Here’s a little secret: the best backlinks are those generated simply because people like your website.
There are many search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing techniques you can use to generate backlinks.
Strategies like guest posts, niche edits, and exchanges can work well, but editorial links are the holy grail of backlinks.
While an editorial link is hard to come by, there are some tactics you can use to increase your chances of attracting them from high-authority websites.
In this article, we will discuss:
➡️ What an editorial link is.
➡️ The benefits of editorial backlinks.
➡️ How you can build high quality links through this technique.
What Are Editorial Links?
An editorial link is achieved when people link to your site in their content. They do this when they feel your content adds value to theirs.
They often occur organically—people like what they see and link to your page—although you can use various tactics to increase your chances of getting editorial backlinks.
You’ll typically find editorial links on news sites, large publications, opinion pieces, and blogs.
Below is an example of an editorial link in the tech publication The Verge:
The journalist who wrote the story added the link to Fireside because it is relevant to the story.
Organic editorial links are those you receive without contacting site owners. They are achieved simply because the writer likes your website and you publish high quality content.
You don’t need to perform outreach to get editorial links. The author simply discovered your content, liked it, and decided it was worth linking to.
What you’ll need to attract editorial links
There are a few elements that you can work on to increase your chances of acquiring editorial backlinks.
Create link-worthy content: Any type of quality content can attract links. But new research, statistics, free tools, unique opinions, and interesting stories are especially effective.
Reach an audience: People can only link to your content if they see it. Ranking well on Google or having a large social following will help.
A bit of luck: You need some of the people who see your content to decide to link to it.
Proactivity: You can be more proactive in attracting editorial links by sending press releases and answering journalist questions. These are two common ways to attract editorial links. We’ll go into more detail about these strategies below.
Acquired Links vs. Editorial Links
Acquired links are those you generate when you perform outreach with the specific goal of link building.
They differ from editorial links in that they aren’t added to a website solely due to the value they add to the content.
Some tactics for acquired links
There are several strategies you can use to achieve acquired links. Here are three proven link-building techniques you can try:
Niche edits: This involves contacting website owners and asking them to place links to your site. These are typically paid links.
Guest posting: Writing a blog post for a website and linking to your own site. We have a list of 65 amazing sites that accept free guest posts for you to check out. You need to create valuable content for this to work.
Broken link building: Discovering links that point to nonexistent content and asking the site owner to link to your site instead
Should You Buy Backlinks?
We believe you will miss out on quality links if you refuse to pay for backlinks. And in some industries, paid linking is incredibly common. Check out our opinion piece on whether or not to buy backlinks before you make your decision.
What Are the Benefits of Editorial Links?
Quality link building can improve your Google search rankings.
The search engine considers backlinks from other websites to be votes of confidence for your site. Quality links signal to search engines that your content is relevant and valuable.
Many types of inbound links—acquired and editorial backlinks—can provide improved rankings.
Besides better rankings, earning links like these provides other SEO value, including:
Driving more organic traffic to your website.
Reaching a larger audience.
Building a strong link profile with link diversity.
Giving your website more authority.
Here are some main benefits of having editorial links in your backlink profile.
✅ Get featured in high quality publications
The most authoritative websites aren’t receptive to typical link-building campaigns.
You won’t get a guest post on the New York Times, and the BBC won’t add a niche edit to one of their stories.
Many local publications and high quality niche blogs have similarly high editorial standards. It can be tough to get links on these sites with acquired techniques.
Editorial link-building, however, is the only way to get featured in some high authority publications.
✅ Lower your risk of Google penalties
A Google penalty, also known as a manual action, is when your website is penalized for using link-building techniques that attempt to manipulate the search engine.
Google warns against link-building methods like paying for low quality links, excessive guest posting, and link exchanges.
Editorial links are a 100% safe, white hat SEO method that won’t land you in hot water with Google.
✅ Build brand awareness
Editorial links are great for brand building for two reasons.
First, the link will associate your company with a reputable publication. You can use this to build trust when people first visit your website. That’s why you’ll often see a “featured on” section on a website home page.
Below is an example from the blog of Ryan Robinson. Anyone unsure of who the blogger is will see that he has been featured on multiple sites they already trust. When they see this, they may trust him more, too.
The second reason is that the type of sites that publish editorial links often have large audiences.
When they publish an article that mentions your brand, you’ll be exposed to potentially thousands of new people. This is great for building brand awareness.
✅ A scalable method of attracting links
Some editorial link-building strategies are highly scalable.
Doing something worthy of an editorial link can be time-consuming. But once you’ve done the work, you may find many people wanting to link to your website.
An example of this is the below competition by 247Blinds. The company promises to pay people to sleep during the day to research sleep patterns. Multiple high authority news outlets in the UK picked up this quirky story.
You can see from the Ahrefs screenshot below that the page with the job offer has attracted nine links in just nine days!
How to Get Editorial Links
Here are four of our favorite strategies for generating editorial links.
1) Research and statistics
Publishing original research and statistics can be a great way to get editorial links. This is because bloggers and writers often rely on statistics to support their arguments. They may use your findings in their articles.
One way to achieve this is to create statistics pages and rank them on search engines. When people search for a relevant term, your page will show up, and the writer may decide to use your stats and link to your page.
Ahrefs used the latter strategy for a search traffic study they ran. It resulted in seven referring domains for just $540 in ad spend.
What Is Evergreen Content?
Statistical and research-based articles are a way to create evergreen content, also known as linkable assets. Good content is a great way to get more backlinks (and more traffic) from sites that will use your original research to improve the quality of their own content.
2) Public relations (PR) backlinks
Press releases are an established way to generate media coverage and backlinks.
The hardest part of this strategy is creating newsworthy stories worth covering.
Here are three techniques to earn a link in a news publication.
➡️ Release new products
A press release can be effective when you launch new products (or product updates).
For example, whenever Apple releases a new iPhone, it generates tons of press coverage.
You don’t need to be as famous as Apple for this to work. You just need to find relevant publications and pitch your idea to them.
A web browser called Vivaldi gained coverage and links from niche tech news websites when it released an update.
➡️ Do something newsworthy
Doing something interesting with your brand is often the best way to generate backlinks via press coverage.
When thinking of ideas, consider the types of stories online publications cover and do something likely to appeal to their editors.
The section above mentioned how a company that sells blinds generated backlinks with a competition to get paid to sleep.
This wasn’t a new idea! In fact, a mattress company received significant press attention in May this year for an almost identical campaign.
➡️ Create unique, quality content
The third way is to create unique, good content. The Trump Tax Fraud Campaign we ran for one of our clients is a great example of publishing high quality content.
This piece was a factual look at Donald Trump’s history of tax evasion. It ultimately generated over 150 backlinks from high authority sites like Slashdot and Mashable.
3) Become a source
Becoming a source for articles is a great way to generate editorial links. Journalists and bloggers use your expertise on a particular topic to improve their stories.
Becoming a source requires you to build relationships with reporters and industry experts who will quote you as an authority. Building these long-lasting relationships has massive benefits for your site.
This is a common method for generating backlinks. It’s also one of our favorite ways to land high authority backlinks.
How to become a source
You can connect with journalists and bloggers to become a source for their articles in several ways.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and similar services
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is the easiest way to connect with journalists. The service is a daily email newsletter filled with requests in various categories.
All you have to do is read through each email and then reply to relevant requests. If the journalist likes your answer, they may feature you and your website in their story.
Follow relevant journalists and bloggers
Journalists and bloggers often use online communities and social media sites to connect with sources.
Twitter is a great place to look. Follow people who write about your industry and contact them when they ask for sources. Following #journorequests will also highlight when writers are looking for opinions.
Facebook groups, Slack Communities, and private niche communities are also good places to look. Just join relevant groups and check them for source requests.
4) Unlinked Mentions
Unlinked mentions is a link-building technique that has been around for a long time. The idea is to look for situations where people mention your brand but don’t link to it and then ask them for a link.
Editorial Links Are Crucial to SEO Success
Editorial link building is extremely valuable. If you can master generating this type of link by making your content link-worthy, it won’t be long before your site rises up the search results.
Need more editorial links? We’d love to run your editorial link-building campaigns for you. We have a long history of generating high quality editorial links for our clients through creating content and article distribution. Get in touch to find out what we could do for your site.