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What are Editorial Links and Why Do They Matter?

Editorial links are the golden nuggets of backlinks. These are earned links that come from natural mentions by other reputable sites. Unlike sponsored advertising or paid guest posts, editorial links represent genuine votes of trust and authority.

Having a few high-quality editorial links can provide more SEO value than a large number of lower-quality backlinks.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dig deep into understanding exactly what editorial links are, why they should be an important part of your link building strategy, and actionable tips to start landing these coveted backlinks.

What Exactly Are Editorial Links?Editorial Links

An editorial backlink refers to an inbound link that a website earns organically when another website mentions its content and links to it.

For example:

  • A popular finance blog writes an in-depth guide on investing and links to your online stock screener tool as a helpful resource for readers
  • An industry publication interviews your CEO as an expert source and links back to your company website
  • A newspaper columnist references the key insights from a research study published on your site

In a nutshell, editorial links are earned backlinks that come from genuine references and mentions instead of manual outreach efforts.

Some key characteristics of editorial backlinks:

  • They are not requested or paid for by the site receiving the link.
  • The site giving the link voluntarily references the other site’s content without any persuasion.
  • The linking site finds the referenced content genuinely useful for its own readers.

For example, if Forbes interviews your CEO to understand recent shifts in your industry, loves your CEO’s insights, and links back to your company blog to allow readers to learn more – that’s an editorial link.

On the other hand, direct link requests, paid sponsorships, or content partnerships primarily aimed at exchanging links don’t qualify as editorial links.

Essentially, the authenticity and genuineness behind the link defines whether it’s an editorial backlink. The site giving the link does it voluntarily because they find inherent value in your content.

Why Editorial Links Matter for SEOWhat are Editorial Links

Editorial backlinks matter because they bring immense value:

They Indicate Trust and Topical Relevance

In the eyes of search engines like Google, backlinks represent trust and relevance. When you earn editorial links, other reputable sites are essentially vouching for your content quality and expertise on a topic.

This signals to Google that your content provides true value on the topic. And content that follows expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness – gains higher rankings.

So editorial links act as trust endorsements that tell Google: “This content deserves to rank high”.

They Pass Link Juice and Domain Authority

Moreover, backlinks pass along link equity and authority from one website to another. Earning links from authoritative industry resources helps pass their domain authority to your own website. This is key to building DA and rankings over time.

Since editorial links sit higher in the quality spectrum, they pass more weight in strengthening your website’s authority metrics.

Higher Visibility Leads to More High-Quality Links

Better search visibility and traffic numbers also allow you to create better content, products and services – leading to even more high quality backlinks. This creates a positive feedback loop.

Editorial links grab the attention of your audience and industry influencers opening pathways to build relationships and contribute more value.

They Drive Targeted Referral Traffic

Besides search traffic from higher rankings, editorial backlinks also drive referral visitors to your website.

When an authoritative site in your industry links to your content, visitors trust that link and click it since the source has already endorsed your expertise. This brings motivated visitors who are genuinely interested in your niche.

Such visitors have a higher chance of converting into customers, subscribers or evangelists for your brand.

In contrast, other links may drive lower quality traffic out of mere curiosity rather than genuine interest. So editorial links deliver highly qualified traffic.

Difference Between Editorial Links and Manual Outreachwhat is an editorial link

It’s vital to understand the key differences between organic editorial links and manual link building efforts:

Editorial Links

  • Earned organically through value-added content
  • Come from genuine mentions, not requests
  • Often from reputable, high authority sites
  • Indicator of trust and relevance
  • High value for SEO

Manual Outreach Links

  • Acquired through cold outreach and persuasion
  • Sometimes part of paid deals
  • Varying authority levels
  • Motivation may be commercial rather than value
  • Mixed quality and SEO value

While manual link building activities like blogger outreach, broken link building and guest posting definitely have their place in an SEO strategy – the focus should be on earning high-quality editorial links naturally.

These tips can help with manual efforts as well but editorial links should be the primary target.

Now let’s get into proven tactics to start landing these coveted backlinks.

Actionable Tips to Land Editorial Backlinks

1. Create Valuable, Link-Worthy Content

The first step to landing editorial links is producing content that is so useful, engaging or interesting that others naturally want to reference it and link to it.

You want to create content that acts as a magnet for editorial links. Optimize your content for natural linking opportunities:

Offer Extreme Value

  • Create comprehensive guides, detailed reports, studies and surveys
  • Build handy tools, quizzes, assessments, calculators
  • Compile data-driven research content with trends, stats and insights
  • Interview experts to provide unique perspectives

Optimization Best Practices

  • Maintain high-quality standards for content and presentation
  • Craft magnetic headlines and meta descriptions that capture attention
  • Make it easy for others to link to your content with share buttons and quick link shortcuts
  • Promote your content proactively across channels

The purpose is to produce content that adds so much value that your audience can’t help but link to it and recommend it. This content ends up attracting editorial links.

2. Update and Improve Existing Content

Another smart technique is to find outdated yet high-quality evergreen content that has already accumulated several backlinks over time. Then thoroughly update it with more recent information, data, trends and perspectives relevant for today.

Finally, reach out to all the sites that are already linking to the old piece of content, letting them know it’s now updated with a considerate note they might want to link to the refreshed version as it provides far more value for their own readers.

Most publishers appreciate the gesture as it shows you care about providing the best value. And they happily update the links. Plus this opens the door for potential new backlinks when they see the improved quality.

3. Fix Broken Links with Relevant Content

Yet another avenue is to actively hunt for broken links in websites around your industry using backlink analysis tools. Then efficiently map such dead or 404 links to your own high quality, relevant content.

You can then approach the webmasters of sites with broken links, inform them about these non-working links and offer specific pieces of content on your own website as replacements for a better user experience.

Most webmasters appreciate honest help in identifying and fixing broken links rather than trying to push your own content forcibly. When you offer relevant and useful content as the fix, there’s a high chance of earning an editorial link along with gratitude.

4. Produce Linkable Assets Like Calculators and Quizzes

Creating interactive, engaging assets like assessments, quizzes, calculators, productivity tools etc. can attract a surge of high quality editorial links with relatively lower effort compared to producing full-length written guides.

For example, even a simple calculator that lets users estimate costs or productivity gains can become widely used if it solves a genuine pain point. Industry blogs tend to love featuring such practical tools that benefit their own readers.

Assessments and quizzes also tend to spread virally on social media which raises their visibility and leads to natural links. Personality tests, IQ tests and psychological evaluations attract a lot of curious clicks.

The key is to identify types of utilities your audience would genuinely welcome rather than building something no one wants. Craft something special and promotion will become much easier.

5. Guest Post on Niche Authority Sites

One of the most effective ways to earn editorial backlinks is to contribute guest posts to reputable websites related to your industry.

The key here is to pitch guest posting opportunities with websites that:

  • Have high domain authority
  • Publish regularly high-quality long form written content
  • Align closely with your brand and niche
  • Attract a relevant target audience

Make sure to only pitch original, value-adding article ideas rather than blatant guest posts. Actually offer actionable advice, valuable insights or compelling stories. This leads to much higher chances of getting approved and featured.

Once your article goes live on such websites, an editorial link gets added to your website which can tremendously boost your own domain metrics and search visibility.

Over time, having guest author profiles on the top publications related to your niche also builds your brand as a thought leader.

6. Get Featured in Roundups by Content Creators

Another viable way to score editorial backlinks is to actively reach out to bloggers, journalists and content creators that frequently publish roundups and link to multiple websites/resources in a single article.

For example, a productivity blogger may be creating an article on “Top Time Management Tools” and list out 10-15 helpful resources; a marketing blog may do a roundup of “5 Studies That Shaped Digital Advertising in 2022” mentioning research from influential companies.

In such cases, you have opportunities to get your own pieces featured and earn a backlink. Monitor industry publications and identify writers who create resource roundups. Offer them your best content assets and data to include in their upcoming articles.

If the roundup they’re working on aligns well with an infographic, tool or research you’ve published, highlight how it would value-add for their post.

Don’t spam or forcefully pitch irrelevant content. But if you follow this process of monitoring roundups and providing useful recommendations, you can organically earn high quality backlinks this way over time.

7. Monitor and Maintain Your Editorial Links

Investing time, effort and money into content production and promotion to earn high quality editorial links can pay rich dividends for your SEO. But you need to diligently monitor and maintain your links to derive maximum value.

Make sure to:

Keep Checking Link Status: Use backlink tracking tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to monitor links pointing to your domain. Check for any dead links and make a list.

Diagnose Issues: Understand why certain links may be dropping off – whether site architecture changes, shifting content strategies or plain oversight. Identify patterns.

Contact Site Owners: Reach out politely to site owners where your links dropped off. Share details about the broken links causing issues for their own readers. Offer helpful solutions while requesting restoration of original links.

Proactively Communicate: Don’t just appear when you need something fixed. Maintain periodic communication to nurture relationships with creators and publishers referring traffic to you.

Request Notifications: Several tools provide alerts when your links get a sudden surge or abruptly drop off. Use these notifications to stay updated in real-time.

Study Referral Performance: Analyze referral traffic metrics from sites linking to you. This shows you which links drive maximum value in terms of visitors, leads and conversions vs which ones may need pruning.

Securing high-quality backlinks requires immense effort. By monitoring your link profile diligently and maintaining strong relationships, you give your hard-earned editorial links the best chance to power your SEO for the long run.

Wrapping Up

Editorial backlinks represent the highest quality links a website can earn. These are organic backlinks stemming from genuine mentions by other authoritative sites.

Unlike manual outreach and paid links, editorial links are:

  • Earned naturally without requests
  • Given voluntarily by reputable publishers
  • Based on relevance and content quality
  • Free from commercial interests

That’s what makes them such coveted links in SEO.

Key takeaways:

  • Editorial links signal trust, authority and topical relevance to search engines. This results in better rankings.
  • They pass domain authority to amplify your own site’s metrics over time.
  • The additional visibility and traffic allows you to create more quality content and tools – leading to even more high value links.
  • You can organically earn editorial links by creating awesome content assets and promoting them skillfully.
  • Maintaining relationships with publishers helps keep your links active for long term SEO gains.

In conclusion, make earning authoritative editorial backlinks a cornerstone of your overall link building strategy. Keep providing value through content and conversions will follow.

What tips do you have for securing powerful editorial backlinks? I’d love to hear how you go about earning these coveted links!

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