Curated links have become popular among link builders and content creators alike.
In order to use curated links effectively to rank your website and grow your business, you need to understand:
- what they are
- how curated links are beneficial for SEO
- how to acquire them (or hire a link building services agency to acquire them for you) and
- best practices for link curation
Let’s dig in…
Table of Contents
The Definition of “Curated”
The term curated essentially refers to something that is specifically chosen for a particular purpose and that is organized in such a manner as to help easily facilitate that purpose.
In terms of art and other things, curated would apply to hand-chosen pieces of a collection that best expressed the depth and value of the collection or showcased pieces of a particular value.
More recently, the term has begun to be applied to links in the application of content and link building.
What Are Curated Links?
Much like other types of curated content, curated links refer to links that are specifically chosen and added to existing content. That sounds simple, but it’s a bit more complicated than standard link building.
If we take a given piece of content, say a post on watches, and that post is created and links to existing pieces are inserted to help with link building and site ranking and that post is allowed to sit, it will eventually lose relevance in favor of newer and fresher content.
If you think of it as donuts, this piece is now the day-old donut that nobody wants.
This was at one time the standard practice: generate content, embed links, and let go.
Now, however, curated links have become the norm for sharing relevant and up-to-date content with users to keep them engaged and visiting your site.
Curated links are links that are added to existing pieces of content to improve their relevance and usefulness to readers. This is often done by putting in links to new content from reliable and trusted sources so that the user can gain insightful information for their query.
Instead of creating large quantities of self-written content, brands can now curate select content from other places to help meet the needs of their users. Just like you would backlink to trusted sites to build your rank and your authority on the web, using curated links provides the most recent, up-to-date, and useful information from around the web to users.
One of the most common types of curated links revolves around guest post links that are tied to an existing post. That way, if users are reading new blog content, they can click on links within that blog to find older content that is relevant to their search.
The reverse is also true. A user can be reading older content that is then linked to a newer guest blog post that contains new and more up-to-date information on their chosen topic. This helps to build out content clusters without a single entity needing to invest in the constant creation of content. Content sharing is mutually beneficial for both parties and helps to build the reputation and traffic of both brands.
Types of Curated Content
Curated content comes in a number of forms and is not simply limited to blog posts. News reports, research papers, social media posts, blurbs, product reviews, and other types of content can all be considered curated content if it is relevant and informative and comes from a trusted source.
While blog posts and guest posts are the most common way to freshen up stale content, adding different types of well-sourced and relevant links will give your content more credibility.
From a marketing standpoint, it’s a good idea to diversify your links so that you carry as much useful information to your users as possible.
While a symbiotic relationship between brands is useful, relying too heavily on one source of information can have a negative effect. Users may come to see your content as one-dimensional or always providing the same type of information.
Playing favorites may work for your children (just don’t tell them that), but it’s bad practice in the marketing business.
Diversify the content you link to the same way you diversify the sources of that content as well. If you think of it as an art museum, sure, some collections are all about one artist, but many collections showcase various artists around a centralized theme, with different interpretations.
Curated Links in Practice
Before you set about acquiring curated links, it is important to understand the intent and purpose of these kinds of links.
Much like you would backlink to trusted sources to build your brand reputation and ranking, curated links should only be used as a means to educate your users. Filling pages with curated links will actually serve to diminish the value of your content.
Consider the following: A user searches for a specific product that your company sells. In looking into your product, they check out your blog about that product to get a little more information. This would be the perfect place to put some curated links.
What you should then do, in this case, is have curated links that apply specifically to that product, about that product, details, and information regarding that product from other trusted sites. They should all further a user’s understanding of your product by using other people’s work to back up your own content.
Sharing useful and relevant information from other sources not only takes some of the work off of you for content creation, but it also builds trust in your business that if users need to know about something, they go to you first to point them in the right direction.
The wrong way to use curated links is to cram in as many as possible to anything even remotely related to the topic. This isn’t an all-you-can-click link buffet. For instance, if your product is a type of sneaker, and the blog your customer is reading is about that style of sneaker, cramming in links about high heels or sandals because they’re also types of shoes would be pointless, no matter how well vetted a source it is.
That’s where the selective portion of curated links comes in. Even before you attempt to acquire curated links, you should have an idea of what you need and what you want to be featured as part of your content.
Remember, users, want helpful information, not wasting time. Part of link building in general, is making sure that what you’re linking to will actually make people want to visit your site.
How Much of My Content Should Be Curated?
Nowadays, the amount varies but the standard is around 25-30% of content on your site should be curated content, meaning you sourced it from somebody else and linked it to your site.
This will save you a ton of time and energy both in content creation and marketing in terms of what you produce for your brand. Better yet, you can stockpile relevant content and publish curated content daily so that your site always stays fresh.
Once you have the ins and outs of finding curated links and using them to your advantage, you’ll be able to drastically improve your site’s ranking and traffic just by publishing new, relevant content regularly.
Curated Links Should Anticipate User Intent
Much like when designing your website and doing keyword research to build user interest, your curated links should contain valuable information that would naturally occur to users.
To go back to the previous shoe example, anticipating the type of information about the shoes they may want to know can help you to develop relevant links. Things that users search for in addition to the product details can be linked to and will increase interest in your product and keep users coming back to your site.
This is where content diversity comes in; having a mix of research and culturally significant content will improve the user experience. For example, linking to an article on how sneakers are made is one trusted source where users can get vital information, but having another link to a social media post about popular sneaker trends holds value as well.
The better you know your market, the better you are able to anticipate these needs and build curated links accordingly.
Acquiring Curated Links That Matter
Depending on your particular niche, there are several options of content out there and much of it is easier to acquire than you think. We’ll break down the steps to acquiring curated links that matter to your business and will build traffic to your site.
Focus on One Type of Content at a Time
Before you start searching the web for curated links that you can use or shopping yourself out to any website out there to share their content, decide on what type of content you want to link to and what is right for your audience.
Blogs are great, but they aren’t all that there is. In fact, almost half of all traffic comes from curated social media posts. If you’re in a space where social media can help influence your audience, then seeking out links to relevant social media posts can be a valuable resource.
Like we stated earlier, there are several types of content out there and each one fits a different style.
For example, hardcore enthusiasts of a particular product may enjoy one of the many “ultimate guide” type articles that are out there. These types of articles put a lot of information all in one place and are great for those geared towards learning all they can about a topic without wading through useless content on some of those mass production sites.
Others prefer easily digestible content like webinars and videos. Linking to this type of content is good for things that work better when explained visually or accompanied by illustrations or graphics. This also helps keep users engaged as they are more likely to finish the content and then return later to look at another topic.
For areas where others’ experiences are key, case studies are a great option. They provide relevant information based on actual practical application. These types of links along with reading lists and experts are great for building trust if your niche is one that has a lot of different factors tied to it such as in the medical field.
Make Sure the Content Matters
Once you’ve decided on what your niche is and the type of content links you want to build out, make sure to corral as much as possible and to review it all yourself. This can be a frustrating and time-consuming process, but it helps to ensure that everything you post and everything you link to, is worthwhile to your users.
You’re sure to get way more content than you can easily manage, that’s when it becomes a good idea to invest in a content managing app or service.
Using an RSS Reader to organize and identify new and relevant content in your niche is one way to stay on top of the latest content that you can then build out links to. Other outlets, like Reddit, Q&A Forums, and similar places are great to find new content as well. Tailor your searches to your specific niche and you’ll be swimming in new curated links in no time.
Once you have all the content you need, you can begin to dissect it and curate what matters most at any given time. This way you can build a steady stream of curated content through links that you are generating organically.
There are dozens of apps out there to help you keep everything together and organized in one place so that if you’re managing multiple niches, you have a place to put everything that is relevant to the niche it belongs in.
Remember, broken link building services are also a form of curated link building wherein an SEO might pitch a webmaster on a relevant, quality replacement for a broken link.
Carve Out Your Own Place Within a Given Niche
You’re not just getting curated links to have more links on a page, you want to grow the audience of your business. One of the best ways to do this is to make yourself unique within the space.
If you like to stay on top of everything relevant within social media, then make it known that you’re the place to go for authoritative and relevant social media posts.
Doing this comes down to presentation and style. You want to make sure that your audience knows what you’re about and that the content you provide can be trusted. Building trust means making sure that all your content is relevant, timely, and presented in a professional manner.
Think of it like a businessman who forgets to wear pants; would you trust that guy? Probably not. But the guy in the designer suit, who remembered his pants? Yeah, we’ll go with him instead.
This doesn’t mean your style has to be bland and boring; it should match your audience. When it’s time to be serious, be serious looking with your content, if the topic is fun and interesting, be fun and interesting. The important thing is that readers know where you stand.
Partnerships and Attributions
If you struggle to find free content within your niche, one of the easiest ways is to form partnerships with other sites that offer relevant content. You can then form a quid pro quo relationship with them where you both share each other’s content for mutual benefit. Just be careful, certain link exchange schemes of this nature violate Google’s quality guidelines.
If this isn’t an option, most of the time, content is safe to use as long as you attribute it to the appropriate author. This may sometimes take a little bit of digging, but most people are more than happy to have their content shared and have more traffic driven to their site.
The key is that everything you use is reputable. Once you can verify this information, finding curated links will become a much easier process.
Now that you know the definition of a curated link, how they’re used, and how to find them, you can grow your business and your site traffic without having to generate nearly as much content yourself.
Your content will always be relevant and informative and will drive users to come back again and again.