Lots has changed over the years with Google and other big search engines concerning their ranking signals. However, in 2018, quality back links still play a big part of good search ranking results. Whenever you read a blog or article, you are bound to see bits of text that have been hyperlinked. This might be keywords that you searched for or highlighting words that transport you to more information (such as a citation in research). This is known as a contextual link—and it has proven to be on the strongest SEO strategies known to the digital age. If you are not using the power of contextual links to your advantage, you are missing out on increasing your credibility and trust among users.
Not only should you be building contextual links into your website content, you need to be using the latest actionable tactics to bring in the most profit. But before we get into those strategies, let’s cover some of the basics.
What is a contextual link?
According to Neil Patel, contextual links are
“links that are surrounded by text in the body of content.”
And you can see an example of a contextual link in the line above. ‘Neil Patel’ has been hyperlinked to the very article containing that definition.
Benefits of Contextual Linking
- Not only can contextual links help users navigate your website by linking to older content or other pages, it optimizes the website by keeping everything connected. This effectively aids in lowering bounce rates.
- Contextual links aid search engines determine relevance of certain keywords.
- Create links to individual pages, effectively breaking up content into digestible pieces.
- Links can be to or from authoritative sources, aiding in increased credibility from both search engines and users.
- Contextual link building also impacts trustworthiness when linking to other websites, because it shows that you don’t have the answers for everything and aren’t plagiarizing.
- Linking in the appropriate places can guide the visitor farther along the buyer’s journey, thus increasing conversion rates.
- More links means more recognition. More recognition means more organic traffic. And you know what more traffic means? More sales!
Now that you know why contextual link building should be prioritized, here are seven tactics that will optimize your strategy:
Get Links from New or Low Authority Publications Too
While most people obviously want to aim for sites with a domain authority of 30 points or more (DA30+) because of the reputation involved, there is no reason for you to overlook the sleeping potential in new or lower authority publications (>DA30). You are actually selling yourself short when you overlook low authority sites. Why? Because when you are aiming for traffic from inbound links, a low authority or new site with an upward trend in organic growth gives you an advantage over stagnant high authority sites. The increase in value on a lower authority website can be ridden like a wave, whereas linking to high authority websites all the time is like surfing on a flat ocean. You get little to no momentum.
Plus, when it comes to growing your link profile, pursuing low authority blogs means you can help each other, gain trust, and also secure contributors that you have faith in for the future.
To check if a low authority blog is worth your time, use Ahrefs or SEMRush to see the estimated organic traffic. The steeper the slope in the results, the better. Once you find niche websites that are worthy of linking up with you, send them a proposal. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Enhanced Targeted Outreach
What is targeted outreach, first of all? Basically, you are sending out emails to prospective sites that have specific content with the hope of getting some of the content as reference to link back to your website.
For example, you might have written an article on the “the best cold weather tents.” You are going to want to get some contextual links from articles that rank for the same terms as “best cold weather tents,” “cold weather tents for backpackers,” or even “budget-friendly winter tents.” By doing so, you are supporting your claims and allowing readers to see additional resources.
That is how you approach these websites with the same content focus.
However, before linking, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the article I want to link to cover a much larger subject than mine? For example, you might want to link to a “winter camping guide” to broaden the subject on cold weather tents. You always want to make sure that the content has been discussed or included in the already existing article to make the link advantageous to both parties involved.
- Does the article already link to another brand name or service, similar to what I want to offer? If the webmaster/blogger is an affiliate who is promoting a specific brand, they might get compensated for link-building, which is advantageous to them.
- Is the page dynamic or static? In other words, is the page you wish to link to frequently updated or more of a database? The more dynamic the page is, the more chances you have of getting a link on that site. A more static page may not accept a link for the sake of timeliness.
When you want to exchange links with a website, take a look at the homepage. You might see a number of commercial links pointing to other products or services on the website. When these links are visible, there is a high chance that your offer will be accepted, too. However, not all homepage links are created equally. Before you ask to have a link to your website or article placed on the homepage directory, consider the following:
Is the anchor text keyword optimized? This usually denotes linking to a commercial page.
Is there a list of partnerships or affiliates? You will usually see this on e-commerce sites, retail, manufacturing, and other similar businesses that linked to partnered suppliers.
Are there recommended products or services?
When you have published a great piece of web content that fits into what another site’s homepage has listed already, there is a high chance of you getting a link as well. Should you get added to a homepage, the opportunity for you greatly increases.
Similar to the above tip, once you have starting developing your website and content, you will also start to receive asks from others who would like to be featured on your site.
An example of a pitch will be the person offering up content that matches yours in some way. Let’s call this Content A. Content A will work for your Content B and Page A. Then you see that on the other website, their Page D is a perfect fit for your Content C. This exchange of content and page links are your linkable assets.
Here is how to check if the partnership is going to benefit you:
- The link exchange pitch is professional. A decent pitch will have the content that the individual wants to link to as well as what you get in exchange.
- Assess the web page that has sent the offer. Do they have a proper domain name? What is their domain authority? Is the email address personal or a business?
- Discuss what pages you would use their links. Unless you are willing to develop new content to use their link in, the proffered link should match existing content on your site.
- Confirm you can also get a link on their website.
Linkable assets are indeed a tactic that comes into play once you start attracting offers to your site. Once this happens though, you will be able to climb to new heights of authority (and get more content for your site in the process).
Use Social Media to Get Favor
Links sometimes break or die, especially in roundups where a number of services might get shot down in a years time. When clicking through this content, you might find yourself thinking, “I could offer the same content to replace this link.” So, why don’t you?
Since social media is a must for all digital marketers and influencers, you are going to have a means of directly contacting the webmaster or author. Simply find a way to send them a personal message that states you found a broken link or an error. Don’t just send an email though. Engage with the person on social media, where reputation is at stake when they don’t respond quickly.
From there, you can curry some favor and might land a link on their website as a show of gratitude. Sure, it may be a long shot; but every shot you don’t take is considered a missed opportunity.
As mentioned above, link roundups are an excellent way to get your content featured on a higher authority website. In fact, one of the most popular strategies in contextual linking building is getting links from link roundups.
The process is simple. You use your search engine to find link roundups for a specific industry (your niche) with a targeted time frame (weekly, monthly, yearly). A bunch of blogs with link roundup opportunities will appear in on the results page. From there, you make a list of the blogs with roundups that suit your interests as well as the contact information for the webmasters.
Once you have the list, you start mailing out your pitches that state something like, “I found your link roundup and would like to know if you are interested in this content I have recently published on (a certain topic).” Be sure to include the link to said content.
Yet, this isn’t the most effective way of finding and securing links in a roundup. Go to high authority websites (DA60+) to check the different forms of link roundups, such as newsletters, social shares, and other top content. It is almost guaranteed that within that top-rated content, you will find links to roundup posts. Furthermore, you should check if that most-shared content has been included in roundup links. Be sure to grab those links then reconstruct your content for those other websites.
In the end, everything on the World Wide Web is based on content and data. Therefore, if you want more links, you need more content. Throughout the years, one of the best ways to secure high-end content from reputable resources is to have them contribute to your site. That hasn’t changed.
Look at some of the top blogs out there, such as The Penny Hoarder, Writer’s Weekly, Listverse, The Travel Writer’s Life, and more. All of them were boosted to top status because of the quality of contributed work from top-notch authors in the industry.
When you have contributors, not only are you able to keep your website updated all the time, you can create a massive community. The more content you gather, the more links your get naturally—simply because those bloggers are going to want to link it to their own blogs.
Get started by inviting contributors that you want. Send them emails. Ask if they are interested. Sometimes, it might take some wheedling, especially if you can’t over any form of compensation other than a link. If you are not at a high domain authority yet, you might get turned down.
In order to get writers on board with your suggestion, offer the following:
- Obviously, money is one of the easiest ways to rope anyone in.
- Increased exposure through social media, email subscriptions, and referrals. Newer bloggers (>DA20) will be more than happy to write for you if you can promise exposure.
- Content collaboration. This is great when both of your have busy schedules. Not only do collaborations cut down work for both parties, you also develop shared followings.
- Relationships. When it comes to developing a long time partnership with your contributors, see them as more than just content for your site. Support their own goals. Help out when possible. Relationships are wonderful, because once you have that, contextual link building falls into place easily!
Once you have contributors, you can focus on other linking building strategies.
There you have it: seven ways to build contextual links. When it comes to gaining momentum and growing your domain authority, having others bolster your efforts with links is one of the best methods around. Don’t overlook the power of an appropriately placed link. Though you might not have the time to incorporate all of these strategies, one or two will increase traffic and conversion rates for sure.