What Are Curated Links (Niche Edits)?
Curated links, also known as niche edits, are a popular type of backlink used by SEO professionals as a powerful digital marketing tool for pushing the rankings of websites. Along with guest posting, curated link building is one of the best ways to increase authority, power, and relevance to targets.
In this article, we are going to focus on how curated links help with SEO. Specifically, what curated links are, how they work, and how you can go about acquiring them for your digital marketing efforts.
What Are Curated Links & How Do They Work?
Simply put, curated links are contextual backlinks that are inserted into a relevant (i.e. niche-related), blog post that already exists. These posts (or articles) are aged — meaning their content has already been indexed by Google for some period of time and their backlink profiles are actively resonating.
Now we assume you have some understanding of the importance of backlinks (since you are reading a post about curated link building), but before we dive into the mechanics, let us briefly go over why curated links (and backlinks in general) are considered highly useful for SEO for those readers who need a simple refresher.
A backlink is by far the most crucial tool for ranking for search engines such as Google. Your goal, as an SEO professional, is to build / acquire as many high-quality backlinks as possible on relevant / authoritative websites and point them to your target sites.
This is because there is a positive correlation between the number of quality backlinks a site is receiving and the site’s exposure / ranking in the search results pages.
In other words, the more backlinks a website has the more search traffic it gets. This can be illustrated by this graph from an Ahrefs’ search traffic study:
There are many different types of backlinks. Some are considerably more powerful than others. Not all backlinks are created equal or deployed for the same purposes. Some links, like curated links & guest posts, are favored for their raw ranking power, relevance, and authority. Others, such as pillow links, are used as foundational backlinks to establish, insulate, and protect new websites (e.g. citations, directories, social profiles, forum links, Web 2.0).
A website’s backlink profile that is composed of a diverse array of natural, relevant, high-quality links (called link diversity) will go a long way in protecting the site from negative SEO attacks, algorithmic penalties, and stiff competition. The site will perform better in the SERPs, and maintain a higher ranking for a longer time, when compared to a weak / low-quality backlink profile (all else equal).
Okay, that should remind everyone of the value of backlinks and how they help with SEO. Let us continue discussing curated links, how they work, and why they are such popular backlinks.
So curated links, or niche edits, are contextual backlinks placed into niche-relevant, aged posts. There are a few features that make curated links unique compared to other authority links (such as guest posts):
- A curated link is inserted into an aged article (it already exists) that has resonated with Google.
- The placing website (including the aged piece of content) has a pre-existing backlink profile (i.e. link juice).
- The contextual content is already written (and usually high-quality) so you only determine the placement of the curated link’s anchor text (and the niche).
- Curated links are relatively cheap and easy to use (because they are added into existing blogs).
One of the most useful purposes of curated links is for adding relevance to your target website(s). An added benefit is that you may often see quicker results with curated link building (compared to using other backlinks) because they are placed in aged and indexed articles that already have Trust with Google. Resonance in just a few days is not uncommon.
But in order for a curated link to work properly you need to drop it into a relevant blog post on an existing site (with natural or branded anchor text). Google does not look favorably on backlinks coming from non-relevant content because search users intuitively expect to be redirected to content that enhances their experience and supports their search intent.
This is why you should always have control over the niche your curated link (and anchor text) is utilized for — making sure the links are inserted contextually (within informational paragraphs) into existing content on quality websites to improve topical relevance.
How Do You Get Curated Links? Manual Outreach
Sometimes it is a good idea to get your feet wet by doing the “dirty work” of building links yourself. This entails manually acquiring the backlinks (from real sites with purpose) through the time-honored process of link outreach.
Manual link outreach is when you (or your outreach team) contact people who are associated with a website’s content, such as webmasters or editors, and try to reach a deal whereby they will add your backlink to one of the site’s relevant blog posts / page articles.
This deal can be achieved by one of two ways. First, you can simply offer direct payment to the site owner for one or more curated backlink insertions. Second, you can offer your services in exchange for a link placement. Ask the other party what they are looking for to improve their website. It could be some digital marketing service you already know how to provide.
Best of luck finding someone who will place your backlinks as a random favor for nothing in return. Because you probably will not find someone willing to do so (unless that someone is your best friend). So you can expect the link building / outreach process to be relatively time consuming.
However, you might be able to find someone who will let you replace a broken link with your backlink. You would have to find the broken link and then report it to the site owner. If the site owner appreciates that you discovered the faulty backlink, you may get to create a free link placement opportunity after all.
Of course, you will likely need to befriend the people you are reaching out to as well. Or at the very least prove to them that you are trustworthy. Friendship and trust can extend a business relationship and greatly benefit both parties over the long run.
Having said that, manually acquiring a curated link through outreach is basically a common sense process of searching for an appropriate niche website and trying to conduct business with its content owner.
As previously mentioned, it is very important that you find relevant / related websites that actually link out to websites that are like yours (niche research is the beginning of the outreach process). Backlink profiles establish relevance between related websites. You do not want to receive a backlink from a non-relevant website (because it does not look good to Google / search engines). Likewise, the website you are reaching out to does not want to link out to a non-relevant website either.
After you have found a potential website in a relevant niche for your curated link insertion, you should look for specific pages / posts on the website, with contextually relevant content, to actually place your links within. Remember, existing content is what makes curated links different from guest posting (which is the process of adding a link to new content).
After you get the green light from a site owner to have your backlinks inserted into a post, you will want to choose the best target URL / anchor text for your backlink (representing the niche you are targeting) and have the webmaster edit the post in a logical and natural manner that seamlessly blends your backlink into the existing content.
It is not necessary to have the editor add more content than what is necessary to naturally incorporate your backlink, but it never hurts to add additional content that enhances your backlink’s context and maintains relevant content flow.
Finally, here are a few key points you should always consider when finding existing articles on real and trusted websites to get your links curated from:
- Try to make sure the relevant websites are purposeful / functional with good original content (i.e. not spammy websites with spun content)
- The websites should have solid backlink profiles related to their respective niches.
- The linking pages should be contextual / niche-relevant and not have too many outbound links (because this will lessen the impact of your individual backlink)
Final Thoughts On Curated Link Placements
Curated links, also known as niche edits, are contextual backlinks that are dropped into relevant, pre-existing article content (such as a blog post).
They are one of the most powerful / popular backlink types for boosting rankings and used to increase authority, relevance, and power to their targets (especially to add relevance).
Some of the strengths of curated links include:
- Not having to write new content (because older content already exists)
- Favored by website owners because they are easy to implement.
- Boosts target site’s health and ranking quicker than other types of backlinks.
- Targets niche-specific content.
Even though orchestrated link building campaigns involving business deals (and other tactics) are generally against Google’s (and other search engines) webmaster terms of service, this effective digital marketing activity is still very safe and everyone does it.
In truth, many successful SEOs establish a relationship with a link building service (and a link building outreach team) that has a professional association with a network of sites focusing on guest posting, niche edits (i.e. curated links), and link placements in general.
Working with web services companies like link building specialists is the easiest and most direct way to acquire niche edits / curated link placements. You would basically be buying links outright from an outreach team that has already done all the work for you (no manual outreach needed).
They make sure the network of sites you can choose from have been vetted for authority and quality. They also ensure that every published content page is ready to receive your backlinks. The only thing you have to do for them to create your backlink(s) is choose your niche, target URL, and anchor text.
Curated links (niche edits) do have their specific purposes, like adding relevance and delivering power for quick results, but your decision to get links curated from an existing page / blog post should always depend on your current situation and strategic goals. In general, it is best practice to engage in diversified link building that deploys several types of backlinks (such as guest posts and pillow links) instead of relying solely on a single type.
Contributing Author: Brian Kihneman
Chris Tzitzis is an SEO and a Co-Founder of SirLinksalot.co. He has extensive experience with Affiliate SEO and running an SEO Agency.
Get Special Offers and News
Subscribe to our mailing list today!
SirLinksalot is your one-stop-shop for links, builds, guides, and more. From beginner to advanced SEO, black or white hat, we've got something for everyone.
Business Hours: M-F, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm CST