Introduction to Link Building and why it matters

Links between different webpages serve as a “recommendation” and can benefit both the page with the link and the page being linked. The ranking benefit of a link varies depending on the page authority or rank of the page that has the link. If a page has authority on a topic (for instance, a page that ranks #1 for targeted keywords) links to a page with a significantly lower ranking and traffic, the second page’s ranking will increase.

Given that many of our outputs are covered by large and high traffic websites, we have a massive opportunity to increase our page ranking for content across the site, whether it be news, campaign or evergreen content.

Internal linking, or linking to other pages, is a great way to build on the success of pages that performed well organically and report on an ongoing story. By establishing in line links that inform audiences that there is additional content on a specific story, you can ensure that new content attains a higher rank than it would if it were an isolated piece.

Competitors Link Strategy Comparison

Backlink strategies were identified as an opportunity to increase or organic search traffic after drawing a comparison between backlinks from major international news publishers and our competitors. Generally speaking, Human Rights Watch has more backlinks to its content than While it is very important to remember that link building strategy is not about quantity and is more about the quality of your backlinks, these numbers do show that publishers are willing to link to our content on as long as the links are provided in the press release.  

Currently, a vast majority of our backlinks go to the homepage, however in many cases it would be beneficial both to the external media and to our content distribution strategy if they linked directly to the page on that specific story or issue.

See example here

May 6th to August 6th 2018 Backlinks from News Publishers

Washington Post2,140447
The Guardian1,420655
Al Jazeera2,6571,331

Tips and Tricks

Distribute your URLs to external media

List the URL for your news article ( url) on the press release when you distribute it to external audiences. This way, journalists can easily site a quote or story back to the original source. Oftentimes, journalists will simply add an in line link to the homepage as a citation when they can’t find the link to the specific news article. Grabbing as many external links for your story will help you rank very quickly (in both Google News and standard Google Search.)

Please contact the website inbox if you would like help predicting the URL for your news article so that you can include it in your press release.  

Internal links in Press Releases

When you distribute press releases to external audiences, be sure to include in line links to any additional reference material that could prove useful. This way, external media is more likely to find and link to your content in their outputs. This additional material could be previous news articles on a similar story or evergreen content (country pages, thematic pages etc)

Internal links in OpEds

The most obvious tactic that will increase the number of links on external media sites is to add links within the editorial content that we write for them. This way we can (almost) guarantee that there is a connection between their site and that will help us build domain and page authority.


In its June report, ‘War of annihilation’: Devastating Toll on Civilians, Raqqa – Syria, Amnesty International presented a prima facie case that the Coalition air strikes resulting in these specific cases of civilian casualties violated the laws of war.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner

Maintain a link balance

 While it is encouraged to include as many links as possible in your press releases for external media, be sure to maintain a solid balance between linked and unlinked text in your article to prevent it from looking like spam.

Anchor Text

Remember to add links with relevant “anchor text” which is the text that is used to display the link on the page. Anchor text such as “report on death penalty in Sub Saharan Africa” will be more beneficial than “click here” or “Amnesty report” because it strengthens keyword association for the linked page.

Wikipedia Backlinks

Wikipedia is consistently one of the strongest SEO ranked domains and will almost always appear towards the top of every search engine result page. Since anyone can edit Wikipedia content, there is an opportunity to add citations and in line links to your pages within Wikipedia articles. As of 6/8/2018, Human Rights watch has 4,658 backlinks from, whereas only has 2,636. Adding links to evergreen content on to relevant Wikipedia pages will help us increase this number and will increase rank and traffic to our pages.