Mommy, where did niche edits come from?
A brief historical timeline of what they are, where they came from – and what happened to them, from the guy who invented the term.
Before we tell you the history of niche edits – we’d like to tell you who we are. As a half-decade old agency who’s been through a million different struggles – we’ve finally turned SERPNinja into an all-inclusive powerhouse of in-house talent branching into every department.
What we discovered and realized as the company grew – is that we are good at setting a baseline product and quality assurance, to the rest of the SEO industry. We’re not great marketers, and we’re not amazing at sales. You’ll get a sneak-peak of that later below in the ‘Mistakes we’ve made’ section.
We are good at product – and we’re okay with that. Give us a Standard Operating Procedure for just about any type of campaign, be it SEO, mailing, PPC, graphic design, etc – and we’ll build a team that can perform to the standard you need. We focus on the product, and we let everyone else focus on growing their client bases.
Not only do we have one of the largest guest posting networks available (with great stats – we accept websites around metric customers can use, not every website to pad the offer of websites available to guest post on), but we create about 40-50% of all the PBNs people use today. Literally, thousands per month – with all the insane content requirements and maintenance that comes with that.
But before we were an industry standard for many gurus and marketing agencies to whitelabel through – we were just a couple of guys trying to figure out our place in the Internet Marketing community. 98% of all internet marketers resell a product or a service with their own unique spin or twist on it – and we knew that’s what we had to start with if we were ever going to make Internet marketing a full-time thing for ourselves.
And so, armed with Google, some blackhat SEO forums and the ambition one has before they’ve been doing marketing for a decade and the inevitable burnout sets in – we had decided to get our piece of the pie from the SEO community.
What is a niche edit? How did the term originally come about?
Without over-complicating things (because we didn’t make you pay $97 for an info-product course covering the concept) – a niche edit is simply a new addition to any piece of content.
If you’ve screenwriter or book author and submitted your script/book to your agent – and they told you to make XYZ fixes on it, you’re making niche edits to your script/book pages. If you’re editing the content on your website after you’ve written the article days/weeks/months/years ago – whether for internal SEO purposes or because you’re paid for it – that’s a niche edit.
Niche edits aren’t injected, or hacked in nature. It’s simply the editing of new content into old content with intent. Unfortunately, as will be explained below – when you coin a term, you really can’t help who slaps it onto what and the consequences thereof. While a niche edit is not inherently blackhat because it’s just a manipulation of content – many of the blackhat SEO services today sell such links by CALLING them niche edits. Kind of like how not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis, but all Jacuzzis are hot tubs.
We did not invent the CONCEPT of niche edits. Whoever the first person was to edit their website content after it was written, with new information/links/etc – was the person who invented the concept. And even then – it’s not really a concept, it’s just editing a piece of content, something writers invented before the Internet.
We did invent the TERM though. “Niche edits” is something we coined to differentiate ourselves from the noise of the time – when “300,000 backlink tiered pyramids” were the standard, and people were still paying for posts ON PBN networks, not realizing the link farms they were creating. Customers were not understanding what made this kind of SEO different from a footer link, or some blogroll link – and we knew the easiest way was through branding.
We took what we learned from a friend who had coined the term ‘linkwheel’ – which was simply backlinking X amount of websites together in a circular pattern. Hardly the realization of the century in regards to SEO, but the concept worked back then – and the coined term created an influx of not only the original inventor’s sales – but all the sales of everyone else who started using the term to sell their backlinks.
We saw what ‘linkwheels’ did for our friend – and we tried to come up with a term of our own. After a bit of thinking, ‘niche edits’ seemed like the easiest and most natural term – since it wasn’t awkward on the tongue, and encompassed what the product was – an edit on a niche relevant piece of content.
And presto – the term was coined and/or invented. Niche edits were born!
Where did the first niche edits come from? How did you develop the process
We understood that there was nothing new under the sun. No matter how many new sales threads came out every week promising some new kind of SEO through tiering, or structures, or pyramids or wheels – it’s all essentially the same stuff.
When you know it’s not possible for anyone to “invent” a new link type or SEO type – you analyze what’s already working, and expand from that.
At the time we were most active in SEO, we were trying to rank 100s of our own websites. Amazon affiliate websites, Clickbank websites, Forex/Diet private affiliate program websites, etc. This was when content mattered a little bit less (pre 2017) – and a website’s SEO profile mattered a little more. If you were blackhat SEO – it was easy to crank out websites and rank them with high-volume spam packages for a few weeks at a time – banking for the time you’re at the top.
Since we did whitehat SEO (as white as can be anyway, outside of sitting there waiting for people to magically link back to your website because they stumbled upon your blog by magic) – we understood that the amount of work put into these affiliate websites wouldn’t be worth them ranking for a few weeks, and then being sandboxed.
That’s when we learned about our first SAPE network. It seemed like a magical solution, and it seemed to fit our needs perfectly. Unfortunately, as we discovered it and began to work with it, a few issues began to pop up:
– The UI of the network was not very friendly
– The links were often ‘not SEO friendly’ – being in the middle of the page, or in the footer, etc.
– Because of the volume nature of the SAPE – many of the websites were just unaware they had basic code injected through their contact form or something of the sort = bad inventory.
Initially – we tried making contact and working out some sort of deal with the network administrators, but they had a pretty apathetic attitude – and didn’t seem to care about accomodating anyone with any further features outside of what they had already built.
At this point – as previously mentioned, we realized that if we can’t reach any sort of useful solution with this network, there were probably other smaller ones that would be much more customer-friendly and receptive to listening to customer feedback to shape their platform. If you can’t use Google, you use Bing, right? If you can’t get a decent up-time from Godaddy Hosting (noone can) – you switch to another company that can host your websites better, right?
In the same spirit – we started looking for SAPE network alternatives that had the same idea [as all successful ideas get copied] but with a different system, on blackhat forums and through good ol’ fashioned DuckDuckGo (which doesn’t censor results like the royal Google highness). After extensive research, testing half a dozen networks that claimed to have large inventories and all sorts of features (and being scammed by 2 of them out of initial payments we got nothing back for) – we had found other networks that were smaller, but much more friendly in terms of hearing out the functionalities we need. They also came with APIs.
The APIs were pretty much what we were looking for. With a bit more customization and overpriced coding, we could extract content right from the websites in the network – to categorize for niche relevance and ultimately tell us if an article was niche relevant enough to place a link on. Which, through our software coded towards these networks – allowed us to submit a very specific order, not just to the website in the network – but right down to the paragraph we would like edited.
And that’s how we invented the systems and process for the initial edits. The term was invented after the product, mostly to differentiate the backlinks themselves from “spam blasts” and to combat the negative implications of the traditional SAPE network which everyone used to rank everything – but looked down upon in public. Noone would understand that it’s “like a SAPE network but different” – because all they’d hear is SAPE and move on.
What happened after we figured out the system, and invented the term?
At this point – the same thing happened to us as to literally every company in the world that isn’t selling some unique invention that doesn’t exist anywhere else. We couldn’t sell the product. Which we had spent a whole bunch of time on the development of the platform of – and KNEW was an effective SEO product from personal testing on our own websites.
How do you get a product out that you know will help people – in a marketplace full of noise?
We didn’t know how to sell in a marketplace where everyone is screaming about the “best backlinks” and “best SEO”. We knew we invented something cool – that could make lot of SEOs a lot of money, but when everyone claims their service is the best – it’s really hard to differentiate yourself by claiming to be the best as well.
We also didn’t want to give away too much of our process since, let’s face it, any intelligent marketer you respect can spend a good 4-5 hours of research and deep-digging to find such networks (even the networks we use – which would be direct competition to us obviously) – and create a like-wise system. As far as we were concerned – we had paid a lot for coding, and created a category of links that our own – from networks that were like SAPE links, or PBNs or anything else.
So what did we do? In the never-ending nooblicity of our wisdom – we approached people we saw selling products, and asked them to sell our product. We figured, why focus on generating traffic – if those guys are already doing it, and could just vend our product along with the ones they already do?
Some of the joint ventures we made with the vendors to resell were successful. Others weren’t. We never did end up finding any sort of magical formula for finding resellers or companies who’d like to whitelabel our SEO.
As the company slowly grew and what resellers we could secure worked out – we began to focus more and more on complementing niche edits with a full suite of SEO products, to make it easier and more appealing for vendors to create packages out of our products and have them fulfilled fully in-house, negating the need for worries about quality assurance and turnaround times of the product.
It got easier and easier, since we really did just need to get our foot in the door with something percievably unique, (in this case, the creation of niche edits) in order to show bigger and bigger companies the quality of our product and eventually persuade them into trying our services/whitelabelling us.
What mistakes did we make?
During this entire journey – we’ve made our share of mistakes. After all, this started out as a few guys trying to make a living out of Internet marketing. No huge budgets, no university alumni networks to guide us every step of the way, nothing. We definately screwed up on a few occasions – and we advise you learn from our mistakes!
1 – We never made it crystal clear to our customers that our niche edits were “like SAPE network” links we aggregate through a super-elaborate software we’ve built and the APIs of these alternative networks to parse the websites in them to offer the volume/niche specificity we can.
Originally – we didn’t have to worry about link injections and SEO spam with these kinds of networks. What we were WORRIED about was a smart customer reverse-engineering our process, and setting up shop to compete with us directly. Remember, we didn’t have any guru backing or famous testimonials – and everyone was/is already using these networks. We are just re-branding a known type of SEO – with a unique spin, to justify the markup.
As the volume of niche edits we sold increased – we realized that the occasional hacked/injected website on these networks could cause unpleasantries for the customer – as they’re no more aware that they paid for a hacked SEO link than we do when we order it from the network.
As rare as this was – there has been an increase of these kinds of websites being submitted to these networks, which further highlit this issue. This is why we’ve decided to finally explain the entire history of niche edits and where they came from. While there’s nothing stopping anyone who sells SEO from doing some research and finding these same networks (which we assume many have already as less and less people buy niche edits from us yet more and more niche edits services/threads are coming to market – proving clearly people who want to sell SEO aren’t stupid and connect the dots themselves) – we’re confident that our customers enjoy the service/quality we provide and aren’t going to go trolling through SAPE network alternatives and wading through all the unfriendly UIs and useless data to save a few bucks on placing the orders themselves.
2 – We made false claims to resellers to get them to resell niche edits.
Initially (and admittedly irresponsibly) – we were very aggressive about negotiating/contacting vendors to resell our product. We would tell resellers pretty much anything they wanted to hear in order to get them to TRY our links. In our minds, as long as the quality of the service and product is good – and their customers don’t want refunds based around the QUALITY of the product, the vendor wouldn’t care anyway. Not to mention, the fact that all marketing today is basically tiers of middlemen companies and markups. We didn’t think we were doing anything anyone else wasn’t at the time. Basically, we felt the ends justified the means because we were the SEO experts and everyone else was either a SEO vendor or some customer with more budget than knowledge about SEO.
Therefore – when vendors asked if these links were blackhat in any way, we neglected to tell them the nature of the links. We wanted them to give it a try first, and then either purchase/not purchase. To try the book before judging the cover. If a vendor sounded like they wanted a particular backlink type – we’d either try to persuade them to try our links instead, or, with a bit of research – lie to them that these WERE the links that they were looking for. Because in the end, once again – we wanted them to try them and if they liked them – nothing else would matter anyway.
We even had vendors and customers requesting “hacked niche edits” – on several occasions, to save money or to get large volumes of links for pennies. Originally – we would lie to them and tell them that they were the links they wanted (if the prices fit) – because our logic was if their customers like the links – the vendor wouldn’t care if they weren’t hacked, they just wanted cheaper links to sell to customers.
Of course – after the famous 2017 incident with one of the resellers, we understood that it didn’t make us look great to say just about anything we could in order to convince a vendor to try the links. We stopped doing that after we realized we can made made to look like total jackasses out of context. It’s kind of like making bald jokes at a cancer benefit. We meant well, but realize how it looks completely inappropriate. All we can do is apologize for that, and continue on with transparency towards our vendors and customers.
3 – We’ve been lazy about monitoring the networks we use ourselves, we thought it was their job.
When we first found the few networks we’ve been working with – we were super excited. We had thought we stumbled upon something that people wouldn’t stumble onto for years – and we weren’t wrong.
Things have been great for years, with the occasional hiccup of an unaware webmaster having their website on one of these networks voicing their concern to us, and us reporting their website to the network so noone else would use it.
Recently though, with the influx of SEO spam and injections and vulnerabilities – coupled with the fact that we’ve been actively growing departments of our company focused on content generation and customized guest posting outreach, we’ve neglected to do random spot checks for the quality of the links themselves being ordered.
For that – we’re very sorry to our customers, and all we can say is – it takes reminders like this to keep a company vigilant. We don’t mean to compare ourselves to Walmart and McDonalds – but every growing company that deals in volume will occasionally screw up and accept a shipment of chicken nuggets made from pig anuses. It happens, and all we can do is our very best to rectify the issues – and prevent them from happening again.
In the original system – the software scraping/parsing the information and the workers that find the niche edits websites and articles to order from – were seperate departments and there was no way for a worker to know if they’re looking at a suspicious website. We’ve since integrated the random spot checking into our workers daily tasks/responsibilities – allowing them to blacklist and report malicous websites to the networks before the website owner has to deal with too many issues, or the customers having to deal with too many malicious/disappearing/etc backlinks.
4 – Not thinking ahead.
We don’t believe anyone who makes up a term or phrase that takes off – can foresee what it will be used for.
We did not foresee that people would start using the term to sell just about every kind of spam available in SEO today. We coined niche edits to be what they were – edits we place in articles for SEO benefits. Not hacked links, or any negativity like that. Afterall, the swastika is an important Hindu symbol you’ll see everywhere in India today – yet it’s more popularized by a sinister Charlie Chaplin wanna-be who wanted to wipe out an entire race of people.
Unfortunately – we can’t do anything about it, either. Years ago we might have provided niche edits to a good marketshare of the SEO community, but today 9/10 niche edits sold online aren’t ours. We don’t know what they are, and we can’t be responsible for them because people will slap the term onto any sort of backlink they can sell – whatever the nature of it is.
Even today, as we think about what we could’ve done to protect the meaning of the term – we can’t think of anything. A “niche edit” isn’t anymore trademarkable than a “link wheel” – and good luck trying to enforce that trademark when everything from the Internet, to the vendors to the customers – being spread around the world.
All we can say is – apply the hottub/Jacuzzi logic when you’re buying niche edits from anyone out there. All Jacuzzis are hot tubs but not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis. Equally, all the niche edits WE sell are niche edits – but every SEO product out there sold under the term isn’t necessary a niche edit, or anything we’re aware of/endorse.
5 – Not thinking ahead, part 2.
Over the last year or so – as we’ve began to scale our customized outreach processes, we’ve built campaigns to generate niche edits from our relationships with webmasters. When someone is able to grasp the concept of being paid to place an article on their blog, they’re able to grasp the concept of editing some old article they couldn’t care less about and being paid for it.
Fortunately, our database is growing and we’re able to provide customers with many safe and secure niche edits in many niche.
Unfortunately, this is something we should’ve started growing years ago – and therefore are still forced to complement every order heavily with our original niche edits sources from the networks.
This is something we’re working on, which, coupled with our increased vigilence of random spot checking of websites on these networks – should continue to make niche edits a safe and effective experience for our customers.
So what are we doing today to help solve this problem for webmasters?
With the experience we have over the last few years battling malware and hacks across the 1,000s of PBNs and websites we host and maintain for our clients – and with the recent influx of poorly coded plugins, database breaches and overall state of the internet – we decided to lend our expertise to the community!
Over the last few months – we’ve been planning an all-in-one diagnostic auditing, fixing and monitoring service. This is a complete in-house service that effectively identifies the primary and secondary route causes of any website hack, does a complete clean-up/removal of the surface and root causes and sets preventative measures from having such a hack happen again. From the issues we see daily – our service comes at a perfect time to help people stop worrying about whether the next time their update their plugin, or make an account on some forum – that they won’t be hacked, breached and exposed.
We’re also making it a priority to offer the service completely free-of-charge to any of the websites/companies that we discover to have vulnerabilities.
You can find all the details on this page here [link to the security audit page] – and yes, you can resell the security service with your agency, especially if you don’t have an internal IT department and would like to complement the SEO packages you offer your clients today with security/monitoring.
We can end this epic tale by telling you that “we’ll do better” or that “we won’t be evil” – like some companies do today. You know who we’re talking about. But in reality – we ARE doing better, not to look good at conferences and on the world platform – but for our customers. Without our customers, we’d all be serving burgers, and working at retail stores. We understand the lifeblood of our business the happiness of our customers – so in the end, we always try to give them the best bang for their buck.
But now – we’ll do better at protecting the rest of the Internet. Not just our customers, but everyone else that needs help with their website security.