Link Building
Jun 4, 2024

What are Editorial Links and How to Build Them

What are Editorial Links and How to Build Them

Imagine being back in high school. You’re the new kid, but the most popular student invites you to their birthday party.

Suddenly, everyone knows who you are.

It’s the same with editorial links from highly authoritative websites and news outlets.

And you’re on the best page to learn how to build them. We’ll share:

  • The best examples of editorial backlinks from our clients’ experiences (and more)
  • Actionable tips and strategies to create those quality backlinks
  • Tools you can use + step-by-step explanations

Keep reading below.

What Are Editorial Backlinks?

Editorial links are inbound links from a reputable website in your niche. This website must have:

  • High authority
  • Good traffic
  • Awesome reputation

More importantly, this editorial link-back is not requested.

  • You won’t practice link-building outreach for editorial links as you do for guest posts.
  • Instead, you publish valuable content that your potential link partners can’t help but link to.  
editorial links vs other backlinks

Who is this quality content written for?

  • Your audience: Authoritative content creators in your niche also address your audience. If you’ve created an exceptional asset that brings these people unique value, they’ll link to it.
  • Your potential link partners: Content creators may value other subjects outside those that interest your audience. Therefore, you should build assets that engage that audience, too.
editorial links topics

Let’s look at a few examples of natural backlinks.

One of our clients, the influencer marketing platform inBeat, has built several tools and content assets quoted by authority websites.

For example, Readers Digest has picked up their fake follower calculator in this article:

backlink analysis

And Readers Digest has wonderful stats, according to Ahrefs:

readers digest in Ahrefs
readers digest 2

Side note: Thanks to these white-hat link-building methods, we brought our friends at inBeat from 500 to 70,000 monthly visitors, reaching over $4,000,000 in pipeline value. Tools and evergreen content are the backbone of a strong link profile.

Another good example is SEMrush’s State of Content Marketing.

The annual report paints the evolution of the content marketing niche, showcasing real numbers and trends.

And just a few months after publishing, the report has 2,000 high-quality links from 879 websites.

semrush backlink profile

Pros and Cons of Editorial Backlinks

Without further ado, let’s jump into the advantages and disadvantages of editorial backlinks.

PROS of Editorial Links

You probably already intuit some of the advantages. Free advertising and having your content picked up by reputable websites without manual outreach are always great.

But there’s more than that.

1. SEO Link Juice

Imagine a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice with its vibrant color and fresh aroma.

Now imagine a glass of Tang; it has the color and smell of disappointment.

Between these two options is a vast array of orange juices; some are better than others.

SEO link juices differ just like fruit juices.

And sure, you should avoid low-quality links, but you do need link diversity. Editorial link-building can neatly complement your other valuable backlinks.

link juice explained

Editorial backlinks are the best links you can get because:

  • They point to high-quality content: Therefore, Google knows you’re offering genuine value to your audience.
  • They aren’t requested: When multiple websites start linking to you, and you get more backlinks than average, Google understands that you are an authoritative source.

These traits of editorial links translate into a higher search ranking.

Lesson learned: Because your link-worthy content offers real value, Google will rank you higher to show your content assets to more people, getting you more organic traffic.

2. Referral Traffic

Editorial links bring you more referral traffic on top of the organic traffic.

Like so:

referral traffic explained

And now, add some editorial, organic backlinks from high-authority websites:

referral traffic continued

Let’s explain in more depth.

  • Organic traffic: You get it from people finding your content on a major search engine.
  • Referral traffic: This comes from people who click on your website after finding it on another website that is not a search engine.

And here’s the thing:

  • Most backlinks: Deliver good organic traffic if you build enough of them to enough of your pages. You need a good keyword research strategy to know which pages you should build these backlinks to. More quality backlinks increase your organic search rankings, meaning more people can see and click on your website. If your link-building campaign is data-driven, that quality traffic will be made of qualified leads.
  • Editorial backlinks: People see your content quoted by an authoritative website, like a news publication or an important content creator in your niche. They are more likely to click on that contextual link immediately, thus bringing you more qualified traffic instantly.

3. Enhanced Brand Presence

Imagine creating something completely new and useful in an empty niche, like the first McDonald’s in a small town.

Everyone will be coming your way.

brand presence explained

It’s the same with natural editorial links.

  1. You create a quality piece of content or an awesome, practical tool.
  2. Since you’re the first to do it, you will rank easily because the keyword competition is low.
  3. Authoritative websites and news sites in your niche looking for that information will find your content asset or tool.
  4. Multiple creators will link to that webpage simultaneously.
  5. Your online presence skyrockets, giving you access to a larger audience and boosting your search engine optimization.

Pro tip: You need to understand what content creators and potential link partners in your industry are looking for. And then give them that.

4. New Relationships

Now, all these new authoritative websites, creators, and news outlets have quoted your content.

Thanks to that, they see you as a valuable source of information, so:

  • They’ll keep you on their radar, following your website and social media for more quality information.
  • Their editorial team is more likely to respond to your messages if you decide to conduct a link-building outreach campaign.

As a result, you forge long-lasting relationships that will support your future link-building efforts.

CONS of Editorial Backlinks

Unfortunately, these types of links aren’t perfect. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

1. It’s a Difficult Strategy

Editorial links require a lot of planning and strategizing.

You must conduct research, pick relevant topics that interest both your target audience and authoritative websites in your niche, and then create those assets.

As you can see, this type of asset creation is not something you can do every week.

Even SEMrush publishes its famous “State of…” Reports yearly.

2. You Need More Resources

Editorial links demand more time and a highly skilled team doing the research, writing, software development, and publishing than a standard blog post.

And all that entails a higher budget.

Here’s the Solution

Editorial backlinks are worth their disadvantages because they lead to more long-term results, such as steady referral traffic and organic visibility.

A link-building agency will help you incorporate editorial content into your SEO strategies quickly and effectively.

Remember, they already have knowledgeable teams and resources.

And that means you can maximize your budget.

Pro tip: With SEO agencies like Blue Things, you only pay for the links you get. That means you’re genuinely maximizing your budget.

How to Build Editorial Links

Now you know why editorial links are great types of backlinks to have in your backlink profile. Here’s how you build them:

1. Create Great Content and Linkable Assets

Here’s how you create great content and linkable assets in three simple steps.

Side note: “Simple” rarely has the same meaning as “easy” in SEO.

1. Identify an empty niche

  • Understand what your potential customers' needs are.
  • Understand what authoritative websites in your industry write about. Choose authority sites with high domain authority and quality traffic.
  • Find the intersection between these two categories and identify a list of topics.

2. Choose the best topics.

  • Research your competition, see what they post about, and who picks up their content.
  • Compare their content strategies and backlink plans with your own.
  • Choose a content asset with high search volume and low competition to ensure more relevant content creators in your niche pick it up.
  • Ensure you publish original, helpful, and newsworthy content.

3. Create and advertise that asset.

The asset needs to be perfect.

  • If you write content, it has to be relevant, high-quality, and professional. Think infographics, stats, numbers, and results.
  • If you develop a tool, it has to work smoothly.

Next, post and advertise that content on your social media to create traction.

We showed you some good examples above, but here’s another one. SEO tool Ahrefs has created an Academy where people can learn SEO:

ahrefs seo academy

The catch: the people who learn SEO from the Ahrefs Academy for free also learn how to use Ahrefs as part of their toolkit.

Therefore, they’ll be more likely to purchase a subscription or recommend that purchase to the key decision-maker in their company.

2. Do Guest Posts

Guest blogging on authoritative websites showcases your expertise and experience in a specific niche.

However, guest posting for editorial links differs from standard guest posts, where you must pitch your ideas.

In this case, your source requests you to create a post that brings extreme value to the readers.

One example of such a valuable guest article is this:

guest post example

David Morneau is the CEO of inBeat, the client we told you about earlier.

David constantly publishes relevant content on reputable websites, specifically addressing their audience’s pain points.

In the example above, you can see that David shares his experience as CEO of inBeat and other small companies to help agencies book their first meetings.

3. Participate in Roundups

Roundups are panels of experts that discuss a topic that interests both your audience and authoritative websites in your niche.

Participating in such a roundup:

  • Puts you on the map as an authority in your industry.
  • Gets you more valuable link juice because the other participants will link to the roundup, thus increasing its visibility.
  • The information is typically easy to comprise. Roundup participants are often asked to give brief opinions on a specific matter.

On the downside, you must build your online presence before being asked to do this roundup. Consider:

  • Posting informative content on your blog, social media, and other online publications
  • Networking in real life at specific events
  • Enrolling in specific groups on Quora, LinkedIn, or Facebook and interacting with other community members meaningfully
  • Answering questions on the HARO (Help A Reporter Out) platform, where journalists ask questions and require resources before creating a piece of content

4. Do Broken Link Building

Broken link-building can ensure high-quality editorial links almost instantly.

Here’s how this goes:

  1. You identify a few authoritative websites in your niche that you want to be featured in.
  2. You run their website through a broken link checker.
  3. Find opportunities to replace a dead link with your own asset.
  4. Send them an email to showcase that broken link and ask them whether you can send them your content asset as a replacement for that dead link.
  5. If they say yes, send that piece of content or tool and enjoy the link juice. If not, move on to the next website on your list.

Pro tip: Remember not to send your replacement content asset from the first email because you’ll seem pushy.

Let’s say you want to post in a major publication like the Search Engine Journal. Broken link building grants you easy access because high-quality websites like this don't want to have dead links.

Here’s a list of easy-grab opportunities for building links in SEJ:

broken link building

5. Study Competitors' Backlinks [And Go After Them]

This step requires more in-depth SEO knowledge, but it helps you create the most profitable content assets.

Here’s what you need:

  • Use an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
  • Input your competitors’ websites.
  • Look at their backlink profiles to understand:
  • Their most linked-to assets
  • The content creators quoting those assets
  • The keywords they’re ranking for
  • Use this information to reverse-engineer and adapt their strategies or find missed opportunities.

Pro tip: If you don’t have such a tool or don’t know how to use it yet, you can manually research your competitors’ websites. That said, an SEO tool shows you the most relevant insights across all competitors side-by-side.

Let’s say you’re in the influencer marketing niche, and one of your competitors is inBeat. You can see their tools right here:

influencer marketing posts

You can now identify their missed opportunities, such as a Facebook, Snapchat, or Pinterest engagement rate calculator.

Let’s run the “Facebook engagement rate calculator” through Ahrefs:

ahrefs keyword search

As you can see, this is an easy keyword to rank for, with a decent traffic potential and global volume.

That’s a good starting point.

Now, let’s see how you would use an SEO tool. Let’s say another competitor is Heepsy.

  • Add their website address in Ahrefs and start looking at their backlinks.
  • Select the type of link you want to research.  In-content and dofollow links are best because they render the most SEO juice.
  • You also need an authoritative website, so establish the domain rating (DR) at a minimum of 50.

Here’s what you can see:

ahrefs search results

You can now:

  • Make a list of websites that link to Heepsy: Consider other topics that might interest these content creators that Heepsy didn’t include. Create content assets around these topics.
  • See their most linked-to content: Click on this content to understand their main keyword’s difficulty. Pick the content with the easiest keywords, also known as low-hanging fruit, because they’re so easy to go after. Create better content than your competitors, targeting these primary keywords. For example, you can add more info, better visuals, embed videos, etc.

As you scroll through Heepsy’s backlink profile, you notice this topic:

heepsy in ahrefs

Experience tells you that “top dance influencers in India” is a long-tail keyword with good chances of being low-competition.

Let’s check:

ahrefs search results 2

Now, you may not want to address this niche. So, focus on the larger topic, “dance influencers.” Ahrefs shows this is also an easy topic to target, with good traffic potential and global volume.

You even have other keyword ideas if you look at matching terms and topics your audience also searches. And you even get a list of additional keywords your competitors rank for, such as “TikTok dances.”

dance influencers search result

Start Building Your Editorial Links Today

This guide explains why editorial links boost your online presence and skyrocket your organic and referral traffic.

However, you need to incorporate editorial links wisely in your link-building strategy.

And the best strategy is data-driven and results-oriented.

That means you need good tools and solid research. Use the techniques we’ve explained above without jumping any steps.

It may take time and resources, but you’ll get effective results.

But if you want faster and more effective results without wasting your resources, schedule a free strategy meeting with Blue Things. We’ll discuss your needs and outline a solid plan that gets you exactly what you need.

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