Having editorial links appear is like hitting the jackpot for your SEO strategy. Not only does it often mean you’re getting strong links that boost your backlink profile, but it means your content is being exposed in front of a broader audience.

Plus, search engines highly appreciate editorial links, because they tend to be great quality, are highly relevant and are natural.

How many links can you get like this, and is there a natural, passive way to acquire them? The answer is an absolute yes.

While editorial links can be challenging to acquire, we’re here to explain the link-building strategies that can get you these high-quality links for your site.

Let’s dive in and uncover the secrets of how you can make your website shine!

What Are Editorial Links?

An editorial link is a backlink that a website receives naturally from another domain without actively having to ask for; these links are also called ‘earned’ links because they come through high-quality content and relevance to the linking site’s audience.

The more original, research-backed, and well-written your content is, the more link-worthy it becomes; this is because a site owner can identify good content and will only voluntarily add a link when it adds value to their page, and is something they feel helps their audience in that instance.

Unlike backlinks you receive from guest posts or for SEO purposes, an editorial link is not requested, and whether or not a publication mentions you depends on the quality of your content.

Editorial links are effective in helping your website and business grow because they come from authoritative sites with exceptional metrics and traffic.

Here’s an example of an editorial link on a Hubspot article:

Tool roundups are also a prime example of editorial links, as writers tend to research to see what the best, or most popular options are, before including it in the roundup:

How Acquired Links Differ From Editorial Links?

Acquired links are backlinks you actively ask other websites to place – it could be via a trade, or other value propositions like payment or free product, but you can acquire links for free. Unlike editorial links, this means they haven’t been acquired organically.

Acquiring links requires strategizing and creating outreach campaigns to connect with other sites via email or social media. While high-quality editorial links come naturally, acquired links are a proactive effort to get links to your content, product/service pages or homepage.

In a nutshell, the proactive link building process involves finding high-quality, relevant sites and the correct contacts and approaching them with your backlink. Your first point of communication determines whether or not the website will include your link, so you have to explain what makes your link valuable and how it will benefit their audience, or the value proposition you can give them in exchange for inserting your link – such as a guest article contribution, reciprocal social shares or something else.

Common tactics for acquiring links are guest posts, replacing broken links, link exchanges, resource page link building, HARO, and more. Actively acquiring has its benefits but some link acquisition techniques are risky –  so make sure you use sustainable, ethical practices that keep your website out of harm’s way.

5 Benefits of Editorial Links

Backlinks act as a vote of confidence for your website, especially when they come from top publications. This convinces search engines about the quality, relevance, and credibility of your content.

While it’s evident that an editorial link holds excellent SEO value, there are many more benefits to having it. Here are the top five:

Get Coverage From High-Quality Publications

The big shots in the publication industry – The Guardian, BBC, New York Times, Daily Mail, etc., rarely engage with websites that approach them for link building purposes. Similarly, some local publications have a high enough editorial standard, making it challenging to get backlinks from them using the usual link building techniques. Thus, one of the only ways to receive coverage from such large sites is through editorial link building.

Plus, even aside from top tier media, you will have some large publications or blogs in your own sector, who create a lot of content. Since they’re always creating content, they tend to always be linking to other useful pieces as well, to add more depth. So that’s where data-driven studies, useful tools/calculators, interactive content, or a coined term that you created – are instrumental in getting you quality links passively. 

For example, Brian Dean’s piece on the ‘skyscraper technique’ is practically an institution in our industry. And to date, it has over 2,000 referring domains, to that page alone. 

From those, it has 28 unique, dofollow referring domains with a DR of 90+ – many of those being the most well known brands in the marketing industry.

Some may have been acquired rather than earned, but because of the sheer value of the piece, its highly likely most of them were gained naturally.

Lowers the Risk of a Google Penalty

Google search rankings are no walk in the park. Search engine algorithms have specific guidelines to determine whether a link placement is natural or spammy. As a result, Google penalizes low-quality links that use black-hat techniques like PBNs, or if there is an abundance of highly unnatural link farm backlinks. 

On the other hand, editorial links are highly favored by Google  – because the links are highly likely to be relevant, on reputable sites, and have high contextual relevance on the articles they’re being placed on.

Of course, that doesn’t mean proactively securing links is bad, it’s just that if you have ways of securing good quality editorial links consistently, they’ll generally always be safe, and are unlikely to have an unnatural pattern. The diversity also means you have a nice natural mixture of link types, anchor types and it’ll give you a more natural nofollow:dofollow link ratio.

Helps Build Relationships

We know there is usually no direct communication exchange when an editorial link goes live. However, it can still be a gateway to building relationships with influential publications, bloggers, editors, influencers, and any notable business or professional in your industry. Similarly, if you use editorial link-building techniques and get a backlink, you can leverage this connection to create a long-term relationship that benefits both parties. By doing so, you’ll eventually build a strong network of reputable connections.

You never know the connections that you’ll make when people find your product, or content useful. A bit like this example below, where I linked to a tool in one of my guest articles (genuinely because I found it useful) and I ended up talking to their CEO:

Improves Organic Rankings

As we said, one of the significant benefits of editorial links is their significance in improving your website’s SEO value. It’s a game of quality over quantity, so having fewer but higher quality editorial backlinks has a more positive impact than an abundance of low-quality links. 

Plus, relevant links from authoritative websites, at a consistent link velocity will boost your overall authority, and further increase your rankings. 

Here’s a client that was producing high quality content at scale, primarily for a fitness audience. The content was either about exercise technique, or sports news and competition results. The constant flow of editorial links was part of the reason they doubled their organic traffic growth. To help visualize authority growth, this raised their DR from 67 to 72, in the space of a year.

Increases Traffic

Increased traffic is intertwined with increased rankings; higher rankings mean your content is visible to more search engine users, which directs organic traffic to your website.

On top of that, if your content is getting in front of the right “linkers”, it heightens the chance of getting editorial links placed on just the right high-authority and/or highly-relevant websites, who will click through and read your content. 

So you’ll also start to benefit from referral/direct traffic.

Looking to reap the benefits of editorial links for your website but don’t know where to start? TLG has you covered with the strategies to attract these links correctly –  so you can leave a lasting impression in your industry.

8 Easy Ways To Get Editorial Links

As discussed above, editorial links do come naturally, but rather than wait and pray for them to appear, there are things you can put in place to make them happen. 

It’s going to take some elbow grease, a few mistakes, some learning, and a lot of strategizing – but it’ll  be worth it in the end.

So, how do you get these high-authority sites to send editorial backlinks to your website? Let’s find out.

1. Valuable Content

Creating link-worthy content that adds value to readers, is one of the most crucial way to attract links, especially from larger publications. The content must be your “own;” it should be interesting, factually accurate, and unique. 

Apart from just writing good content, you can create linkable assets packed with information, such as original research, data-driven case studies, statistics roundup, infographics, tools, calculators, etc. This way, when someone uses the information you provide (often a writer, journalist or editor) they will include it as a reference on their website.

Another factor to consider is creating evergreen content. This means it should stay fresh and relevant for a long time after its publication date, which means it will consistently generate backlinks over the years because readers can still benefit from it.

A typical example is a How-To Guide or even a Tutorial on learning a specific skill, such as knitting or changing a light bulb.

Here’s an example of a statistics page from SproutSocial.

While the keyword doesn’t get a huge amount of search volume, it is picked up a lot of referring domains, as shown below.

2. PR Backlinks

Everyone knows that public relations are crucial to growing a business and brand awareness. They also play a massive role in improving online visibility and search engine rankings. While it can be tricky to find newsworthy, attention-grabbing stories, creating press releases is an established method for media coverage and generating backlinks.

One technique for earning a link to renowned publications is to issue a press release about new products or updates to existing products. For example, when Nike or Adidas releases a new pair of sports shoes, it’s the talk of the town on tons of sports industry websites, gaining mass press coverage.

Similarly, doing something worth reporting with your brand can bring you media coverage—a trend, challenge, or even a joke product. When coming up with ideas, don’t just choose randomly; consider what your target publications cover on their websites. The closer your news is to the type of content they discuss, the more it’ll appeal to their audience.

Here’s an example from FinanceBuzz, where they wanted to hire someone to help them create a breakup song playlist. They ran a press release, and this helped them secure hundreds of pieces of coverage.

3. Leverage Industry Relationships

Another way to attract more editorial links is to work with your existing network to build relationships with editors,journalists or influencers within your niche. This can be as simple as following them on social media and positively commenting on their recent article.

Share the content you find interesting to maintain rapport with these professionals. Acknowledging their expertise showcases your awareness of the subject, which means they will see you as a reliable and knowledgeable source of information.

You can leverage this bond to reach out to them and present how they can use your content or opinion to support theirs. You can also suggest collaborative projects, guest posts, interviews, etc – but this is always secondary to the relationship. Once you have the relationship established, this will lead to you naturally being asked to contribute soundbites, or being linked to, like this example below.

4. Become A Source

If you’re an expert in your field or have years of experience, you’ve gained enough knowledge to share your advice with others; this means you can become a source for journalists and bloggers to write about.

You’ll have to start by building relationships with industry experts and reporters and sharing relevant expertise that can add to their stories or articles, if not improve. This way, they will quote you as the authority source for that information, bringing massive benefits to your website as well as to you. Similarly, you can share industry-relevant opinion pieces with publications, and if your point of view stands out, they’ll cite your work.

You can connect with journalists or bloggers through services like Connectively (formerly known as HARO), Featured or Qwoted. You can browse through these opportunities and reply to the relevant ones with your pitch. If the journalist likes your story, they will feature it on their website.

Keeping up with such journalists on social media, especially Twitter, Facebook groups, Slack communities, and other niche-based communities, is also a way of accelerating the growth of this network.

5. Content Promotion

While it may be an off-page SEO strategy, content promotion is a great tactic that often goes unnoticed. In simple words, the process of content distribution using paid or unpaid methods is content promotion.

Paid ads, digital PR, email marketing, social media, are examples of the channels used to promote content. However, it’s important to understand that for this technique to actually show results, you must have link-worthy content to begin with. Once you have that and have a proof-of-content, you can just set things in place, waiting for it to gain traction.

While your central aim is to have your content reach as many readers as possible, you may also receive editorial backlinks when other professionals that come across or learn from your content. That’s why promoting content is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy, not only sharing but also spreading awareness about your brand’s offerings.

For example, Harvard Business Review sometimes run Google Ads, when they want to push specific content, or sections of their site. This will get it in front of the right audience, but probably the right “linkers” as well.

6. Reference Other Websites

What better way to gain someone’s trust than to show them you appreciate their content? So, if you still need to earn an editorial link from a reputed publication, start by mentioning them yourself. Whether it’s on social media or their websites, use them as a reference to gain their trust.

After you’ve included them as your resource, email them to inform them that you have references to their content. Remember to thank them for sharing the information online. If you’re a genuine business and have some clout in the industry, these companies will likely reply positively. They can possibly share your article on their website or social media.

While this strategy may only garner a few editorial inks right off the bat, over the long term, it helps you build trust and improves your brand awareness. Plus, you’ve already published some content that references them, and once it’s on their radar, they’re more likely to be interested in your future posts and happily return the favor or pass your content onto other people.

7. Unlinked Mentions and Broken Links

When a website mentions your business or content but doesn’t link back to your website, it’s considered an unlinked mention. Fortunately, this is an excellent opportunity to earn a perfect natural backlick because they’ve technically already mentioned you; all you have to do is ask them to turn it into a link.

You can use tools like Google Alerts, Mention, or Brand24 to monitor brand mentions online and identify unlinked ones. Once you identify these opportunities, contact the editor and request that they include your link, which they will mostly agree with.

Similarly, you can also use broken links on high-quality publications to earn an editorial link. Start by identifying expired or suspended domains within your niche, and remember, the older, the better. You can use Ahrefs broken backlink checker to find the most powerful links pointing to the expired site.

Once you find good quality sources with outdated or broken links from the non-functional website, contact them to let them know they have a dead link and offer your own content as a replacement. Since broken links aren’t ideal for a healthy backlink profile, you’re also doing the publication a favor by letting them know.

Don’t forget to look at your own link profile for broken links as well, as you may have naturally picked up links, which you’ve lost because you’ve restructured your site or pruned content. 

8. Analyze Competitor Editorial Links

While analyzing your competitors’ editorial links may be an obvious method, it’s certainly overlooked when strategizing. You can monitor whenever your competitor’s websites receive a backlink and scout that opportunity to get a link to your site as well.

First, identify your competitors and study their link building patterns or what they’re doing with their online presence. You can do this by conducting a simple Google search with the top relevant keywords you wish to target. Pick websites with your competitor’s editorial listings on the first page of Google’s search results so you know you’re targeting high-ranking sites.

Once you have the list, identify the sites with high-quality editorial links pointing to your competitors’ sites and make sure they are within your industry. You can also conduct backlink analysis on competitor websites to check their referring domains and gain insight from their best links. You can also use that as inspiration for ideas or potential sources for an editorial link.

Monitoring and Maintaining Your Editorial Links

Monitoring your backlink profile is extremely important, even for editorial backlinks. The internet is a vast space where information constantly changes—new articles replace old ones, modern websites update, pages or links are removed, etc.

If you’re investing time in generating editorial links, keeping track is smart so you don’t lose them when the referring domains change. Monitoring helps maintain a healthy backlink profile and ensures your earning links stay intact.

Plus, a good link profile also builds your online reputation because broken or poor links can frustrate users. It also makes your website appear unprofessional and negatively impacts your SEO strategies.

We know it’s impossible to monitor every single link, and that’s why you can use several tools to help ease the process:

  • Ahrefs: It’s an all-inclusive SEO tool with several notable features, such as backlink analysis for building links. This feature allows you to see new, removed, or broken links in your profile and those of your competitors.
  • SE Ranking: This all-in-one SEO software has a highly effective backlink monitoring function, which makes tracking these links easier because SE Ranking notifies you immediately via email when there are any changes to your backlinks. It’s also a fairly cost effective solution compared to other SEO tools.
  • Moz: Similar to Ahrefs, Moz’s Link Explorer feature offers tons of backlink-related insights, including the links that are lost or gained over time. You can also check the link’s follow-to-nofollow ratio, anchors, and authority.
  • Majestic: With its in-house metrics like Trust Flow and Citation Flow, Majestic gives you a quick insight into the quality of your links and how they affect your profile. You can monitor the metrics like topical trust flow to understand your progress and the overall makeup of your link profile.
  • Monitor Backlinks: This tracking software does exactly what its name says and more. It allows you to track links to your site, create disavow files for harmful links, and measure your link building efforts through detailed reports.

Once you have these tools by your side, addressing broken or lost backlinks becomes much easier because you can take a tangible step to fix them. Schedule regular check-ins with these tools at least once a month so you’re aware earlier instead of months later.

If you need a link, contact the webmaster and bring this to their attention. Write a polite email addressing the issue, show them the referring domain and your missing link, and request that they rectify it.

If the website owner has feedback on why they removed your link, let them know if you’re willing to make changes so they can accommodate it again. Suppose you have changed the URL of your own content; you can use a 301 redirect to transfer the link equity from the old URL to the updated one (making sure it’s a topical match.)

Ultimately, it’s about maintaining cordial relationships with website owners because if they trust you, the process automatically becomes smoother, and they’re likely to fix your issues quickly, especially for editorial links.

Wrapping Up

One of the most prominent votes of trust a website can receive are editorial links; they help your site rank higher among relevant search results and vouch for your credibility. As a result, more people trust your information and use it as a point for reference.

The more editorial links you can acquire, the better for your site. That’s why it’s important to constantly update your content, keep learning, and create new strategies for attracting links.

But even if you are passively acquiring links, it definitely pays to be proactively getting them as well. That’s where TLG can help.

At TLG, we use best industry practices to design and execute top-notch link building campaigns that not only land high-quality links but also build trust and relationships for your business.