Is Contextual Link Building Helpful in 2023?

March 21, 2024
| Maria Harutyunyan |
8 Min Read
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The short answer is yes, contextual backlinks are helpful. Building contextual links helps websites earn:

  • More traffic
  • Higher rankings
  • Greater authority

Add all three of those up and what do you get? More sales!

So let’s dig into contextual link building, what it is, and how to do it right.

If you want to know more about how our agency can assist you in building a strong backlink profile for your website, schedule a call with our Head of SEO now.

What are Contextual Links?

Contextual links are relevant hypertext links embedded in content. Building contextual links is an effective SEO strategy. Doing so creates connections between related websites that your target audience likely visits. Contextual links also help strengthen backlink profiles. There are three types of links:

  • External links. These are outgoing links inside your content that point to another website.
  • Internal links. These are links inside your content that point to another page on your own website.
  • Reciprocal links. You link to someone else’s website, and they link to yours in exchange (or vice versa).

What’s important here is that the link has to point to a relevant webpage, otherwise it’s not “contextual.”

Here’s a quick example to demonstrate how it works. Let’s say you own a women’s health blog. In one of your articles, you link to a listicle about top fitness tips for women, like this:

contextual linking

That is a contextual link.

contextual link

That is also a contextual link.

Notice how the link makes sense and provides value to the reader?

Now, if you chose to link to an Alaskan fishing tour website instead, that’s NOT contextual. That’s because in this particular context, “Alaskan fishing” and “women’s health” don’t have anything to do with each other.

But … why does contextuality matter so much anyway?

Why Contextual Link Building Matters

Contextuality matters because Google’s algorithm can measure it. The search engine compares your website and the website that links to you (or vice versa).

Google likes it when you both work in a similar niche and cover similar topics. Plus, links TO your website help Google understand WHAT your website is all about. You can think of contextual links as “signals” about your:

  • Niche
  • Industry
  • Business

The more Google knows about your website, the higher you can rank for certain keywords.

Image Source:

This is also why “bad” or “spammy” backlinks don’t do you any good. Instead, contextual links should provide value, make sense, and link between relevant sources.

Best of all, if you can successfully build contextual links, you get tons of other SEO benefits …

How Contextual Link Building Helps SEO

Contextual link building is an effective SEO strategy that has a unique set of benefits. So let’s get into the top three ways contextual links help SEO:

Contextual links improve credibility

Building contextual links with high-authority sources provides value to your audience. And Google LOVES when you provide value! So what you get in return is more credibility of your own.

Contextual links promote higher rankings

Yes, you can rank higher for keywords by building contextual links. But there’s a catch! You have to use target keywords in anchor texts (without overdoing it).

anchor text

Contextual links attract targeted traffic

Traffic for traffic’s sake isn’t great. What you REALLY want is targeted traffic. These are people who are interested in your niche, business, or industry. In which case, they’re the most likely to convert into customers.

So when you build contextual links, you leave links to your website in places your target audience likely visits.

How to Build Contextual Links: Top Strategies to Try

Ready to learn how to get a contextual backlink? Here’s a list of the top seven tried-and-true link building strategies.

#1: Guest posting

You can earn contextual links by submitting niche-oriented guest posts to relevant, high-authority websites. In each guest post, be sure to include a link back to your own target page.

#2: Link insertion (aka niche edits)

Link insertion, or niche edits, is when your link gets embedded in relevant content that’s already published on another website. This means that there is no need to craft an article from scratch, you might only need to write a small paragraph to insert a link naturally. Don’t forget to optimize the anchor text!

#3: Broken link building

You can also earn contextual links by finding broken links on other websites. Reach out to the webmaster to let them know about the broken link. In your message, suggest they replace the link with one that points to your website instead.

broken link

#4: Unlinked brand mentions

Use Google Advanced Search to find websites that mention your brand name. Visit each source and take note of mentions where the webmaster doesn’t link to your website. In which case, reach out and request backlinks from each site to earn more contextual links.

#5: Newsworthy content

Bloggers and news sites search for “newsworthy content” all the time. If you can create a novel experience, there’s a chance these sites will pick up your story. In which case, you’ll likely earn a quality contextual link in the process as the creator. 

Pro Tip: You can also register with HARO (Help A Reporter Out). This site connects businesses with journalists directly to create and publish content.

#6: Podcast show notes

Most podcasts publish show notes along with each episode. Show notes sum up the episode, and link to advertised products or partner sites. You can earn contextual backlinks by co-hosting or sponsoring episodes for relevant podcasts.

#7: Interviews

Landing an interview is another great way to earn a contextual backlink. Research websites relevant to your industry that often publish interviews with business owners. In most cases, published interviews include backlinks.

Contextual Link Building Best Practices

When you’re ready to launch a contextual link campaign, there are some best practices to follow. Here are the top six guidelines we recommend:

#1: Choose relevant websites

As mentioned before, Google likes when similar websites link up. So if you’re in the beauty industry, it’s important you build contextual links with relevant websites. For example, beauty blogger Lauren Kay Sims links to skincare brand Drunk Elephant:

contextual link insertion

#2: Check website metrics

As you identify prospects, we recommend you double-check their SEO metrics. More specifically, look at their domain rank (DR) and domain authority (DA).


ahrefs metrics


moz metriucs

Links from other websites to your web pages are called backlinks. Google sees these backlinks as a “seal of approval” between two websites. And the higher the domain authority another website has, the better off you are when they link to you. Ultimately this is what helps you rank higher and earn more traffic.

Pro Tip: High DA and DR are important, but they aren’t everything. For example, backlinks from a high-authority website still have to be RELEVANT to your niche. It’s also recommended that you …

#3: Check backlink profiles

Quantity and quality matter when it comes to backlink profiles. This is why it’s critical you run a backlink analysis to measure how many backlinks another website has. Remember to check the quality of each backlink as well.

ahrefs backlink profile

The reason this is important is that the quality of backlinks you earn makes up your own backlink profile. So if you only earn backlinks from spammy sites, your profile won’t be as strong.

#4: Personalized outreach

Whether you reach out to prospects by hand, or with a custom tool, it’s important you personalize your message. A “cookie-cutter” approach to prospect outreach won’t work.

Instead, personalize every pitch to increase your chances of earning a contextual backlink. You can use this pitch template to get started:

#5: Outreach follow-ups

When you reach out to prospects for contextual links, it’s important you send follow-ups. These are messages that bring your email to the top of their inbox. They serve as gentle reminders and can increase the chance of getting a response. Here’s a template to get started:

follow-up link buidling

#6: Anchor text

As you earn contextual links across the web, pay close attention to the anchor text. This is the text that your link gets embedded in.

anchor text sample

In the example above, “HARO (Help A Reporter Out)” is the anchor text and it links to the named resource.

We recommend you use long-tail keywords OR highly descriptive keywords in each anchor text. The reason for this is that it helps rank your website for those keywords. Plus, it describes the endpoint to website visitors (and Google).

But don’t overdo anchor text optimization! Instead of overstuffing anchor text with keywords, we recommend these methods:

  • Exact-match
  • Partial-match
  • Branded
  • Naked links

Above all, we recommend you talk with a contextual link building strategist to start out-ranking your competitors ASAP.

Final thoughts on Contextual Backlinks

Quality contextual backlinks yield higher domain authority, more traffic, and higher rankings. Better yet, all of these benefits help you earn more sales!

So here’s a quick list of effective contextual link building strategies you can start using right now:

  • Guest posts
  • Link insertion (niche edits)
  • Broken link building
  • Unlinked brand mentions
  • Newsworthy content
  • Podcast show notes
  • Interviews

As you use those strategies, remember to follow these contextual backlink best practices:

  • Choose relevant websites
  • Check SEO metrics
  • Analyze backlink profiles
  • Personalize prospect outreach
  • Send follow-ups
  • Optimize anchor texts

Want to build an even stronger backlink profile? Check out the Loopex Digital blog for more info on link building and SEO. Don’t forget to bookmark the blog and check back regularly for important updates!

Maria Harutyunyan

Our blog covers a combination of industry trends and professional insights from behind-the-scenes experiences. We provide weekly updates on link building, content marketing, on-site and technical SEO, and more! Sign up for our newsletter and join our LinkedIn to be on top of industry trends!

Maria Harutyunyan
Our blog covers a combination of industry trends and professional insights from behind-the-scenes experiences dealing with every aspect of SEO. We provide weekly updates on topics such as link building, content marketing, on-site and technical SEO and more! Don’t miss any industry updates by signing up for our newsletter! You’ll also receive exclusive SEO strategies and learn about industry secrets like:

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