Niche-relevant backlinks are links from websites in the same niche as yours that point to your website.
These links help improve a website’s search engine rankings and are essential for gaining search engine visibility and boosting organic traffic.
In today’s guide, we’ll show you exactly what they are and how they work.
Why are Niche-Relevant Backlinks Important?
Backlinks are just votes. The more quality votes you get from websites in a similar area of expertise, the more Google sees you as an authority on that topic.
Relevance helps search engines build trust that your content is coming from a subject matter expert.
Of course, not every link you build needs to be niche-relevant. It’s important to have a variety of backlinks with different anchor text and link types so as not to seem too spammy.
For instance, The New York Times and other major publications discuss everything from politics to pop culture. You wouldn’t say no to a link from them, but it wouldn’t be considered niche-relevant, either.
At the same time, you don’t want to rely on getting too many generic links from sites that are not in line with your business or website. Major publications rank well for all kinds of topics but that’s because they have massive link profiles which is the single most important ranking factor.
Normal websites don’t have that luxury. One way they can compete is to position themselves as an authority in that space.
How Do You Find a Niche-Relevant Backlink?
If you want to find relevant websites, the obvious answer is: Google. Simply search Google in your respective industry.
But a lot more goes into finding a niche-relevant link than just Googling. Here are three of our best strategies for finding niche link opportunities:
1. Use search operators to find relevant websites
A search operator is a type of query language used in searching for information on the internet.
Search operators can be structured in various ways and applied to specific search engines. They are designed to help you refine your queries, allowing you to find results more quickly and efficiently.
Examples of popular search operators include wildcards, proximity searches, AND/OR/NOT commands, and phrase searches.
For example, you can use Google search operators to find all the information we have on link building by typing “site:linkflow.ai link building” into the search bar.
Using this search operator, you can get a rough idea of how many posts a website has written about a certain topic.
This is valuable when you want to see how relevant a website is compared to yours. But it is limited in that it does not expand your search beyond the sites you already know.
You can use other search operators like “intitle:” and “intext:” to find specific content within a website.
Pretend you’re looking for link opportunities in the SaaS space. Your product is a new kind of customer retention software.
You could type in “intitle: saas customer retention” to find content within the SaaS space that talks about customer retention.
This will give you a mix of websites that are both direct and indirect competitors. Indirect competitors are more likely to link to you. However, some of those indirect competitors could be authoritative websites that are more difficult to get links from.
For instance, it’s almost certain that Salesforce or HubSpot won’t even respond to a link inquiry without a substantial offer or a good pitch. But a small website discussing customer retention might be more willing to link back to your website.
To get more specific, you can use the “inurl:” operator to find websites related to the one you have in mind.
For example, if you type in “inurl:customer-retention-blog” into Google, you’ll find sites that posted blogs, articles, or web pages that create content around how to improve customer retention.
These are the blogs you might want a guest post from.
2. Use the Competing Domains feature on Ahrefs.
Ahrefs is one of the most popular SEO tools out there. It helps digital marketing gurus (like us) and business owners (like you) keep tabs on our SEO campaigns, conduct keyword research, and look into competitors.
The Competing Domains feature on Ahrefs is a great way to find potential niche-relevant links. All you need to do is enter your main competitor’s website, and Ahrefs will provide you with a list of all their competitors that they link to.
These websites are all related to your industry, so they are all good potential link opportunities. Take a look at the content they have to see if you can create something similar that is better or more relevant to your industry.
When we do this with our agency’s website, most of the domains that show up are other link building agencies.
Considering the conflict of interest, we wouldn’t reach out to them for a link. However, we can look at their link profiles and do a backlink intersect.
Sometimes when you use the competing domains tool, you’ll see shoulder niche relevant websites rather than direct competitors.
You can also use this same tactic with indirect competitors in a similar niche. If you already have a few blogs in mind, you can use this same tactic with their URLs.
We love Search Engine Land for its helpful content on SEO and digital marketing, so we’ll use its site on the Ahrefs Site Explorer as an example.
When we look at these results, many aren’t our direct competitors. Instead, they are blogs and residually related sites discussing similar topics.
If you have written content related to those topics and can match the quality of the sites in the list, you can try to get backlinks from them.
3. Do a backlink intersect to see what links your competitors have that you don’t.
If your competitors are building backlinks from industry-specific sites, chances are you can too. Using the Link Intersect tool on Ahrefs, we can find niche relevant websites that link to our competitors but don’t link to us.
Then, you can contact the webmasters of these websites and pitch them, or create a piece of content that adds value to them in some way.
Best Practices for Trying to Get Relevant Links
Niche relevant backlinks are important, but the process for getting them is different from getting other types of links.
Since you need to build relationships with the sites and websites for your niche, here are some best practices to follow when trying to get relevant links:
1. Make sure you have a clear link building strategy.
The success of your planning, outreach, and execution will depend on your link building strategy. If you haven’t decided what you want to achieve with your link building efforts, you won’t be able to measure and analyze the success of your campaigns.
Here are a few things you should straighten out before you start reaching out to websites:
- What type of website do you want to link to your website?
- How many links do you need for each page on your website?
- What kind of anchor text should be used in the anchor text?
- Is my content good enough to attract links?
Remember that sites that link to you will also vet your content, so make sure you create informative, useful, and relevant content for their readers.
Also ensure that your site health is in top condition by checking broken links, page loading speed, and other site metrics. If your technical SEO isn’t up to par, that’s an issue you need to tackle before looking for opportunities for link building.
2. Research potential link sources thoroughly before reaching out.
You should only get links from authoritative sources. Especially when it comes to networking within your online niche, too many spammy or toxic backlinks can harm your brand.
Research their website, content, and what other websites link to them so that you can craft an effective pitch to get a backlink from them.
Using Ahrefs, you can look at each prospective placement site’s Domain Rating and URL Rating to determine how valuable the link will be for you.
You can also check their site traffic and history from the overview section. In the example above, it looks like the site saw a significant drop in traffic in 2020. While this is discouraging, it isn’t a deal breaker. It’s now on an upward trend as well. If the traffic almost dropped by 80-90% then you would want to avoid it.
Using the link intersect tool, you can also organize the sites by DR. These sites all link back to our competitors, but their DR is low (and their URLs look sketchy), so we wouldn’t reach out to them or look for placements on their sites.
3. Reach out with a personalized email and a valuable offer
When pitching a link to a website, offer something of value that they could actually want.
Take the time to read their content and make sure to personalize your email first line.
This shows you actually paid attention and read the article.
4. Focus on creating content that adds value and is unique.
Anyone can pay a link farm $20, open up ChatGPT, and write a 500-word guest post about a surface-level topic in their industry. That’s not going to get you very far.
If you want to get high-quality backlinks, you need to create content that stands out from what everyone else is creating.
Here are a few content ideas that could provide a unique perspective:
- Give in-depth tutorials or informational pieces about topics in your industry.
- Write a comprehensive guide to your industry
- Create an interactive tool or calculator
- Weave together data-driven content with visuals
- Produce original research and surveys
- Challenge the status quo with thought-provoking insights
- Deliver information that could only come from an industry expert
Before conducting outreach, meeting at least one of these criteria is best.
5. Build relationships with websites in your niche.
Relationship-building is a two-way street—you want that link, and they want something in return.
Start by engaging with them on social media, commenting on their posts, or sharing their content. you could also join a Facebook group, answer Quora questions, and engage in other online discussions.
This could eventually lead to a reciprocal link exchange or an opportunity to guest post on their website and get a backlink in the byline.
The goal is to build relationships beyond just one link, so focus on creating genuine interactions on social media and other digital platforms.
6. Don’t bother with competitors.
A lot of sites use the skyscraper technique to hijack content from competitors and repurpose it for their own site. When they create a new piece that fills the gaps, they’ll reach out to the original publisher and request a link.
But why would a competitor want to link to you?
And you shouldn’t bother with them either.
Instead, look for blogs, publications, and indirect competitors in the shoulder niches surrounding your business.
Examples of How to Build Niche Relevant Backlinks
There are several ways to get relevant backlinks, and many of them are straightforward. Here are a few examples of common link-building techniques:
Guest posting is the most popular way to build links. It is a white hat link building technique that involves writing contributed content for a site relevant to your niche.
A guest post is also a mutually beneficial arrangement. The publisher gets quality content for their blog and you get a link back to your website, making it one of the best strategies to build quality backlinks.
The steps for landing a guest post are as follows:
- Identify the relevant blogs in your niche.
- Study their content and what they’re looking for in a post.
- Craft a topic idea that will resonate with their readers.
- Reach out to them with your pitch.
- Write an article that accurately reflects them and adds value to their audience.
- Add a link to your site with the respective anchor text in your article.
- Receive a backlink when the site goes live.
The key to effective guest posting is to show the publisher that you’re a trustworthy source and have something of value to offer their readers. Many sites offer non-relevant backlinks in exchange for guest posts, but they do much less for your performance on Google’s SERPs.
Broken Link Building
Another popular link-building technique is broken link building. This method involves finding a broken link on a website in your niche and then offering to replace it with an active link to your site.
Using SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush, you can find a broken link on a particular website. You can also use a free tool like Check My Links to find broken links quickly.
Once you’ve identified a dead link, reach out to the publisher and offer them an updated link with the same information.
Broken links can hurt your SEO by preventing search engine crawlers from correctly crawling and indexing a website. Without proper indexation, a page won’t appear in search engine results and thus won’t get any organic traffic.
Broken links also create a poor user experience, as users clicking on them often receive an error message instead of being directed to the content they were expecting to find. This can cause them to become frustrated and leave the site, resulting in high bounce rates which could negatively impact your site’s ranking on search results pages.
Because you uncovered a problem the publisher didn’t know they had, this is one of the best opportunities to get high-quality backlinks. When the publisher agrees to your offer, they get an updated link, and you get a well-deserved backlink.
3. Content Marketing
You can attract backlinks with your own content. All you have to do is create valuable, high-quality content that your audience will want to share and link to.
Having a well-written article, blog post or video can naturally draw niche backlinks from other websites without directly asking for them.
A few types of content that can help you get niche-relevant backlinks include:
- In-depth guides
- Informative videos
- Comprehensive tutorials
- Expert opinions
- Case studies
- Research findings
You can also promote this content on your own to get it in front of the right people and build your brand beyond just backlinks.
How Many Relevant Backlinks Do You Need for SEO?
If you need to build links, you might wonder how many you actually need. The specific amount depends on several factors, including the size of your niche, its competition, and the extent to which you want to rank.
Here are the most critical factors to consider when evaluating the number of backlinks you need to rank:
- Competition: Every niche has keywords with high competition and low competition. If you’re trying to rank for a competitive keyword, you’ll need to get more backlinks than you would for a low-competition keyword.
- Relevancy: Niche relevant backlinks are valuable because they show the search engine that your content is related to the topic. Finding a specific niche and taking a targeted approach can sometimes be more impactful than a generic one.
- Authority: Googe sees backlinks from sites with high authority as more valuable. Building high-quality links generally means you’ll need fewer to reach your SEO goals.
- Quality: Quantity is not the only thing that matters when it comes to backlinks. Quality is also essential. Low-quality links will waste your time and money, while a few links from pages relevant to your industry and with high domain authority can make a significant difference in rankings.
What are Niche Edits, and Why Do They Matter?
Niche edits, also known as contextual link building, are backlinks placed within existing content on a website in your niche. This means that instead of asking for a new link from the publisher, you have to suggest an edit or update to their current article.
Similar to broken links, niche edits provide an opportunity to get backlinks from relevant niche sites.
Advantages of niche edits over other backlink opportunities include:
- Niche edits only work with a site’s existing content, so there is no need to create new pages.
- The edit can be tailored specifically to the context of an existing article, making it more natural and beneficial for SEO and user experience.
- It can help to build relationships with publishers in your niche, which can have long-term benefits.
If you don’t have the time to get other types of backlinks, niche edits are one of the best ways to quickly and effectively connect with websites for your niche.
Do Niche Edit Backlinks Work in Link Building?
As long as you keep the links natural and relevant to the content of a site’s existing article, niche edit backlinks can help boost your SEO efforts.
However, as with any type of link building, it’s vital to keep the bigger picture in mind. Quality still matters more than quantity when it comes to backlinks, so make sure you focus on finding links from reputable sources.