Contextual Link Building: How To and Why It’s Important

Ed Pronley


April 20, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

If you’re creating a content marketing campaign, you’re probably looking for new ways to boost your search engine ranking, as well as your audience’s reception of your brand and authority. Luckily, there’s an easy way to accomplish both: contextual link building. Creating contextual links in your content can help improve your blogs and articles while providing insight into what your content is about for both search engines, like Google, and your target audience. In this article, we discuss:


What Is a Contextual Link?

Image via Pexels by Lukas

A contextual link is a link within a body of text that directs your audience to another webpage relevant to what they’re reading. Companies and brands often include contextual links into their content to build trust with their readers and create more calls-to-action within their blogs, articles, and webpages. There are two main types of contextual links a business might use for their website, including:

  • Internal links: Internal links lead people to other webpages on the same website. For instance, you might include a link in your blog post to one of your product pages, so the reader can follow it and easily make a purchase.
  • External links: External links lead people away from your site to another relevant domain. For example, if you give your readers a fact or statistic, you can link them to the source of the study.


Why Is Contextual Link Building Important?

There are a few benefits to using contextual links in your content:

Inform Google and Search Engines

Using contextual links helps inform Google and other search engines more about your business and the industry you operate in. That helps search engines display your content to people who could use it the most. It also helps them scan your content. When Google visits your webpage, it follows all of your internal links and continues to scan each page on your site that you link to. This helps the search engine develop a site map of your domain and understand the hierarchy of your webpages. It also helps Google understand what your company is selling to consumers or clients.

Improve Search Ranking

When you add contextual links to your content, it adds value to your reader’s experience. Not only does Google like that, but the search engine often rewards it with higher search rankings. That increases your organic traffic and exposes your website to more people. It’s also helpful to pair contextual links with other strategies to create even more high-quality content. That includes things like improving the content’s readability and providing researched, useful information to your readers. When doing so, you enrich your audience’s experience and give Google even more of a reason to boost your ranking, allowing you the ability to rank higher than your competition.

Related: What Is Search Engine Positioning and Why Does It Matter?

Develop Relationships with Other Businesses

Adding special contextual links to your content, known as reciprocal links, can help build relationships with other businesses and boost your site’s ranking even more. Reciprocal links occur when two businesses agree to host a backlink to each other’s websites on their own domain. For instance, a book publishing company might agree to host a link for a local bookstore and the bookstore might agree to host a link for the publishing company. The two businesses aren’t direct competitors, so the reciprocal links create a mutually beneficial relationship.

When another website links to your own, it shows search engines that the website approves of your domain and the content you create. That helps to increase your ranking even more and get your content in front of more people. That’s why building relationships with other businesses and creating reciprocal links is helpful. It’s also a fairly popular marketing strategy. In fact, 73.6% of domains currently have reciprocal links with other businesses. And 43.7% of the top-ranking pages also have reciprocal links of some kind.

Increase Credibility

When you link to other credible sources, it can help you improve your own site’s credibility, especially if you link to authoritative domains. Domains with more authority on the internet are any website that a lot of people trust. This includes websites with a lot of traffic, low bounce rates, and a ton of backlinks, such as Wikipedia, New York Times, and the Center for Disease Control. As you can see, authoritative websites often fall under government or news-related domains. But that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones out there.

If you find other blogs or resource articles from other trustworthy sources in your industry, those can also be great sites to link to. That allows you to share important industry information and facts with your audience while building relationships with other businesses in your field. Your readers often appreciate this, spending more time on your site and improving your search engine ranking.

Build Trust with Audience

Because contextual links increase your credibility, they also help to increase your audience’s trust in your brand and content. When you link to other websites outside of your own, you admit to your audience that you don’t have all the answers, but you know the best places to find them. This can humble your brand and show your readers that your business is one they can trust and turn to for quality information.

Even if you’re not providing all the facts or statistics yourself, you’re still demonstrating your industry expertise and knowledge. That’s especially true when you’re using outside sources to chunk information together instead of talking about every possible subject or sub-topic in one article. For instance, let’s say you’re writing an article on “the starter’s guide for dog ownership and care.”

You might think adding a section on every possible disease dogs can get and the symptoms to look out for might be a good idea. But in reality, that will make the content incredibly long and overwhelming for your audience. Instead, it’s helpful to link to other content or articles that can discuss that topic in depth. Then, you can focus your article on the main topic and ensure it’s an appropriate length for your target audience.

Read more: How To Build Trust Through Content Marketing

Create Quality Leads

As you establish credibility in your industry and build trust with your audience, you can also develop quality leads for your business. Quality leads are readers or audience members who are most likely to purchase a product or service. As you add high-quality contextual links to your content, readers who are most interested in following those links will click on them. When someone is interested in your content enough to explore it, they’re often better leads to target with your marketing compared to someone who reads your content and leaves.

When you identify these quality leads, you can attract them to powerful landing pages on your site, or entice them with other calls-to-action, like reading more content or signing up for your email newsletter. You can even create remarketing campaigns that show advertisements to your quality leads when they navigate away from your site to try to re-engage with them. This can increase your chances of bringing them back to your site and having them make a purchase.

How To Build Contextual Backlinks For Your Site

Here are some great ways to build contextual backlinks to your own domain and boost your SEO efforts:

1. Build Up Your Content

Before adding contextual links to your site, it’s helpful to create a powerful library of content. That includes things like blogs, resource articles, white papers, and infographics. When you develop a larger library of content, you create more webpages to direct your audience through contextual links. This allows you to keep your audience engaged with your brand and hopefully generate better leads for your business.

Having more content on your website also shows your audience that you’re a brand they can trust and turn to for a variety of industry information. That helps to establish your authority and credibility, which can attract even more people to your site and improve your search engine ranking.

Need help creating high-quality written content for your site? CopyPress has a team of expert writers, editors, and quality assurance specialists who can develop content for your business at scale. We know how to write content that fits within your brand and can adjust our efforts to meet your content production goals. Schedule a call with us today to see how we can help you boost your content creation.

2. Guest Post on Other Blogs

Guest posting on other blogs involves writing a blog post on another website that showcases your expertise in your industry. Most often, these blogs are hosted on websites or brands that operate in a similar field to your business but aren’t a direct competitor. For example, let’s say you own a pest control company. You might write a guest blog for a window company that talks about the importance of having strong, modern windows to keep out bugs and other pests.

The window company isn’t a direct competitor, but it allows them to further market and promote their business while you advertise your own. That’s because, when you write a guest post, the blog you’re writing for often allows you to include a backlink to your own website. This means that the company now hosts an external link to your site, which can improve its ranking.

3. Find Content Syndication Partners

Content syndication partners are other websites that republish your content on their domain. This often creates a mutually beneficial relationship for your brand and the other website. That’s because the website uses your content to boost its own library and deliver quality information to its audience while your brand receives more contextual backlinks that boost its ranking and reception.

When another website republishes your content, Google prefers the website to add a link to the original article or blog post. That provides your webpage with a backlink and another way for people to find your website and brand. There are a few ways to look for potential syndication partners, including researching blogs or websites that target a similar audience and building a partnership or relationship with them.

Looking for a place to start your research or partnership opportunities? CopyPress offers a content marketing analysis tool that compares your website and its content with your top three competitors. Our analysis includes several pages of helpful information, including potential gaps in your content marketing strategy, as well as potential syndication partners we pair with your brand and target audience. Request your free content marketing analysis today to see which businesses you should be reaching out to.

“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”

Kevin Doory

Director of SEO at Auto Revo

4. Create Your Own Studies

Though citing other websites and sources is still helpful for your content and website, conducting your own studies that produce eye-opening industry facts can help build your authority even more. These studies also provide you with an opportunity to create internal links for your website. For instance, you can include a contextual link to the study in some of your own content when it’s relevant to show your readers exactly how you got your information.

And just like how you cite other websites as sources for your information, other websites will now link to you and your studies, creating more backlinks to your site. That can improve your ranking even more because other authoritative websites in your industry are constantly sharing your brand.

5. Conduct or Receive Interviews

When you conduct or receive interviews for your brand, it helps you develop more contextual backlinks for your site. For example, if you conduct an interview with an expert in your industry and host it on your site, that expert might link to the interview from their own site, promoting themselves and your brand in the process. It works the same way if you receive an interview, especially from an authoritative domain. After the website or business conducts the interview, they’ll often include a link to your website that audiences can follow to learn more about you and your business.

A great place to start the interview process is to ask industry experts for an interview, especially smaller businesses and brands. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship for you and them as you both can use the opportunity to boost your marketing efforts. Asking for interviews instead of offering them first also allows you to build stronger relationships with businesses where they might ask you for an interview later on.

Contextual Link Best Practices

Here are some additional tips to help you create the best contextual links:

Use Certain Keywords in Your Anchor Text

Including keywords in the anchor text of your contextual link can help search engines better understand where the link is taking readers. So, if you include an external link to a different website, it tells Google what’s on that webpage and why it’s relevant to your content.

If you create an internal contextual link, it’s also helpful to include keywords so Google can better rank and identify the content of that page. For example, let’s say you write an article that targets the keyword “inexpensive smart phones” and include a link to it in your most recent blog post. Including that keyword in the internal link’s anchor text will help Google know what keyword you’re trying to get that page to rank for.

Include Descriptive Phrases

Just like keywords help Google better understand links, descriptive phrases help your audience. Readers will often feel less inclined to click on a link if they’re not sure where it’s taking them. Using a simple, yet descriptive phrase of where the link will take them and what it will discuss can improve your content’s readability, as well as the reader’s satisfaction. Above all, it’s most important to ensure that the anchor text is in no way misleading. If a link takes a reader to somewhere they didn’t expect, it might lower their trust in your brand and its content.

So, if you’re linking to a fact or statistic, use that statistic as the actual anchor text for the contextual link. For example, let’s say you’re linking to a fun fact about dolphins, your anchor text could read “dolphins sleep with one eye open.”

Link To Authority

When linking to an external website, it’s almost always better to link to something with authority. If you send your readers to an unreputable or spammy website, they might lose trust in your brand. It can also lower Google’s trust in your content, which might reduce your search engine ranking.

When adding external links, it’s always helpful to focus on websites that have a general trustworthiness and authority, like those that end in .gov, .edu, and, .net. It’s also helpful to make sure that any commercial websites, which commonly end in .com, don’t have too many advertisements that might distract or annoy your audience.

Link To Value

Though it might make sense to provide your users with as many links and sources as possible, you also don’t want to distract from the actual content on the page or overwhelm your readers. Instead, focus on including contextual links when they provide the most value to your reader. It’s also helpful to remember a simple rule of thumb when creating written content: only use three to five contextual links for every 1000 words of text. This will ensure that you don’t overdo it with hyperlinks and instead focus on the value and quality of your content.

Contextual links are important for your written content because they provide both your readers and search engines with helpful information they need to better understand your website and brand. Start by building a strong library of written content and using both internal and external links, along with the above tips, to promote your business and its expertise in your industry.

Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

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