When it comes to link building, not all links are created equally. Some are better than others. Some types of links can even harm your SEO efforts. The gold standard is a contextual link. Known as a backlink in an article, context, paragraph, and anchor text relevant to the page to which you’re linking.
In other words, a contextual link makes sense. It points the reader to a relevant page with information of value to them. Contextual links are much more valuable than links that are out of context or even relegated to a sidebar or footnote on an otherwise relevant page. Contextual links are not easy to get, but they’re worth the effort.
The Risk of Improper Linking
Without question, a non-contextual link is improper. It’s simply not useful. In fact, it’s at the top of PureLinq’s list of backlink types to avoid. It’s all about context, but there are best and worst practices when putting a backlink into context.
If you don’t do it correctly, a contextual link can backfire. At best, it won’t help your page rank or user experience. At worst, it will lead to search engine penalties and lower your page rank. These are some of the typical mistakes people make when creating backlinks:
- Placing the link on a page that isn’t relevant, such as a link to tennis rackets on a page about paleo diets.
- Linking from a page with low authority and trustworthiness or even a bad reputation.
- Paying for a link to your site.
- Creating low-quality content that isn’t linkable
- Using anchor text that doesn’t make sense or using the exact text over and over again.
Google will notice if you don’t do links right. One or two spammy links won’t hurt but avoid them as much as possible. Too many poor links and the algorithm will downgrade your page or site, lowering your search rank domain authority.
Ultimately, you want to spend time linking correctly because it benefits your SEO efforts. To rise in page ranks and get more eyes on your website, you need solid and contextual backlinks.
The main reason that these links boost SEO is that they demonstrate value to a reader. Google wants to provide searchers with the best results. Which essentially means that they want to see that links between pages make sense. The algorithm penalizes unnatural, non-contextual links and rewards links in context because of the value to the searcher.
Contextual links show that your pages are relevant and also credible. They lead the reader where they expect to go, not to a random page on an entirely different topic.
The payoff can be huge with contextual links. Unfortunately, to get the benefits, you have to do a lot of work. Getting a bad link is easy. A high-value link is much more challenging to procure. You need to do several things to get a good link that is considered relevant and from a high-authority site:
- Research – A contextual link is a thoughtful link. Before placing one, you need to know the relevant websites and pages. This requires research and reading, analyzing keywords and anchor text, and looking up contact information for target sites.
- Anchor text – Relevance goes beyond finding the right website and page. You also need to make the anchor text relevant and meaningful. It takes time to craft anchor text that makes sense.
- Outreach – Once you have all the information, you have to convince website owners or content managers to place your link. Outreach is a careful dance that requires a carefully crafted email that they won’t simply delete.
While the legwork is significant, the payoff is enormous. Contextual links build SEO and page rank first and foremost. It also benefits your site in other ways. Good links lead to more clicks and more traffic to your site; they also provide greater visibility for your site, company, and brand.
Consistently providing relevant links increases your credibility and reputation through all these avenues; over time, this all builds toward a better site that not only ranks but always draws in readers and viewers.
Contextual Links – Always Worth the Leg Work
A lot goes into building contextual links, from avoiding mistakes to convincing someone to consider placement. The benefits are well worth the effort if you’re serious about building page rank and your set’s relevance and credibility. Put in the time, and you’ll get major results.