How to Use Link Insertions for SEO: A Complete Guide

How to Use Link Insertions for SEO: A Complete Guide
Do not index
Do not index
Link-building doesn’t always need fresh content.
Sometimes you can build quality links without writing a guest post or creating a linkable asset.
In this post, we’ll explore link insertions – a link-building technique that lets you do just that. We’ll tell you why it’s worth your time and show you how to:
  1. Find the right prospects
  1. Negotiate a link insertion
  1. Secure a link(with and without outreach)
  1. Ensure that you’re building ethical links
But first, let’s walk you through some basics.
Link insertions (a.k.a. niche edits) involve building links to your site from another relevant site’s existing content. Essentially, it’s asking a website to insert your link contextually and naturally within its content, without creating anything(like a guest post).
Note that some link insertions require contextual edits for organic link placement. That said, they still take much less effort than content-intensive endeavors like guest posting or the Skyscraper Technique.
Here’s an example of a link insertion:
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The above link is on a page about remote work productivity.  It leads to a blog on using project management tools for decision-making.
As evident, this link is contextually relevant(learn more relevance here). What adds further to its value is that the domains involved are in similar niches – making this a huge win for the linked resource.
Before we get into the specifics, let’s answer a critical question: Do link insertions even work?
To find out, let's look at a website that heavily relied on them:
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The website above leveraged Smartlinks for link insertions. They opted for steady backlink growth and witnessed a staggering rise in organic traffic.
To put things into perspective, they quadrupled their organic visitors while adding only 700 links to their backlink tally.
Here’s another website that used Smartlinks for link insertions:
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This website built more than 700 links over six months, doubling its organic traffic as a result.
Now that you know how effective link insertions are, let's explore how to obtain them.
There are three ways to get link insertions for your site:
  • Build them on your own
  • Build them via a tool
  • Outsource them to an agency
Let's explore these approaches in more detail.
To obtain link insertions on your own you’ll need:
  • A paid SEO tool or a free website analyzer like this(we recommend the former for detailed analysis)
  • Dedicated resources (or enough time) for outreach, follow-ups, and tracking requests (you can also use one of these tools).
Once you have these prerequisites in place, follow these steps to secure a link:
Step #1: Find Target Websites
The first step is to identify some relevant prospects.
You can start by popping the following search operators in Google:
  • inurl:blog intext: + “your target keyword”
  • intitle:+ "your target keyword"
Here’s what you can expect in terms of results:
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We suggest you make a list of all the articles you’d like to target. Then, plug them into the site analyzer or an SEO tool.
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Both will show you key link-building metrics like domain and page strength and monthly organic traffic. However, an SEO tool will give you more insights into a page’s:
  • Organic traffic trends
  • The quality of its referring domains
  • Its top anchor text
Using this data, you could avoid link schemes like this:
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Note the sudden shift in backlinks. Something like this could attract a penalty or manual action from Google.
Step #2: Do Outreach
Outreach is where you pitch your site(or page) to another website for link insertion. There are two ways to execute it:
a) Using the Shotgun Approach: You send a generic email to everyone working for a site, requesting a backlink.
b) Using the Sniper Approach: You send a personalized email to a content marketer or SEO, asking for a link.
We've found the Sniper Approach to be especially helpful – so we’ll only focus on it.
To get started, you’ll need to identify a POC(or point of contact). It can be a writer, content marketer, or SEO working full-time with a site.
To locate their details, check out their LinkedIn account or their author bio on the website. Once you find their contact information, customize and send them this message.
Subject Line: 🚀 Content collaboration with [your domain name]
Hey 👋 [name],
I was looking for resources on [topic] when I came across your great post [title of their blog].
I found it to be especially helpful. [Explain what you liked about it]
I recently put together a post on [similar topic]: [URL of your page]
It [2-3 lines about your post].
If you want, you can add it to the [section name] section of your post.
Either way, keep up the awesome work 🙂
[Your signature]
Step #3: Negotiate a Link Insertion
Most websites will ask you to pay for link insertions. This is generally fine, but make sure you negotiate to get a fair deal.
Now, there are a few ways to do this. You can either propose a link exchange(“You link to me, and I’ll link to you”) or follow SEO expert Matt Diggity’s approach where you:
  1. Pitch a guest post via email
  1. Ask how much it would cost in the first line
  1. Once you get a price, say it’s too expensive
  1. Request a link insertion for half this price
Watch this video to learn more:
Video preview
These tactics can lower your link insertion costs. However, if they’re still too prohibitive, you may want to consider the following approach.
We understand that not everyone has the budget, time, or resources to implement link insertions.
That’s why we recommend using link-building tools like Smartlinks – that find relevant opportunities for your site and convert them with a single click!
Let’s take a look at how it works:
  • You sign up for Smartlinks(for free) and upload your content.
  • The system fetches relevant opportunities for your site, which you filter as per your DR, Traffic, Spam Score, and content type preferences.
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  • Once you’ve selected some prospects, you send a link request to them using the check mark on the right
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  • If a target website agrees to your request, the system deducts Karma Points from your account. Conversely, if you give a link to another site, the system adds Karma Points to your account.
And that’s how Smartlinks delivers a swift and scalable solution for link insertions.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, sign up for Smartlinks.
P.S.: Smartlinks also has a link-building community that hosts well-known brands like Mailmodo, Narrato, Bettermode, and Writesonic and shares regular marketing and SEO insights. To learn more about it, visit this page.
Another way to get link insertions is to hire an agency. This approach works best when a service provides:
  • A replacement guarantee for lost backlinks
  • Regular reporting with a live dashboard
  • Customized strategy tailored to your specific goals
  • A curated inventory of real websites with decent organic traffic(preferably over 1k/month)
To get you started, we’ve curated a list of the best link-building services here.
P.S: Smartlinks also offers a personalized link-building service for SaaS websites. You can learn more about it here.
When placing links on other websites, ensure you take the following into account:
  • Target pages with higher organic traffic: Prioritize pages that receive at least 1K organic traffic each month. Remember, more organic visitors mean more referral traffic(traffic from backlinks) to your pages.
  • Avoid excessive reciprocal linking: Instead of payment, some websites may propose a link exchange as a condition for link insertion. If you accept this, keep the number of reciprocal links to a minimum to avoid getting penalized by Google.
  • Avoid anchor text optimization: Back in the day, sites would over-optimize anchor text - the clickable words in a link - to target specific keywords. For example, linking to a site hundreds of times with the anchor text "discount shoes." Following Google’s Penguin update, such optimizations can lead to a penalty or manual action.
  • Try different link-building strategies: If you rely too heavily on one tactic, you might invite Google’s scrutiny for building unnatural links. To avoid this, you should combine different tactics while striving for a robust link profile.

Next Steps

Now that you know how to implement link insertions, take a look at some other link-building tactics.
Or learn how to leverage your existing links with our tiered link-building guide.
For other questions, feel free to connect with us on LinkedIn.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Yes. As long as you follow the guidelines around quality, relevance, anchor text optimization, and link diversity, you should be fine.
The time it takes to see results from a link insertion depends on various factors, like:
  • Backlink quality
  • A site’s topical authority
  • Content quality
  • On-page optimization
Under ideal conditions, you should see results(increase in organic traffic and rankings) within 1-3 months.  However, if your site needs work, it may take months to see improvements.
Ideally, your link placements should remain intact for at least 12 months. In case they’re removed during this period, request a refund(if it’s a paid link) or replacement with another equally good opportunity.

Written by

 Divya Mathur
Divya Mathur

Senior Content marketer at and Passionate about B2B SaaS and Artificial Intelligence. I’ve been in the content space for over 6 years and have first-hand experience in how On-Page and Off-Page SEO affect a site's traffic. These articles enable me to share my learnings and help you achieve better search results.