One of the hottest things in link building the past year or so is editorial links. If you’ve done any type of research on white hat links or the best types of links for your site, then you’ve definitely seen these mentioned. I try to get these for my sites when I can and I’ve bought them from a few different places. If you’re new to editorial links or just looking for tips on picking up a few of these, I’ll share what I know about them and why they might not give you that rankings boost you’re expecting.
What Are They?
When you see an SEO talking about editorial links, what they are referring to are links in big authority publications online. This includes sites like Huffington Post, Forbes, BBC, Engadget, etc. Basically, links in legit news sources that don’t traditionally link out to niche sites, obscure local business sites, or small time affiliate sites. Since it’s so rare for sites like that to link out to sites most of us make, getting backlinks from one of these authority sites is pretty much the holy grail of link building.
Or is it?
Can You Buy These Links?
One thing that all these “editorial” sites have in common is that they have a team of contributors who create the content for the sites. And at some point, people realized that they could make some cash by charging for access to those sites. So, you have some writers who contribute to sites who started charging for link inclusion. And, you had some SEOs who are talented enough writers that they were able to gain access as a contributor – they did so with the intention of either linking to their own sites (like I did) or as a way to make money charging other SEOs for links.
There are entire SEO agencies who specialize in getting these types of links for you because they have worked out deals with contributors across these sites. The first three that I can think of who offer this as a service are The Hoth, SerpLogic, and Loganix, but there are loads of others out there doing it as well.
You can also pop into pretty much any Facebook group where SEO services are sold and find individual providers selling these links. Fiverr and sites like it also offer links on these sites.
When I was first testing out editorial links, the cost would run you anywhere from $500 to a few thousand bucks for a single links. In fact, I was paying over $1000 regularly for links like this to test out on some of my sites. Obviously, those are insane prices, right? But that’s what happens when the supply is much lower than the demand. And the fact at the time was that those links gave you some nice movement in the SERPs, so it was a decent enough investment for me to do it more than once.
The last time that I bought any editorial links was at the start of this year. Why did I stop buying them? Cause the boost that I was previously getting from them was no longer there. Like all good things that become super popular in SEO, Google started cracking down on the value these types of links offered. It was only a matter of time, and I’d heard the rumors that Google was identifying contributors who were very prolific and linked out to an abnormal number of random sites. Basically, if you get a link from one of those contributors now, that link is basically devalued and gives you no real movement. And as a result of this crackdown, those prices have really dropped.
But here’s the thing – you can still get these links and get real movement in the SERPs from them. But not when buying those links.
Lightning Rank Editorial Links Review
The first editorial links that I ever bought were actually through Jon Haver this past October. He now offers it as a service via Lightning Rank, but at the time he was testing offering the service and sent out the opportunity via his email newsletter. I was actually on a train in Italy when the email hit my inbox, but I asked him if he would hold two spots for me since the wifi access was spotty for me at the time. Thankfully, he graciously agreed and I paid him the $900 once I got to my hotel in Venice.
I ended up scoring two awesome links from him at a price that I considered a steal, considering that I got the links in editor-approved articles. Honestly, I should have spent less money on gelato on that trip and bought more links from when I got home.
I got exactly what I paid for and definitely had a great experience. Assuming that everything with the service remains the same to this date, then I would recommend it with the following caveat – choose your link carefully since Google is targeting some sites more than others right now due to lots of people selling links on editorial sites. And ask questions before you order to be sure you know what you’re getting for the money (but this goes for buying any type of link, really).
Loganix Review – My Experience Buying Editorial Links
One of the bigger names in the “editorial links for sale” industry is Loganix. They also sell guest posts, citations, and probably some other stuff that I don’t know about. I’ve placed a couple of orders for editorial links with Loganix, with the most recent being in February of this year. I ordered links from HuffPo, Engadget, local newspapers and other sites and spent a few grand with them on these links.
I bought the links because I have more money than time, which is why all of us buy links instead of doing the manual work to get them, right? When you see my tips below on how to get these links, you’ll see that it can take a hell of a lot of work if you want to go about it the white hat way.
And I think that it is fair to say when you’re ordering “editorial links” from a service or individual seller, that you expect to get links in content that had to be approved by an editor, unless otherwise stated. I mean, last I checked HuffPo is set up where pretty much anyone with a computer can setup a blogger account and start creating posts – posts that may or may not get indexed and don’t carry quite the same weight as a link in a post on the main site that was approved by an editor. Lots of sites are like this – Buzzfeed is another good example.
Anyways, if you have this expectation, and then you get a comment like the one I got below about the stripping out of links, then it just backs up that expectation, right?
So, wouldn’t you be surprised when the order is completed and you see that your HuffPo links that you paid for are actually on one of those freebie blogger accounts that anyone (including YOU and me) could sign up for, instead of in an article that is editor-approved. And yeah, those freebie accounts are easy to identify cause the “article” has something like this on the sidebar on HuffPo:
Yeah, you’d probably be pretty pissed off about it, like I was. I voiced my displeasure about this switcheroo with Loganix and was met with the following response:
So, basically, after telling me that someone (i.e. an editor) was stripping the links on HuffPo Australia, they then turn around tell me that the HuffPo links they offer are pretty much always on the freebie contributor accounts. Awesome.
And when I responded and told them that a few months prior I’d gotten links in legit editor-approved HuffPo articles for less than what they charged me?
Well, that pretty much fell on deaf ears. Just like my concern that one of the links that I paid for was not indexing (not HuffPo, another site).
It’s been about six months and that link I paid them for STILL ISN’T INDEXED – not ideal when you’re linkbuilding for a client, eh?
The truth here is that yes, I should have verified what I was getting for my money. However, I think it is fair to say there was a bit of bait-and-switch here with the proof being the note letting me know that links were getting stripped in the original attempts at HuffPo Australia.
While I have my own portfolio of sites, I regularly work on getting links for other people’s sites and I can tell you have that I have not used the Loganix editorial service since March of this year. I doubt I ever will again, nor does it inspire me to use their other services. I’m sure you can see why. And no, I don’t recommend using their editorial links service for your sites or your client sites.
Please note that I have not used any of their other services and cannot comment on their quality. I can only share my opinions and experience buying editorial links from Loganix.
My Experience Buying Editorial Links From Individual Sellers
I’ve bought a few editorial links from individual sellers in various Facebook groups for SEO services. These are people who mostly secured their own contributor accounts on whatever site they were selling links for, and then just charged for links.
The real attraction of buying links from individual sellers is that you get MUCH cheaper prices. When I was buying links on Lifehack last year, I was getting them for as cheap as $75 per link compared to $300 at Loganix for a link on the same site.
Here’s the catch – those individual sellers were selling multiple link spots in single articles. So, I would pay $75 and end up in an article that linked out to four or five other sites (usually all totally irrelevant to my niche). This was a hell of a deal for the seller making $300+ per article by putting all of us schmucks in the same article – without disclosing this plan to any of us in advance.
I actually bought links from more than one seller and this happened every single time.
I do a lot of testing, which is why I bought these links, but definitely do not do this because these sellers are likely the first target of Google when they came down hard on sites selling these links. I mean, it resulted in Lifehack and Natural News revamping their whole contributor posts process.
How To Get Editorial Links That Work
The cold, hard truth is that you have to get these links now in a natural way for them to work like they should. Sure, there might be a few sellers who have managed to stay off Google’s radar and can still deliver good editorial links. And, there are probably some more niche sites that you can pay for links from that haven’t been abused, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
You can actually still get links from Forbes, HuffPo, Lifehack, etc. that give you a real boost in the SERPs when real “journalists” give you a natural link in an article from one of those sites. In fact, I have recently gotten a natural link from Lifehack (one of the most abused editorial link sites) and it actually gave me a nice little boost up to the #1 position for a few keywords that I’m targeting (I was sitting at #3 before that link appeared).
But, you don’t want to just sit around and wait for someone to maybe link out to your sites, right? Right! You need to be pitching that shit to anyone you can get an email address for that is a relevant match for your site.
If you know your niche well, then you may already be aware of people who write for HuffPo, etc. who are good targets for you to contact. If not, just look to see who is blogging about your topic or the editor for that topic and reach out to them. For instance, if you have a parenting site, then a quick search shows me who the HuffPo parenting editor is right now. If I had an awesome parenting site, then I would search high and low for ways to contact this editor (direct through the site, social media, LinkedIn, etc.).
HARO is another easy way to connect with journalists who can get you a powerful link to your site. I’ve used this with success in the past, but it can be tedious since you have to wade through lots of random calls for contributions, most of which are irrelevant for your niche. I think it took about three months before I landed a quality, niche relevant option for my site. However, I know someone who managed to snag an awesome backlink after watching the calls in HARO requests for only about a week!
The best thing about seeking out your editorial links like this is that it takes a LOT of work. And when something takes a lot of work, you can rest assured that most people won’t take action on it.
Tips For Pitching Your Site For An Editorial Link (and getting it)
If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and put in the work required to gain some quality editorial links via outreach, then you first need to make sure that you have a site worthy of being linked to by those sites.
- Don’t even attempt this if you have a spammy as hell domain like bestdogtoyreviews.com – you should be creating a BRAND with your site, like any respectable company in the market.
- Have a great “About” page on your site and don’t hide behind a shady persona. You don’t have to use your real name, but this needs to look like a legit site with a real person running it.
- Personalize your outreach emails – never send a template email to the journalists. And remember, keep it short and to the point.
- Focus on quality. Your site should have some high quality content, not some terrible content you outsourced for pennies. Yeah, sites like BestProducts are getting linked to with subpar content, but that’s what happens when you’re a big media company who owns the site. You’re probably not a big media company (yet?), so you gotta go the extra mile.
- Be unique. Instead of offering the same content as every other site in your niche, go the extra mile and deliver something unique for the niche. This is what will compel the editorial site journalists to be receptive to including your site in their articles.
- Cite sources. Since you should be trying to get links from informational content, be sure to cite your sources in your content. This shows journalists that you’re pitching a well-researched piece and increases your chances for getting a link from them.
- Make sure you’re pitching to the right person. Most of these sites have section editors, or at least bloggers who focus on certain topics, so pitch to the person who specializes and not the general editor. You’ll get much better results by making sure that your pitch gets to the right person or team.
- Follow pitching directions! If you’re using something like HARO or a general pitching form, then make sure you follow all the directions so that your pitch doesn’t immediately get canned as a result of your failure to follow basic directions.
- Have a site with a good design – this means not the cookie cutter FocusBlog theme like every other affiliate site out there (yes, I am guilty of this sometimes, too!) – have a good logo, nice photos, etc. – and don’t have a site cluttered with ads or affiliate offers.
- Don’t pay for the link! If YOU can buy the link, then so can your competition and that makes the link much less valuable.
- Yes, you can just pitch yourself as the writer! If you’re a talented writer (or have one on staff), then you might want to take the path of least resistance and just pitch yourself as a writer. Yeah, this is basically guest posting but with a MUCH bigger reward, right? Plus, how great would it be for your brand if you can get a recurring gig on a major site in your niche? For instance, if you’re in the fashion/style/beauty niche, then it would be in your best interest if you could get published at PopSugar, right? Of course, this method isn’t for everyone.
- Bonus tip: Hire a PR agency to help your brand get links. This won’t work for every site, and often comes at a premium price tag, but a good PR agency can get your site a lot of links.
The tl;dr here is that you basically need content that is worthy of being linked to by major publications (so, awesome link bait). And then, you need to seek out those linking opportunities with relevant journalists and publications.
I realize that this all sounds rather simple, when the reality is that it is not so simple. That’s why the more things that you can get right, in regards to your site and it’s content, then the better your chances of securing some of those editorial links. Ideally, we’re all writing the most awesome content on the planet that people naturally find and wanna link to. But, that’s not reality, is it? Fortunately, there are a few things you can keep in mind as you create your content that makes it more likely that it will earn the links you most desire.
I think the following characteristics are most likely to get your content linked to when you’re seeking editorial links:
- Non-commercial content (don’t send your ‘top 10 best weed eaters’ post, choose something informational/educational instead)
- Highly useful content
- Super comprehensive content
- Something that sparks an emotion (controversial, entertaining, heartbreaking, etc.)
- Very unique (something never before done in the industry, or a new way of looking at something)
- Something already performing well (good social traction, shared by industry leaders, etc.)
And my biggest tip is to not discount the power and reach of local authorities. It’s not uncommon for local news sites or local magazines to have their website content syndicated on larger sites. So, sometimes you can end up getting two great backlinks to your site – one from the local authority and one from the national authority that syndicates them.
Other suggested reading:
- https://www.semrush.com/blog/how-to-maximize-modern-seo-efforts-without-editorial-links/ (not sure why this article has every item as #1)
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