2 Minute Approval Tips: Limit Your Links

Episode 2 of the “2 Minute Approval Tips” video series.

This series is designed to help get your articles approved on the first submission. We’ve looked at past submission records to find the most common reasons why articles aren’t approved on the initial try. Since we know your time is precious, we’ve compressed this information into individual 2-minute videos.

This episode is a reminder of the number of links allowed in a submission and where those links can be placed.

Downloadable Versions:
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For those of you that don’t have two minutes to spare, here’s a brief outline of the second “2 Minute Approval Tip”:

  • 2 Self-Serving and 2 Non Self-Serving Links – A self-serving link is any link that you have a vested interest in promoting. A non self-serving link is a link that you do not have a vested interested in promoting but adds value to the article.
  • Less Means More When Including Links – It isn’t necessary to include 2 self-serving links in every article. Including links that are unrelated to the topic usually makes the article appear spammy.
  • Keep Links Below the Fold – “Below the fold” refers to the way a newspaper is folded across the middle to cut front page stories in half. In this case, links must be kept out of the first 3 paragraphs of text (the area above “the fold”) to keep your readers’ attention.
  • Try to Limit Self-Serving Links to the Resource Box – Only 1 self-serving link is allowed in the body of an article. Including more than this will get your article rejected.

Watch for more “2 Minute Approval Tips” in the coming weeks. Or click here to view tip #1. And before you submit your next quality original article, leave us a comment to share one of your own approval tips.


Sonia writes:

Thanks Marc for providing yet another great video on first article submission tips. I learned a lot today by watching this “2 Minute Approval Limit Your Links” video. I had no idea we were allowed only 2 self serving links and 2 non self serving to submitted articles. This will help me for my next article submission. Great information…looking forward to the next video :-)

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 12:16 PM


Bob Brown writes:

Thanks for sharing that. Mostly I have simply done the two self-serving links in the resource box.

I do believe that non-self serving links can add value and will look for using those where appropriate.

It sound like it might be a good idea to place a self-serving link in the article body, but the only way to know for sure will be to test and see if it helps or hurts.

Love your background and the cool countdown tool with the presentation screen. Perhaps you could write an ariticle about how you set that up.


Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 12:23 PM


Charles Miller writes:

Thanks for these tips; lets all of us know what to do and not to do!

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 1:09 PM


Pheori Wiley writes:

This was a very helpful 2 minute tip. I’m loving this series so far. I learned that I can place a self-serving link within the body of my article; a fact which I did not know. I knew that I could place two links in my resource box, but I always thought that links in the article body were strictly forbidden, self-serving or not. It’s good to know that I am allowed two non-self serving links when I’d like to share some good information with readers.

Looking forward to more of these top-notch 2 minute tips!

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 1:15 PM


Melanie writes:

I love the idea of a “two minute tips” series. Two minutes is about all I have during the course of the day, LOL, and this makes it easy to use that free time wisely. :D

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 1:23 PM



Thanks Marc,
Appreciate the tips and the short format!! ;)

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 1:30 PM


EyeSpyPro writes:


Great tips, as we try to keep them relevant, always below the fold, and really just in the resource box.


Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 1:58 PM


Dave Huston writes:

Great help as I preparing a article. I will use this guidelines.

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 2:19 PM


Donna Patterson writes:


I was totally confused on the difference between the links and how and where to include the links.

Your answers: Priceless


Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 3:05 PM



Hi Marc,

I would have to go back and read every article you’ve published but I don’t believe I ever used a self-serving link because it’s taken me this long to figure out what it actually meant!

This video made using links very clear and for that I thank you because no one wants thumbs down when they are hoping for thumbs up for article acceptance.

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 3:24 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I believe these rules are good policy and really decent advice for authors anyway even if it wasn’t a rule.

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 8:36 PM


Bernard Yao writes:

Can someone correct me if I am wrong, but Marc is saying we are technically allowed up to 3 self serving links for all our articles? 2 have to remain in the Resource box as usual and now we are allowed to include 1 more link inside the article body? The thing is the article body does not allow the link tags so I’m not sure how you create the link. Can anyone help out on this? Thanks in advance.

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 9:14 PM


I’m afraid you misunderstood. For each article, you may have a TOTAL of 4 links – only 2 may be self-serving and 2 may be non-self-serving. Sorry for any confusion.


Bernard Yao writes:

Thanks for clarifying that Marc.


Lynn Hahn writes:

Another great tip. I absolutely love all of your help! Thank you sooo much!

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 9:40 PM


Bill Moore writes:

The One Minute Manager has been gazumped by the Two Minute EzineArticles video! Well played. Keep them coming. (And it was nice to watch something on the screen that did NOT include Oksana and Mel!)

Comment provided July 21, 2010 at 10:10 PM



That’s great tip to help my articles approved on the first submission..thanks for the tip

Comment provided July 22, 2010 at 5:53 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I’d like to add that one should be quite careful about the reference links they leave. You see, websites come and go, but you want your articles to be evergreen, and therefore if that website goes, the link is dead and that reflects directly on you, often ruining your article. See that point, so don’t be too quick to throw lots of external links in the article that you don’t have control over, because they may soon go offline and then you have to go fix your article, meanwhile you look stupid.

FYI: just because it is a government site doesn’t mean that page will be there in the future. NASA changed all their websites, and killed 2/3 of their links a couple years back. Stuff also comes and goes off the Presidential Website location.

Comment provided July 22, 2010 at 7:09 PM


K Jones writes:

I dont like to put links in my article, I keep it in the resource box. I do not do deep linking. So – the whole domain would have to disappear before my link becomes dead. Pages do change, heck, I revamped my website twice in four years – so there ya go!


Pheori Wiley writes:

That is an excellent point you made about the links perhaps coming up broken over time. I was thinking of how this could be remedied and several ideas came to mind. First, I am not sure if articles can be edited once they have been published. Perhaps someone can answer this for me? If they can be edited, then it would be a simple task for less-prolific writers to just check their links occasionally and repair them if needed. For more prolific writers, though, this poses quite a problem.

Maybe the future will bring a link-checking feature to EzineArticles? Perhaps an alert for broken links? I’m not too sure of how difficult something like that would be to implement or even if it is feasible. It was just a thought that came to mind as I considered this problem. The only other solution I could think of was to avoid the non self-serving links altogether and the credibility and wealth of information they could potentially offer an article and its readers. I’m not sure which is the better option at this point; place a link to further reading, hope that it stays active and risk that it doesn’t or simply write with authority on the topic with just a brief sentence or two stating your qualifications in the resource box?

As your NASA example proves, you really can’t even trust links from well-established sites. I suppose I can simply use them anyhow and try my best to keep after them for myself. Still the question of whether or not articles are editable after publication looms. I have one published article, it has an edit button, but will the edit option disappear after my article has been live for a set period of time? I sadly do not have enough experience with EzineArticles to know the answer to this.



I’m happy to report that we already have that link-checking feature you’re wishing for. Check out these two links for more information:




Debby Beachy writes:

Thanks Marc
This helps me to understand!
Warm Regards
Debby Beachy

Comment provided July 23, 2010 at 1:30 PM


Susan writes:

Great tips. Very useful for me and our website. Thanks

Comment provided July 26, 2010 at 5:24 AM


Thomas Reidy writes:

I like your 2 minute videos, they are succint and easy to follow. Yet, I have received reports from EzineArticles that a link is broken when it’s not. The article goes offline until it is corrected. I hope that EzineArticles will improve its tracking software.

Comment provided July 26, 2010 at 5:58 AM


Tin Piano Man writes:

Well, this advice conflicts with what’s on the Editorial Guidelines page under f) WEBSITE URLS/LINKS part iii, which says:

Confine your self-serving links to your RESOURCE BOX.

So can we take it the blog is more up to date than the guidelines page?

Guess I’ll start submitting some articles with self-serving URLs in the body and see what happens

Comment provided July 26, 2010 at 2:32 PM


Tin Piano Man,

There are “guidelines” and there are soft/hard rules.

Notice that we don’t call our “Editorial Guidelines” as “Editorial Rules” … because they are in most cases, guidelines… and not rules.

If EzineArticles was completely automated instead of nearly 50+ Editors who work to review every article twice to ensure they meet the ‘guidelines’… then there would be no gray area…only rules.

The guideline asks you to put your self-serving links in the Resource Box because this is what we consider to be the “ideal” place to put resources for the reader.

The rule is that your self-serving link if included in the article body, must be at the bottom of your article body.

We don’t publish this rule because we’d prefer that you put your self-serving promotional links in the Resource Box.

Hope this helps.


Tin Piano Man writes:

Hi Chris

Thanks for the clarification. It always confuses me when I seem to be getting differing points of view, but you’ve cleared that up for me. As it happens, I’m with most of the other commenters here – the resource box is the most natural place for self-serving links anyway.


Vivian writes:

These articles and movies are great teaching tools. Thank you for providing this resource. I also learn a lot from the comments people make!

Comment provided August 13, 2010 at 11:50 PM


Renee writes:

Thanks for the great info. Love the video format. Very clear information packed into two minutes!

Comment provided September 29, 2010 at 10:17 PM


Frankie Cooper writes:

I’m already using the resource box with two self serving links but I have not used the non self-serving links though. It would be useful when writing tutorials, how to articles, or maybe informational articles. Thinking out load and this is a great tip.

Comment provided October 29, 2010 at 11:51 AM


Sofia writes:

Identifying quality non-self serving link resources for a reader is not difficult but often times overlooked because we sometimes forget who our audience is – people who are trying to gain knowledge in a certain area or niche. This video serves as a reminder to try and provide better quality info AND links for our readers. Great video!

Comment provided October 29, 2010 at 8:34 PM


Abruzzo Villas writes:

from an SEO perspective does it make any difference as to where you place your self serving links i.e. either below the fold or in the resource box? or does it make no difference at all?


Comment provided October 30, 2010 at 6:22 AM



Links above the fold look spammy and we reject for that. Your article is your GIVE and your resource box is your TAKE. The traffic that your article generates to your website is dependent on your ability to work with this concept.

I think this will help you understand a little more: http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2009/05/create-the-perfect-resource-box.html


Dilyana Varna writes:

Thank you sooo much!
Very useful for me and our websites.

Comment provided November 2, 2010 at 2:09 AM



Very informative Marc thankyou.
This posting and video you made does clarify for all of us to know about the limits of posting links in our articles. Thanks again.


Comment provided November 2, 2010 at 10:43 AM



Hope you will be making more videos for us Marc thanks

Comment provided November 2, 2010 at 10:45 AM


William Post writes:

Good one. I was not aware of the fact that we can do reference links too. This certainly contributes to article credibility when I cite external sources!

Comment provided February 8, 2011 at 12:07 PM


Hafid alakari writes:

love it you did make it simple .


Comment provided February 9, 2011 at 5:01 AM


Mary Morris writes:

Your two minute tips are spot on! Clears up a lot of confusion around the guidelines for including links. I am most appreciative that the links in the bio box are “dofollow”.

Comment provided February 9, 2011 at 3:15 PM


Mark Norris writes:

Cracking post. I was never sure about the links. I did however get my first article accepted so was pleased about that. Going to write my second one now.

Comment provided February 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM



Hi I wanted to know if there is an acceptable way to publish a press release with EzineArticles.com?

I have a new book release and want to distribute as many press releases as possible.

Comment provided May 23, 2011 at 7:46 PM



Thanks for this it was what I was looking for. It explained well what each of the links mean and what you are allowed clearly.


Comment provided May 25, 2011 at 9:58 PM


Craig writes:

great tips Marc. thanks a lot for your help!

Comment provided June 21, 2011 at 3:00 AM


Liuba Huzii writes:

Thank you so much for the detailed information. It helps to avoid mistakes and enjoy the process. Really useful!

Comment provided February 26, 2012 at 8:29 AM



Now I know my mistakes. Thank you EzineArticles for this tips!

Comment provided May 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM


tercume writes:

My article was not approved although I send it for approval two times and then ? have written to the support team of EzineArticles.com. They replied me as saying: “My web site’s language is not in English”
? think this is so unreasonable..!!

Comment provided May 26, 2012 at 7:16 PM


Tercume –

I’m sorry to hear that you think our policy is unreasonable. Please understand that we are an English language based site, therefore the bulk of our readers are English speaking. If an English-speaking reader reading an English article wants to find out more about you and your site, they will click on your link. For them to discover a non-English site would be a bad user experience for them. We are dedicated to creating a good user experience for all of our readers.

– Marc


Bob Bessette writes:

Could a non-self-serving link be considered another article I wrote that was already published on EzineArticles? Or would that be considered a self-serving link.

I would like to internally link to other EzineArticles I have already wrote but want to know if I do, that I can still have my two self-serving links in the Resource box.


Comment provided January 9, 2013 at 11:21 AM



A self-serving link is any link that you have an interest in, or benefit from. If you were to link to your article, whether on EzineArticles.com or another site, this would be considered self-serving because you would benefit by way of promotion and traffic.

A true non self-serving link would not directly benefit you, but rather would be provided as a resource for the reader. Non self-serving links are commonly .edu, .org, or .gov sites.

For more information on linking to pages on EzineArticles.com (which would count as self-serving links), we recommend: http://ezinearticles.com/editorial-guidelines/guideline/3f#ii-k



Yvonne Weier writes:

Thanks for such nice info.

Comment provided May 4, 2013 at 1:23 AM


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