There’s more to link building than simply accumulating a large number of backlinks. Yes, quantity matters, but successful link building is really about about securing links that are relevant, high-quality, and genuinely add value to your content.
That’s where contextual links come in. Contextual links are embedded in content that is relevant to the linked page, making them feel like a natural extension of the content — perfect for the reader to click on!
In this article, we’ll delve into four actionable strategies to help you acquire these valuable links, ensuring that you’re well-equipped to boost your website’s authority and rankings.
Let’s dive into the world of contextual link building and explore how it can be a game-changer for your digital presence.
- A contextual backlink is a hyperlink embedded naturally within content, providing value by connecting to thematically related information.
- Varieties include internal vs. external and dofollow vs. nofollow links, plus different anchor text types like exact match, partial match, and branded.
- Contextual links boost user engagement, clickthrough rates, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They also increase domain authority and SERP ranking due to their high quality, relevance, and increase in organic traffic.
- To build a contextual link, consider networking with content curators, interviewing authority figures, creating high-quality, link-worthy content, and choosing relevant websites for linking.
- Avoid spammy commenting, over-optimizing anchor texts, and neglecting opportunities from unlinked mentions to uphold the integrity and efficacy of contextual link-building.
- Use a variety of link types, ensure relevance, and avoid disruptive or overly promotional linking to sustain user trust and SEO value.
- BacklinkManager offers the only link building CRM that helps you build, manage and monitor your contextual links at scale. You can use it to monitor up to 250 links for free– sign up now!
What is a Contextual Link?
A contextual link is a type of hyperlink that is embedded within the body of content and surrounded by text relevant to the linked page. It isn’t just placed randomly; it flows seamlessly with the content, making it feel like a natural extension that is valuable for readers to click on.
The main characteristics of a contextual link are:
- Relevance: The surrounding text and the linked page share a thematic connection.
- Natural Flow: The link fits seamlessly into the content, aiding the narrative rather than disrupting it.
- Value-Driven: It offers additional information or resources, enhancing the user’s experience and knowledge.
For example, suppose you are reading a blog post on optimizing website performance, and you encounter the sentence:
“Leveraging advanced analytics tools can provide deeper insights into user behavior and traffic patterns.”
Here, “advanced analytics tools” could be a contextual link leading to a page reviewing various analytics tools beneficial for website optimisation.
Contextual links can be distinguished from links that are arbitrarily placed with the sole intention of garnering clicks or pushing the reader towards a purchase. Unfortunately, the digital landscape is cluttered with such links that disrupt the user experience, providing little to no real value, and are often glaringly obvious attempts to drive sales or clicks.
How Do You Create a Contextual Link?
Building a contextual link begins with embedding a hyperlink into a portion of your text. Technically, this involves utilising HTML code, specifically the “a” tag. For instance, if you want to link to “example.com” using the anchor text “Click here,” you would code it as follows:
<a href=”http://www.example.com”>Click here</a>.
Choosing appropriate anchor and internal linking text is crucial. The anchor text should be relevant to the linked content and the surrounding text, guiding readers to additional information without disrupting their reading flow. For instance, if you’re linking to a page about SaaS revenue sources, using anchor text like “effective revenue sources” is likely more pertinent than simply “Click here.”
What are the different types of contextual links?
Contextual links come in a few different varieties, as follows:
Internal vs External
- Internal Links: These are links that go from one page on a domain to a different page on the same domain. For example, a blog post on your website about SEO strategies might internally link to your own internal web page detailing SEO services.
- External Links: These are links that go from one domain to a different domain. They are often used to provide additional information or cite sources, such as linking to a study or a relevant article from another website. External links can help build credibility and are an essential factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.
Dofollow vs. Nofollow
- Dofollow Links: By default, all links are dofollow, meaning they pass link juice from one page to another, contributing to the linked page’s authority and your overall search rankings. They signal to search engines that the linked content is credible and relevant.
- Nofollow Links: These links include a “nofollow” attribute, instructing search engines not to pass link equity, thus not contributing to the linked page’s SEO ranking. Note that nofollow links still hold value, as they can drive traffic and increase visibility.
Anchor Text Variations
- Exact Match: This type of anchor text is the exact keyword or phrase that you are trying to rank for. While it can be beneficial for SEO, overuse can lead to penalties for being too spammy.
- Partial Match: This anchor text includes the main keyword or phrase but is not an exact match, such as “best SEO practices” for a page targeting “SEO practices”. It’s less risky than exact match but still effective for SEO.
- Generic: This anchor text uses a generic word or phrase, such as “click here” or “learn more”. While it may not contribute directly to SEO ranking for specific keywords, it is essential for a natural and diverse link profile.
- Branded: This anchor text uses the brand name, and it’s a great way to build brand awareness while maintaining a natural link profile.
- Naked URL: This anchor text is simply the URL itself, such as “www.example.com”. It’s natural and straightforward, but offers limited SEO benefit for specific keywords.
Benefits Of Contextual Linking
Contextual linking offers your website numerous benefits, both in terms of the user experience and in terms of long-term SEO.
Enhanced User Experience and Engagement
Contextual links provide readers with additional information, seamlessly integrated into the content they are already browsing through. As a result, contextual links both improve user understanding of whatever they’re reading and also foster engagement by giving people something to click on if they want to learn more.
A website that uses numerous contextual links in this manner to create content is likely to be perceived as more authoritative and trustworthy than one that just links random pages arbitrarily in an attempt to drive clicks and/or revenue.
This feeling of trust translates into a higher likelihood of users clicking on your links, resulting in improved clickthrough rates and better conversion rates, particularly the links you’re using contextually are affiliate links pointing to product pages.
SEO Benefits of Contextual Links
Search engines such as Google place a premium on the relevance and value of content. Research by Search Engine Journal suggests a high probability that contextual links are a ranking factor in search results — and perhaps even an under-appreciated one.
Contextual links are interpreted by search engines as high-quality connections between the content and the linked page, and thus signal that the content is valuable and relevant. This is in stark contrast to non-contextual links, which are sometimes viewed as spammy, since they provide no additional information and can even disrupt the reader’s experience.
Furthermore, there is a well-established correlation between acquiring quality backlinks and enhanced domain authority. For search engines, contextual links are precisely the sort of quality links that they’re looking for, since they are both content-rich and relevant. It follows that the more contextual links you acquire, the higher search rankings, the more authoritative your domain will become, and the higher you will rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The long-term benefits of elevated domain authority are substantial. Websites with higher domain authority are more likely to be trusted by users and other websites alike, leading to more organic traffic, improved brand reputation, and increased opportunities for collaboration and backlinking.
How to Get Contextual Links
1. Connect with content curators for contextual links
Connecting with content curators is a great way to acquire contextual links that benefit both your SEO and user engagement. Building a symbiotic relationship with content curators will not only boost your site’s visibility, but will also land you links in high-quality, relevant content that matches your target audience.
Before you ask for favours from content curators, consider creating an initial touchpoint by first sharing their content or providing constructive comments.
As you gradually nurture a professional relationship, the time will eventually come when you want to reach out directly to solicit placement of a contextual backlink . In instances where the curator’s email address is not listed publicly, you’ll need to use tools like Hunter to find their contact details.
Your outreach email should be succinct, articulating the synergy between your content and theirs, and how embedding your contextual link can provide added value to their audience. This is where the earlier rapport-building pays off — your communication should remind them of the genuine interactions and the value you’ve provided in previous engagements.
Securing a place within a curator’s content often necessitates providing something of reciprocal value. In many cases, this can take the form of financial compensation, where you sponsor content or pay for your link to be placed within their curated materials. Another potent strategy involves link swapping, whereby you offer to place their link within your own content in exchange for reciprocal links from them doing the same, creating a reciprocal relationship that can bolster the SEO efforts of both parties.
2. Interview authority site owners
Interviewing authority site owners can be a solid strategy to acquire contextual backlinks while tapping into the credibility these leaders have built within the industry. Whether the interviews are conducted through podcast episodes or insightful guest posts, these interviews serve a dual purpose: not only does they provide SEO value, but the association with recognised figures also bolsters your own site’s credibility and authority.
But let’s be real: getting the attention of these industry authorities, especially those with a significant following, is no walk in the park. They likely receive numerous requests similar to yours, so how do you break through the noise? Your outreach needs to be straightforward, relatable, and, most importantly, offer something of tangible value to them.
Leverage is key in this equation. This could be a mutual contact who can introduce you, or it could be a topic you propose that you know will pique their interest based on their recent work or unexplored areas in their field.
Ensuring that your interview offers genuine value and isn’t merely a vehicle for backlink acquisition is crucial. The links should weave organically into the conversation or article, providing a resource for additional information rather than appearing self-serving.
3. Create backlink-worthy content
Regardless of the strength of your outreach and networking efforts, securing valuable backlinks will likely fall flat if your content fails to uphold a high-quality standard and deliver genuine reader value.
Link-worthy content means diving deep into topics (1000 words should be seen as a minimum), and exploring untouched angles rather than regurgitating what’s on the first page of Google.
Directly addressing your audience’s interests and pain points is non-negotiable. The content must resonate, providing solutions and value without becoming a blatant sales pitch. Every link embedded within the content should serve a dual purpose: to augment the user experience and to deliver additional, relevant information seamlessly.
Visual appeal also plays a pivotal role in creating linkable content. Compelling visuals not only break up text to enhance readability but also amplify shareability and link potential. With advancements in AI technology, creating and choosing images that amplify your content’s message has become more straightforward, even for non-designers.
If you balance all these aspects — readability, depth, uniqueness, contextual relevance, and visual appeal — your content will naturally become a magnet for contextual links. Not because you’re outright asking for them, but because your content inherently possesses the qualities that make others want to share, reference, and build upon it.
4. Choose relevant websites
If you’re looking to build a contextual link, relevancy matters a lot. A link from a prominent authority site might seem tempting, but if it lacks context or comes from a website unrelated to your industry, its values diminishes. There are three main ways to think about relevancy in link building:
Site-wide Relevancy: Does the entire website or platform discussing a similar industry or topic as yours? For instance, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform should aim for backlinks from technology or business-oriented websites.
Page Level Relevancy: Even within a relevant site, the specific page you’re linked from matters. For instance, a SaaS for inventory management should ideally get links from relevant pages discussing inventory challenges, not a page about company culture.
Paragraph Level Relevancy: Your external link above should fit seamlessly within the paragraph, serving as a logical extension to the information being presented. It shouldn’t feel forced or out of place.
Common Mistakes When Building Contextual Links
Spammy blog commenting
When you first get started with link building, it can be tempting to leave tons of comments on relevant websites in an attempt to build lots of links quickly. This is a tactic that rapidly backfires.
Leaving comments purely for the sake of planting backlinks is widely recognized as a form of spam. It disrupts the natural flow of genuine discussions and can even tarnish the reputation of your website in the eyes of readers or other website owners and administrators.
Google and other search engines are proficient at identifying these types of manipulative strategies and may impose ranking penalties. And even if you do somehow manage to acquire links this way, the backlinks acquired through such spammy practices are typically of low SEO value, as most blog comment sections utilise “nofollow” link attributes which don’t pass PageRank.
Over-Optimizing Anchor Text
When the same anchor text is used excessively across numerous backlinks, especially if it’s a keyword for which you’re trying to rank, search engines may interpret this as a manipulative tactic, and it could trigger penalties that hinder your SEO performance.
Over-optimized anchor texts lack the natural variability and diversity found in organic linking patterns. Moreover, this practice detracts from the user experience by not offering varied, descriptive, or relevant link descriptors that aid in understanding the context of the linked content.
To avoid this issue, try incorporating a mix of exact match, partial match, branded, and natural anchor texts (such as “click here” or “learn more”) throughout your content. Creating anchor texts that are relevant and provide clear context while avoiding repetitive keyword stuffing ensures a robust, penalty-resistant link-building strategy that caters equally to search engines and users.
Not capitalising on unlinked mentions
Unlinked mentions refer to instances where websites or online platforms mention your brand or product without providing a direct hyperlink to your website. Overlooking these mentions is often a missed opportunity to build a contextual link.
By converting these unlinked mentions into active links, you not only harness the SEO benefits of backlinks but also ensure that readers can directly access your site from a context that’s already discussing your brand – a setting that’s inherently relevant and natural. Proactively seeking out these mentions and reaching out to the respective site owners for linking can significantly bolster your link profile with minimum effort.
Building contextual links is a great way to elevate your user experience and boost your SEO in the process. Doing this properly requires a balance of well-crafted content, strategic placements, and avoiding common pitfalls like spammy comments and over-optimised anchor text. Ensuring your links are relevant, valuable, and diverse is a great way to build your site’s authority in the digital landscape.
If you’re looking for a way to build contextual links at scale, consider taking a look at BacklinkManager. Our software helps you manage link building partnerships and ensure that any links built stay up. Why not grab a free demo today?