In this article, you will learn everything about link insertion strategy, what it is, how much it cost on average, how you can launch a link insertion campaign as well as the best practices that you should follow in order to maximize your SEO results and avoid Google penalty.
What is a Link Insertion?
Link insertion is a link building strategy that focuses on placing backlinks into already-existing content on a relevant website. Usually, link insertion involves monetary or link exchange rewards and in rare occasions, it could include other beneficial actions, but rarely you’ll find link insertion for free.
Why is a Link Insertion Good Strategy?
As you probably know, backlinks are one of the most important Google ranking signals that directly influence your website ranking for competitive keywords.
And link insertion is one of the very popular link building strategies used by businesses, link building agencies, and bloggers to boost organic traffic by improving their ranking.
And that’s because link insertion can offer some excellent benefits and here are the three most important:
Easy to Do
When it comes to link insertion, it is one of the easiest link building strategies you can apply, as usually it only involves prospect research, outreach, contact finding and negotiating steps which is similar to resource link building, and you don’t need to create any content unlike from guest posting or skyscraper technique.
That’s why link insertion became one of the top choices of lazy link builders. However, it can also be one of the reasons why websites can get penalized. That’s why you should follow link insertion best practices which I’ll show later.
Great Effect on Ranking
Another big benefit of link insertion is the great effect on your ranking.
As said, backlinks are the cornerstone of ranking in Google search, especially for the more competitive keywords, and with link insertion, you can get nice high-quality backlinks that can greatly influence your ranking in SERPs for your target keywords.
This is because you can easily place your links on more authoritative domains with minimum effort, you’ll only need to find them, which I’ll show you later how.
Great Revenue Source
And the last link insertion benefit that I want to share with you is it is a great revenue source for those that are doing it.
For companies and marketing teams, enabling link insertion on a website can be a great and quick revenue source with minimum effort, especially on the more authoritative websites as the link insertion can be priced at a premium price.
That’s why it’s no surprise that link insertion is one of the favorite ways to build backlinks, but also one of the favorite ways to monetize a blog, especially for bloggers who have been working on their site for some time and have decent traffic and website authority.
And the same you can do too for your website.
How Much Does Link Insertion Cost?
Link insertion can vary from $50 to over $500 per link, depending on the industry you are in, the website authority and organic traffic, and whether you are doing it yourself or using agency services. The common link insertion budget is between $1,000-$5,000, often tied with other link building strategies and content marketing activity.
For example, if you would use link building agency such as FatJoe, they will charge you anywhere from $80 to $430 per placement depending on the quality of the website the link will be placed.
The benefit of using link insertion services is that everything is done for you, plus they have a large database of websites and generally, they can pretty quickly get you to link on relevant sites, while the downside is that they of course need to markup the price and often if you’ll do it yourself the price can be cheaper by 50% or more.
How to Do Link Insertion Outreach
With all that being said, now, let me show you a simple four-step process of doing link insertion outreach on your own so you can save yourself some buck, or learn how to do it on your own for your website or business.
Step #1: Prospect Research
The first step of link insertion is to do prospect research or find potential websites where you could place your link.
Now, there are probably millions and one way how to find prospects.
And one way could be a simple Google search using your niche keywords, for example in my case the keyword would be “seo” and then scraping all the websites using tools such as SEOQuake.
Also, don’t forget to display 100 search results in settings.
However, one of my favorite ways to find prospects is using SEO tools like SE Ranking Competitive Research tools where I enter my domain, select my target location and click on “Analyze”.
Here you’ll get a high-level overview of the analyzed domain such as the organic traffic, organic keywords, backlink profile, and more. So here I go to the “Competitors” report.
And here I have hundreds of close competitors based on my ranking keywords. Each of these is a potential prospect for my link insertion campaign.
And I can repeat this process for my super close competitors and get their competitors and easily generate thousands of potential prospects for my link building outreach.
However, as I said, there are many more ways to find prospects, so here I leave some of my link building articles where you can learn more ways how to find more prospects as the principles are everywhere the same:
Step #2: Contact Finding
The second step is to find contacts of your prospects using tools like Hunter.io.
Yes, you can do it by yourself without paying for tools, but definitely, you won’t be able to scale it, and with link insertion, numbers matter, and you’ll need to send hundreds to thousands of emails consistently to generate at least some results.
What’s great about Hunter.io is that they give you a list of prospects’ contact information from a domain, and you can choose only the most relevant.
Remember, you only want to select those that are having any decision-making power to include your link in their existing pages such as SEO manager, CMO, or worst-case scenario co-founder. However, the closer to the marketing and SEO role you can get the better.
But you don’t want to be emailing software engineers or finance managers, those will just ignore it. So don’t spam them. You have purpose, integrity dignity, remember!
Or another way is to find your marketing guy on a website About Us/Team page. For example, on digitalmarketingagency.com
And then use the Email Finder tool in Hunter and pop the person there.
Or another solution is to use a tool like ContactOut Email Finder and go to the company’s LinkedIn profile, find any person who could be responsible for link building and could add your link to their website, and retrieve their contact information.
And again, there could be a million and one ways to find contact information of your prospects, these are just some of my favorite ways to get the work done.
Step #3: Outreach
Alright, once you have your prospect information, the next step is to create a personalized outreach template.
Remember, you want to be personalized, yet be able to send hundreds of emails at the same time, while for the best prospects you will want to email them personally with touch if your funny humor…
Because essentially with link insertion, it’s a game of numbers, and those to whom you will be sending emails, know what’s up, so don’t fluff around.
Here is a template I recently used with a 7% conversion rate, which is not bad for a link insertion outreach campaign:
I am Eduard, another SEO dude, just like you, so we can have some proper SEO nerdy conversation!
Are you allowing link insertion on your website and if so, what’s the price? Or shall we do a link exchange?
Let me know if this tickles your Core Link Vitals.
Bear in mind I only send this to people who are actual SEOs at their companies. As you can see, it’s not muchly personalized, but heck, they know the game, and me sugar coating it with personal stuff like:
Last night I was inside a bush in front of your house, and I know you like chocolate ice cream at 2 am, me too. Now when we are super close friends after this super personalized message, can you give me a link insertion?”
This just doesn’t work, just imagine the number of bushes you would have to be, and what if there are no bushes, you are done.
Okay, joking, I am not saying personalization is not a thing and you shouldn’t do it. But there is a time and place for it. For guest posting 100% you should be personalized, same for resource link building, but for link insertion not so much.
So, from my experience, a link insertion outreach campaign works much better when you go straight to the point with a short and sweet message, they understand what’s up.
Step #4: Negotiation
And the last step of the link insertion outreach campaign is to negotiate the best price if it comes to price or how you can satisfy each other.
This is when you get a reply from a prospect such as this, but you will want to be a little greedy Smurf.
So, you will want to negotiate with your prospects. However, you should be careful as not everybody takes it well and it can ruin your reputation as well as your chances of getting your link insertion.
Negotiation is really case by case and there was a time when I lost link insertion just because I negotiate too hard, but also there were times when I got a 50% cheaper price.
So, it really depends, you need to have experience in link insertion to evaluate if you are getting a good price or not. Thus, I recommend checking the website profile to see where you are standing.
For example, this website that asked me for $100 for a link insertion was in my opinion a bit too much what I was comfortable with because when I looked at their website profile, I could see that:
- They have decent organic traffic within the price.
- But the traffic comes mostly from Malaysia and India.
- And their domain trust is not as high.
So, with this information, I sent them a gentle email asking for a better price as they charge a similar price to websites with organic traffic from more valuable markets such as US or UK.
Here is the email I sent:
Thank you for your email.
While I really like your website, unfortunately, I can see your traffic mostly comes from Malaysia and India which are not really my target locations as they are not really profitable unlike from US or UK. Also, the website authority is not as high.
However, I would really love a link from your site, just I am not comfortable paying $100. The best I can do, and my budget allows me is $50, would you consider it?
With that, we exchange a couple of emails back and forth and landed on $60, which I believe was a fair price for both sides.
However, when it comes to negotiating, you need to do a bit of SEO website analysis to understand whether their price is worth it.
And if it comes to link exchange, there are probably two ways you can go about it:
- Two-way link exchange, where you link to each other.
- Three-way link exchange where you add a middle website to link to each other.
I recommend you to check out my tiered link building tutorial to learn how you can maximize your backlink opportunities if you are doing link exchange.
Link Insertion Best Practices
When it comes to link insertion, it can also be quite risky for your business, and of course, Google can and will penalize you, if they find out you are paying for links or doing naughty things like exchanging backlinks.
As they say on the website, exchanging money for links or excessive link exchange is one of the links spams monitored by Google algorithms.
In fact, Google penalized Google Japan for buying links! Would you believe it?
So, what makes you think, they won’t bust your website?
That’s why here are link insertion best practices for you to avoid being penalized as well as get the best results from your link insertion campaign.
Get Link Insertion on Pages with Lots of Backlinks
The first link insertion best practice is to always search for pages on a website that are having a lot of backlinks pointing to that page.
This is because the more backlinks the page has, the more link equity it can pass to your webpage.
Usually, when a website allows link insertion on their website, they allow it on any of their blog posts in 99% of cases.
So, what you want to do is to find their blog posts with the most backlinks. You can use tools like SE Ranking Backlink Checker and in the “Pages” report you can see the top pages by backlinks or referring domains.
Get Link Insertion on Pages Ranking on the Top
Another link insertion best practice is to find pages that are ranking on top of the SERPs.
The reason why is that the higher the page ranks the more backlinks it generates. According to the Ahrefs study, the higher the page ranks, the more backlinks it generates month over month.
So, if you get a backlink from a page that ranks on the top, it’s safe to assume, that the page alone will have a significant boost on your ranking and it will consistently bring more link juice.
Not only that, but top-ranking pages also can bring a lot of organic traffic, some that can also visit your website as well.
With that being said, to find the top-ranking pages on a website you can use SE Ranking Competitive Research tool and go to the “Keywords” report.
And then set the filter for position only 1-10 or if you are analyzing a large website only 1-1 and apply filters.
And this will show you only the top-ranking keywords along with their pages and you can choose the one you like the most. I recommend choosing those pages that rank on the top for their primary keywords such as this example.
Get Link Insertion on Pages with Lots of Internal Links
Another link insertion best practice I recommend you follow is to get a backlink from a page that has a lot of internal links.
A similar reason to the first practice, internal links pass link juice. Thus, pages without any internal links are essentially worthless regardless of whatever domain they come from.
That’s why internal links are a fundamental part of every SEO strategy!
So to find pages with the most internal referring pages, you will need to run SE Ranking Website Audit tool and then select “Referring pages” in the “Columns” setting to see what pages have the most internal links.
Follow Anchor Text Ratio to Avoid Google Penalty
The next super important link insertion and basically any link building best practice is to follow the anchor text ratio
This means the ratio of anchor text you are using whenever you build a backlink to a certain page. You want to make sure that at least 50% of anchor text is those ugly ones and not exact match keywords because Google algorithm is very good at picking these up and sending them to the Google Spam team for manual review.
However, with link insertion, I would go even less than 10% with exact anchor text and I would focus more on the brand/personal and general relevant anchor text as it is suspicious enough for a backlink to suddenly appear on an already existing page.
Get Links from Websites with Minimum Organic Traffic
Another super important link building and link insertion best practice is to ensure you are getting backlinks from a website with at least 500 organic traffic, preferably 1,000 according to your SEO tool.
The reason behind this is that you want to build backlinks only on trusted sites and organic traffic is a good indication that the website is trusted by Google.
Because building backlinks on the website with no traffic means they are too small, thus they won’t have any impact on your ranking, or if they are having a ton of content, but not traffic, it means there is something very wrong with the website and you don’t want to be associated with it.
Avoid Spam Words on the Website
Another link insertion and also guest posting best practice is to avoid websites with spam words on them.
Unfortunately, many websites that do accept link insertion are also having spam words on their website.
These spam words that trigger Google spam detector are often displayed in very visible places so guest bloggers can find them such as:
- “write for us”
- “guest blog”
- “guest blogging guidelines”
- “publish your article here”
- “submit your article”
- And many more
Any website that publicly displays that they accept guest posts will get quickly discovered by Google. I mean what is more obvious than this?
So, before you pay for link insertion, ensure they do not have this on their website. Simple “site:” Google operator should do the work.
Building Only a few Links from Link Insertion
And the very last link insertion best practice is to build only a few links with link insertion technique.
As said, link insertion is a black-hat SEO strategy and if Google catches you, there is a much bigger chance that your entire website will go down.
Therefore, it’s important to know that less than 10% of links you build comes from link insertion or niche edits as link diversity is extremely important in order to simulate a natural way of gaining backlinks to your website just like with anchor text.
I recommend you read my article on backlink audit to ensure your backlink portfolio is nice and clean.
When it comes to link insertion, while it’s an extremely easy method to get links at a large scale, the thing is it is also very easily discoverable by search engines like Google and it could easily get you in trouble.
Therefore, you should be very careful with link insertion and use it only sometimes and rather focus on other more proven strategies that you can scale up.
I hope you have enjoyed my article, please let me know on my YouTube channel your thoughts, CAU!
Also, check out our SEO hub page to find all our SEO resources.
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