What Are Curated Links? (+ How They Help SEO)
Link building is one of the most important activities in SEO, with the power to your site from the depths of Google’s search results pages (SERPs) to the first page if done correctly.
However, individual backlinks can vary dramatically in how much they help you meet your site ranks.
Curated links are a type of backlink that is inserted into existing content, and that can potentially drive results faster and more easily than other types of backlinks. Let’s get into what curated links are, why they matter for SEO and best practices for securing them for your site.
What Are Curated Links?
Curated links, also sometimes referred to as niche edits, are backlinks that are retroactively inserted into preexisting content. They serve to refresh the content, updating it with relevant links that should enhance the experience of the reader, while also having the potential to deliver serious results for the target of the backlink.
Curated links are almost always contextual links, meaning they are inserted into the body of the content rather than, say, in the byline or elsewhere on the page. Like all backlinks, they should be appropriate and related to the niche of the existing content.
The most common type of content in which curated links are placed in blog posts. The linking websites can periodically improve their existing content with better information and new, relevant curated links, while the target website – the one receiving the backlink – gets the benefit of being linked to a page that is already indexed by Google.
However, blog posts aren’t the only kind of content where curated links can e used. They can be added to just about any other content on the web, including blurbs, product reviews, news articles, academic papers, and more.
Curated Links and SEO
The major selling point of curated links, as compared to other kinds of backlinks, is that they are contextually placed in content that has “aged”.
What does aged mean in SEO-speak? It doesn’t mean the content is old and therefore irrelevant. Rather, it means that precisely because the content has been around for a while, it has already been indexed by Google’s crawlers. That means that any backlinks appearing on that page should be noticed by Google quickly, driving faster SEO results.
In other words, “aged” is a good thing when it comes to choosing a post for curated links, particularly if the post itself has a high SERP ranking.
When it comes to building a backlink profile that can help your website be easily discovered in search results, the quality of backlinks is extremely important. It’s not that quantity doesn’t matter at all: more high-quality backlinks are certainly better than fewer high-quality backlinks. However, having a huge number of low-quality backlinks will never enable your website to catch up to those with quality links.
The beauty of curated links is that, when used correctly, they can enhance your backlink profile with high-quality links that start driving results fast.
A good way to illustrate this is by comparing a curated link to another popular type of backlink, the guest post link.
With a guest post link, you might be able to place a contextual backlink to some content on your website in the body of your post. However, even if the website on which you’re posting has high domain authority (DA), the page of the guest post doesn’t have any internal page authority (PA) yet. It can take some time for Google to index the page and for that page to start passing link juice through the backlink to your website.
Conversely, a curated link placed in an existing blog post that is already resonating with Google can start passing link juice and improving your PageRank right away. Plus, no new content has to be written in order to place this kind of link.
That’s not to say that guest posts can’t be great for your SEO, but rather to illustrate the role that curated links can play in your overall strategy.
Benefits of Curated Links
Curated links, when used correctly, have some considerable benefits over other types of more labor-intensive link building. Here are some reasons to start securing curated links for your website:
- They increase your authority and relevance – High-quality backlinks work by passing link juice to your website and to the specific page being linked to, slowly but surely enhancing the reputation of your website from the perspective of Google’s algorithm. Curated links are great for this because you can choose to be linked in a piece of content that is already performing well, enhancing the authority and relevance that will be passed on to you.
- They don’t require content creation – The beauty of curated links is that nobody actually has to sit down and write a fresh piece of content. Instead, content is refreshed or updated by the insertion of curated links. Small edits can certainly be made to enhance the flow of the piece and to make the curated link fit neatly into the context, but no major rewrites are required.
- They deliver results faster – Normally, when new content is created, there is some downtime between when the content goes up and when Google indexes it. Further, the page needs to develop some page authority (PA) of its own to start passing link juice to the backlinks targets. With curated links, results can sometimes be perceived in just a few days, making this type of link a rare driver of fast results in the slow world of SEO which generally demands a lot of fo patience.
- They’re easy for website owners to add – It only takes a few clicks for a website owner to add some curated links to an existing piece of content, making this a smaller ask than other link-building exercises
- It’s cheaper – Thanks to the fact that no new blog posts have to be written for curated links, since existing posts are used, obtaining them tends to be relatively inexpensive.
- You can vet the quality in advance – Obtaining backlinks is never a game of total certainty because nobody can know for sure how a new piece of content containing backlinks will perform and how much page juice it will pass through its backlinks. With curated links, you can have a pretty good idea based on how the existing page performs before the curated links are added.
Curated Links Best Practices
While curated links can clearly drive great SEO results for your website, there are some important practices to keep in mind when you go about securing curated links. Like all backlinking, it’s important to build them correctly to avoid being penalized by Google.
Here are our most important tips for using curated links.
Only get links in relevant blog posts
It doesn’t matter how highly a page ranks if it isn’t relevant to your niche. Getting curated links on pages that are in an unrelated category can seem unnatural and may even hurt your search engine rankings. The general rules of backlinking apply to curated links as well, and this is one of the rules of Backlinking 101.
Mix up your link text
If all of your curated links use the exact same link text (that’s the actual text that is hyperlinked in the content), it can look suspicious to Google. Links should appear natural, and if tens of hundreds of people were naturally talking about your business or content online, how likely is it that they would all use identical link text when linking to you?
Varied, contextual, and descriptive link text can help your curated links deliver better results.
Place links contextually
A curated link that doesn’t appear in the body of a piece of content in a place where it makes logical sense and enhances the experience of the reader isn’t going to do much for your rankings.
Website relevance matters
We mentioned that you should only get curated links in blog posts that are relevant to your niche, but it’s also worth noting the website. A relevant blog post on an unrelated website will look suspicious, and generally suggests that the website is engaging in shady practices rather than trying to deliver real value to its audience.
Try outreach to get started
A time-honored method to start obtaining your first curated links is through outreach. Basically, this entails asking website owners to update their existing content with curated links to your site. Of course, few people will do this for you just because.
You can increase your chances by identifying broken links in their existing content and suggesting your content as a replacement, or sending them some great recent content of yours and letting them know the audience of a certain blog post might appreciate it.
Outreach takes time, but it can deliver results in the long run. Alternatively, you can try our next suggestion
Hire an agency
Reputable agencies will likely have existing relationships with high-DA websites where curated links can be placed. If you don’t have time to spend hours on end trying to connect with relevant websites without any kind of warm introduction, this can be a much more efficient way to get more curated links.
Avoid pages with too many outbound links
Sometimes, you might come across a great, highly relevant piece of content on a website in your niche, but it’s already chock-full of links. In these situations, you’re better off avoiding getting a curated link on that page.
While there isn’t a hard and fast rule for what “too many” links are, it’s better to err on the side of caution. If the link placement seems over the top and unnatural to you, it will probably seem that way to Google as well.
Get curated links on a variety of websites
If you find an awesome website and manage to build a relationship with them, it can be tempting to get as many curated links on there as possible. However, a variety of backlink sources is always more favorable from an SEO perspective, so try to focus your efforts across multiple sites.
Use a variety of backlink techniques
You might be saying to yourself: curated links are cheaper and work faster and I don’t have to write any content? Great! Why would I bother with any other kind of backlink?
Well, it’s never that simple in SEO. Curated links should be a part of your strategy, but your backlink profile should be widely varied. Other kinds of links can also be tremendously beneficial, and focusing on just one kind can dilute the effectiveness of your SEO campaign.
Curated links, backlinks placed directly into existing content that is already performing well, can help you climb the SERPs faster. Using them is like hitching yourself to a train that is already moving in the direction you want. Using them can be part of an effective overall SEO campaign.
Our SEO packages at Loganix can help you implement an SEO strategy that delivers real results for your business. From traditional SEO to local SEO, we can make it easier for your customers to find you.