Contextual Link Building: 6 Must-Use Strategies for 2023
By: Dileep Thekkethil
Updated On: March 21, 2023
So, we meet once again.
This time, I’m going to open yet another pandora’s box.
I’m sure some SEO agencies are going to hate me for writing this.
Yes, as you know, contextual link building is not the forte of all agencies.
But for us here at Stan Ventures, it is! And that’s why we are ranking all the way on the top for our blogger outreach service. (Proof Below)
Today, we are going to discuss Contextual Backlink Building.
You have been told multiple times that contextual link building is important for SEO success.
I’m going to take you to the next level of this – knowing how to do contextual backlink building.
Are you hearing the term “contextual link building” for the first time?
Have you already invested in link building?
If both the answers are YES, you might want to go back and check with your outreach partner why this term never came up during the discussions.
If they look at each other just like this, something is wrong!
Contextual backlink is a term that often pops up during discussions with Google executives.
Possibly, this is one of the few terms from the ranking factor that Google confirms exists.
I have found contextual links and quality are the two terms that Google reveals for free to SEOs.
You may already know that Google’s top-secret ranking signals are hard to crack.
Thank you, SearchMetrics, for that infographic
What you are looking at is just the tip of the iceberg.
Google says it has 200+ ranking signals. And that’s a shot through the heart for SEOs like me.
Ever wondered why Google wants people to know about the importance of contextual backlink?
Because the whole search works based on two core principles: relevance and quality.
Google does a lot of Algorithm shakeup every year.
All these algorithm updates are intended to make the search results more relevant.
The results you see in the SERP appear there because of its contextual relevance to the search query you entered.
This is the same case with paid ads too!!
To sum it up, contextual relevancy is all-pervasive in SEO, and it’s no different when it comes to link building.
What is the Definition of Contextual Backlink?
Contextual Link is the quality signal of the backlink that you get from another site.
So, how does Google understand the contextual backlink?
For a search engine behemoth like Google, this is now easy.
(Hate or like, their Penguin Algorithm for putting us through this.)
The contextuality of a link is calculated based on the similarity between the two sites.
Google is able to check this similarity based on the business, niche, and topics covered.
Webmasters used black hat techniques to trick the PageRank algorithm during the early days,
They found shortcuts to rank higher by building backlinks from totally irrelevant websites such as the link farms that you see below.
Google decided to end the reign of such blackhat SEOs.
They introduced the Penguin Algorithm in 2012.
Thus, link relevancy became an important metric for building backlinks.
Fast forward to 2020, and Penguin is now part of Google’s core algorithm.
It has undergone a sea change ever since it was inducted into the core algorithm.
Google understands a website by looking at the links that it’s getting.
Links give Google enough signals about your niche, and it’s industry relevance.
That’s how Google gets to know about the topical relevance of web pages to the search queries entered by the target audience.
While links are good for your website to rank higher on Google, it can be a bane if you get a lot of irrelevant backlinks.
Worse if these backlinks are spammy.
Consider this example: You’re running a financial website that offers instant loans.
(I took this example because I still get a lot of comment spams from sites in this niche.)
And you are getting links from an SEO blog.
This is the classic example of irrelevant backlinks.
You can see there is zero business, niche, or topic relevance in such links, and like you and me, Google also understands this.
Authority of the Domain, Traffic, or Relevancy, Which is More Important?
Links built to your site are usually selected based on the domain’s authority or the traffic it receives.
Only a very few link building agencies like Stan Ventures gives you 100% relevant backlinks.
So which one should you give more emphasis to?
- Domain Authority
- Organic Traffic
- Link Relevancy
Without a doubt, backlinks from a relevant site.
The two other factors are also important because they determine the overall quality of the site.
But getting a link from a quality site with the least relevancy will not pass much SEO juice.
If you invest in link building, make sure to select authority links that qualify all three metrics.
If you’re looking for high-quality, relevant backlinks, just hit us in the live chat below.
How to Determine the Relevance and Context of Backlinks?
Let me make this really simple.
Any site that links back to you, which has the potential to give you referral traffic, is usually relevant.
This is a straightforward way of identifying relevant links.
Because only a naturally relevant site gets the attention of your target audience and can give you referral traffic.
But before I continue any further, let me make one thing clear:
Getting a backlink from sites like CNN or Washington Post is beyond the concept of link relevance.
These sites have very high authority, and their audience base is heterogeneous.
This means that whatever be the niche you’re targeting, there are people who are interested in the links placed on such sites.
Consider them as highly contextual links because these authority links are not usually built but earned.
That’s why we call them editorial backlinks.
How Google Calculates Context and Relevance of a Link?
It’s mostly believed that Google’s algorithms have been trained to sniff out relevance from the links.
But until now, SEOs debate how.
Earlier, it was believed that Google used the anchor text alone for relevancy.
That was when the black hats exploited the search engines.
We saw sites ranking higher by building irrelevant links using exact match anchors.
This undoubtedly doesn’t work anymore.
Some might hate, but yes, that was meant to happen because of the rampant manipulations made by SEOs.
However, there are a few theories that are doing the rounds about link relevancy and contextuality.
Looking at the way Google has transformed its Algorithm, some of these theories seem valid.
The most widely believed theory surrounding link relevancy is Topical Relevance.
What’s Topical Link Relevancy?
Link relevancy is closely associated with contextual content.
Since Google started using the Hummingbird Algorithm, the focus shifted from keyword-rich articles to contextually relevant articles.
Google now understands semantically related terms.
Thanks to the BERT Algorithm, even the meaning of sentences is now within the capabilities of Google search.
This means understanding the topical relevance of the content in its entirety is easy for Google.
What this also means is that it can analyze the relevance of the links within the content.
It’s also worth noting that Google had claimed a patent by the name Reasonable Surfer.
It’s aimed at ranking web pages/documents based on the different features of a link from a linking document/page to a linked document/page.
Interestingly, the patent also says that it can track the user behavior data relating to navigational actions associated with the link to assign a rank.
Basically, Google understands the topical strength of each website, and if the site gives an external link to a contextually irrelevant page that is out of its topical strength, the link juice passed gets severely affected.
So, what does it mean for you?
If an SEO agency built backlinks to a site using Private Blogging Networks or through random article submissions, Google might not enforce a manual action.
However, these links will not improve the search rankings, and there is a high chance that Google may demote such pages.
How Does Contextual Link Building Work?
Topical link relevancy is one of the hushed-up Google secrets.
But here is what we at Stan Ventures understood over 10 years of experience working in this industry.
Same Niche: This is the most evident relevancy that we all want in the links we build. An SEO News Site (example SEJ) linking back to an SEO agency. This gets the highest domain to domain link relevancy in the eyes of search engines, especially Google. By the way, this passes the maximum link juice or SEO score.
Different Niche, But Related: A web design firm linking back to an SEO agency. Though both are different niches, they converge when it comes to achieving the goals. This creates topical link relevancy that can pass a significant SEO score.
Contextual Link, But Unrelated Niche: There are times that you get links from totally unrelated websites. But when you check the content, the link placement maybe around a context that is relevant to your niche. These links are valid ones and will pass like juice.
No-Context, No Niche Relevancy Links: These are the kind of links that you must avoid by any means. The reasons are plenty.
- You lose the money building such worth links.
- Most of the time, these links are are spammy.
- Such links give Google signals that you are engaging in black hat practices.
- The worst thing, you can’t show such links to your fellows, boss or anyone because they think it’s cheap.
How to Build Contextual Backlinks?
So, now you know how important it is to build relevant links.
But “how?” may be lingering in your mind.
Don’t worry; this is precisely what the later part of this article will cover.
Getting relevant backlinks from websites requires the right strategy to be put in place.
So, if you have any doubts about the in-house capabilities, we recommend finding an expert agency for implementing contextual backlink building.
And by the way, you don’t have to look for any other agency; we here at Stan Ventures can help you out.
Just schedule a free strategy call, and we will get things rolling out for you.
Listed below are some of our tried and tested link building strategies that have helped over 1,000 clients globally. So sit tight.
1. 100% Manual Blogger Outreach – Paid/Free
Relevant links don’t come easy.
You need to put a lot of effort into finding niche-relevant bloggers and websites.
Rand Fishkin’s SparkToro is a great tool that we use to identify influencers and niche bloggers.
You must build a strong trust around your website before them giving you a brand mention or a vote of approval through backlinks.
This is a long and tedious process, but if implemented by the right people or agency, you can get high-quality links.
So let me tell you the process we follow in a nutshell.
100% Manual Blogger outreach helps you to connect with industry leaders and build a natural connection with your brand.
It is the most cost-effective link building strategy that can also drive targeted referral traffic to a website.
In blogger outreach, you reach out to an authority site owner requesting the opportunity to contribute content.
Though it may seem like a guest post, these bloggers don’t accept shallow content.
What they are looking for is content written by experts in the industry.
We understand that this is a time-consuming process.
But with the right outreach process in place for almost all niche industries, we can help you earn such high-quality, relevant backlinks.
If you want to know more about blogger outreach, read our blogger outreach guide.
You can also try the effectiveness of blogger outreach service in improving organic search rankings by signing up for our blogger outreach service.
2. Guest Posting – Free/Paid
You may have heard the latest round of controversy regarding SEMRush.
They decided to add Guest Posts as a service in their Marketplace, and boom!
The whole SEO community, including Barry Shwarts and Google’s John Mueller, was up against SEMRush.
But this doesn’t mean that guest posts are a bad link building strategy.
When done right, it can help you earn quality contextual backlinks with 100% Relevance.
But how to do it, right?
For that, you need the expert by your side.
There are agencies like Stan Ventures that are experienced in doing spam-free guest posting service.
I stressed the word spam-free here because the process these agencies follow, thwart any chance of Google penalizing the site.
Google has reiterated that it has no bad blood for contextual links built with relevancy.
So send your worries for a long tour and embrace guest posting with caution.
If the agency that you are partnering with has a repository of 50,00+ websites (not PBNs by anyway), you have high chances of getting contextual backlinks.
And of course, the old method of sending the templated emails is done and dusted.
People have an aversion to such email, and the final resting place of such emails are in the trash.
So, don’t try to scale the same email copy for hundreds of sites.
Make customized emails for each of your guest post prospect sites.
Make the site owner understand that what you are going to offer will benefit them.
Here is how you do it:
- Show them the results your posts have received.
- Link the sites that have published your guest posts
- Show the traffic that your guest blogs are generating.
- Show the top keywords and ranking positions.
Just check some of the SEO websites out there, including the likes of SEJ and SEL. They all have guest contributors.
The same should be the case with you.
Make sure that you have a face that represents your business.
Your guest posts must be published under the byline of a guest contributor, aka the face of your brand.
Over time, the brand, along with the contributor, will get industry attention.
With industry people knowing you getting guest posts published is a cakewalk.
This will translate into many more relevant backlinks and higher rankings.
3. Competitor’s Broken Backlinks – Free
I at times think I’m tough to other people.
Because, each day, I’m engaged in activities aimed to bring the top rankings of my competitors down.
Only the fittest survive, and that’s why you see me writing this blog.
So, here’s the thing. Your competitors have already built tons of backlinks.
They may have bought it or it could be naturally earned.
In both cases, some of these backlinks may get affected because of a URL change or because of a domain change.
This is now your opportunity.
Use an SEO tool at your disposal -SEMRush, AHREfs, or the one that you are most comfortable with.
Do a quick backlink audit of the competitor and check for broken backlinks.
If you find the broken backlinks are from relevant sites, now, you have mail to shoot!
Inform the website owner that the link they have put is no more active.
Suggest them the alternative link, which obviously, is the link from your site.
9 out of 10 times, website owners will replace the link and give you a dofollow relevant backlink.
4. Guestographic Method – Free
Brain Dean is known for this unique coining of SEO terms.
You may have already heard about the Skyscraper technique.
But there is another term that he coined which can get you an influx of backlinks – Guestographic.
Some sites just don’t give us do-follow links no matter if it’s guest post or outreach.
They are so adamant that the links will be either in the Author Bio or nofollow.
Both ways, it’s not going to give you much of an organic ranking boost.
So, Brain found a strategy wherein he writes a guest post or outreach post with a highly contextual link to an infographic he created.
This way, the website you are guest posting cannot deny the link because of the contextual relevance.
5. Irresistible Research-Based Links – Free
If you do research based-content that is highly unique to your brand, you are sitting on a gold mine!
Do a quick search on Google for websites that have covered articles that are around your research topic.
Shoot out a mail informing about the relevance of your research or findings.
Add a brief of your research along with the email for them to review.
This way, you are putting an irresistible asset in front of them.
Request them to add the new details within your research to their existing article.
A better way of doing this is by checking out if they are interested in a new article contribution to their blog.
This way you get more positive responses and links from highly relevant websites.
6. Unlinked Brand Mentions
Before you start building backlinks, just keep stock of the website that forgot to give you a link.
It’s quite normal to see sites just mentioning your brand name.
There are discussions about Google looking for brand mentions for ranking.
But we cannot ascertain the same as there is little data available.
Brand mentions are always good, but if they are accompanied by a link, the benefits are multifold.
Use Ahrefs or any other SEO tools to find the websites that have used your brand name.
Reach out to these site owners and request them for a link.
But before you send the mail, keep these in mind:
- You must make sure that the link that you are asking them to place is relevant.
- Avoid linking to the homepage
- If you are an eCommerce site owner, better link to category pages based on the relevance of the site that has mentioned your brand.
Now, that you understood how to build contextually relevant backlinks, keep these aspects in mind while implementing the off-page activities for your website.
If you are unable to execute contextual link building due to lack of expertise, we are always there to help you. Just hit us up in the live chat below for any help building contextual backlinks.
7 thoughts on “Contextual Link Building: 6 Must-Use Strategies for 2023”
Clear, simple and short. A well-detailed article about contextual link building, thanks for sharing your insight about this topic.
Contextual link building is the quickest way to boost website’s search performance. Contextual link are of very high quality & can have a major impact. That’s all well & good, but building them takes a particular link building strategy and a lot of hard work.
“Contextual link building” is the quickest way to boost your site’s search performance.
Yes Aaron.It’s a tried and tested approach. I ask people sometimes to stop worrying about whether Google Penalty and just focus on contextual link building. If the links are 100% contextual I don’t think Google’s Algorithm is going to mind it.
Clear, simple and short. A well-detailed article about contextual link building, thanks for sharing your insight about this topic.