. With the right one (service), you can leverage the vast network of a link builder to get results quickly at affordable rates.