For quite some time, businesses have discussed the pros and cons of contextual links. Contextual links are, in most cases, a huge benefit to your website if they are used correctly. For those who are unfamiliar, a contextual link is any link to a relevant site within a body of text. There are essentially three types of contextual links:
- External links, also known as outgoing links. These are links inside a piece of content on your site that are pointing to another website.
- Internal links, which refer to links inside a piece of content on your site that is pointing to another piece of content on your site.
- Reciprocal links. This happens when another site asks you to link back to your site within its own content, oftentimes as a way to return a contextual link favor.
Google likes to see contextual links for several reasons (discussed below). However, it's important that a business understand the advantages and how to use contextual links correctly. If your linking is associating you with poor websites, they will have the opposite effect.
Top 10 SEO Benefits of Contextual Link Building
Many businesses throw in contextual links without considering some of the benefits. You will notice that all of the benefits work like a domino effect. Below are some of the advantages that every type and every size company will see if contextual links are used correctly:
- They help bring awareness to your website (particularly if you are part of a reciprocal link building situation). The audience of the website you quote or mention will surely see your article on social media or through search.
- Because your site is getting more visibility, writers will be more apt to see your site and link back to it (giving them that contextual, external link).
- The company you mention may want to reach out to you or simply just include that article on their website, which earns you a backlink (great for SEO link juice).
- Because you have more recognition, you're likely to see an increase in social media shares. You not have your audience and the audience of the website you mentioned sharing the article, not to mention it is a higher quality article.
- They give you more credibility because you're willing to link out to authoritative sources, which prove you have done your research and look to others to help create the best article you can create.
- Not only are you credible, but you're also trustworthy. Some sites try to know it all, but contextual links help prove that you are a site that cares more about trust than being the answer to everything.
- Google likes to see sites improving reader experience, so your PageRank and rankings should improve.
- Your site should gain more traffic because it gains more recognition.
- If your site is gaining more traffic, you're likely to see an increase in sales.
- Last but not least, you are offering more information to your reader. This should always be your number one goal.
So the moral of the story: Using contextual links correctly means seeking authoritative, relevant websites to link back to in your articles. This will help you create connections as well as alert Google that you are associated with quality sites. These contextual links, along with internal links, are a great way to improve usability for your readers and help get you on the right track.