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What Are Contextual Backlinks In SEO And How To Get Them


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In this article, you are going to learn about contextual backlinks which are the most important type of backlinks you should build for your website to get the best SEO results from your link building strategy as well as minimize the risk of Google penalty.

What are Contextual Backlinks?

what are contextual backlinks

Contextual backlinks are inbound or outbound links placed within the main content (MC) of a page that is relevant to the content it’s being linked to. Mostly these links are placed within the body of the text, but they can be placed within images, videos, page features, reviews, or other types of content as long as they are clearly visible to the users and crawlers.

So, for a backlink to be contextual it has to meet three main criteria:

  • Located within the main content of a page which means the part that directly helps the page achieve its purpose.
  • Located within the body of the text, image, video, page features, reviews, or other types of content that are clearly visible to users and crawlers.
  • Located on a relevant web page (not a website) that talks about a relevant topic to the page it’s being linked to.

For example, Rasmussen University linked to me from their article. The link is located within the MC of the page, located within the body of the text, and on a page, that talks about marketing topics that are highly relevant to me as my website is about digital marketing, mainly SEO, content marketing, and lead generation.

Therefore, this is a good example of an inbound contextual backlink.

example of what are inbound contextual backlinks

Or an example of an outbound contextual backlink could be within my own article where I talk about niche-relevant backlinks and within the body of the text of the MC, I am linking to a Wikipedia page about the PageRank algorithm.

example of what are outbound contextual backlinks

But then, in my Semantic SEO article, I am linking to a homepage of a gardening website which has nothing to do with SEO in terms of topics they talk about, so this backlink is not relevant whatsoever to them and therefore does not meet all the criteria to be a contextual backlink even thou it’s in the MC and within the body of the text.

example of what are not contextual backlinks

Contextual vs Non-Contextual Backlinks

The main difference between contextual and non-contextual backlinks is that contextual backlinks have to come from pages that talk about relevant topics to your website whereas non-contextual backlinks are the complete opposite and come from web pages that are not related to your website’s target niche or industry.

Of course, in the natural way of getting backlinks mostly, you will get contextual backlinks.

However, there can be scenarios where you link to or get a link from a web page that is absolutely unrelated to yours yet perfectly fine.

For example, as I showed you, I linked to a gardening website as an example for people to relate better to what I am trying to explain.

And of course, there can be many reasons why non-contextual backlinks happen, but you should not try to build those as it is a complete waste of time and you are putting yourself at risk of Google reviewing your site.

Link building is hard and takes time and you should not waste your time on building thousands of poor-quality backlinks and rather focus your effort on a few, but high-quality backlinks.

Just like John Mueller said:

“We try to understand what is relevant for a website, how much should we weigh these individual links, and the total number of links doesn’t matter at all. Because you could go off and create millions of links across millions of websites if you wanted to, and we could just ignore them all.”

Benefits of Contextual Backlinks

Contextual backlinks are one of the most important and highest quality backlinks you can build from and to your pages and they should be your main afford along with niche-relevant backlinks when you are doing link building.

Because by getting and giving contextual backlinks to and from your page you can essentially increase your website awareness and visibility and ultimately drive more targeted traffic to your website.

With contextual backlinks, relevancy is what matters the most, and if you manage that, then you will see the best SEO results from your SEO strategy or B2B SEO.

With that following are the 6 biggest link building benefits of building contextual backlinks:

Benefit #1: Better Impact on Your Ranking

The first and arguably one of the biggest benefits of getting contextual backlinks is that it has a better impact on your ranking, unlike any ordinary or non-contextual backlinks.

67.5% of SEOs believe that backlinks have a big impact on search engine rankings

The thing is, backlinks are still considered the second most important Google Ranking Factor, despite John Mueller said over time links will become less important as Google can better figure out a content context within the worldwide web.

However, unlike any other backlinks, contextual backlinks give Google and other search engines more context because Google is looking at the page that the link is coming from as well as the page it’s going to.

For example, if you are adding an outbound contextual backlink within your web page, Google can better understand what’s your web page about by looking at the page content, context, ranking keywords, etc. you are linking to and the relationship between each other.

Or if you are receiving inbound contextual backlinks, then Google can better understand your page based on the page content, context, ranking keywords, etc. that is linking to you and the relationship between them.

On top of that, contextual backlinks are one of the signs of expertise. That’s why you should always include relevant external links within your content.

Lastly, backlinks are seen as a “vote of confidence”. Thus, contextual backlinks are an acknowledgment of your expertise in the topic.

Benefit #2: Increased Traffic

The second benefit of contextual backlinks is that they will increase your organic traffic.

Link building is one of the best ways to increase your website traffic if done correctly. The goal is to attract relevant traffic that is interested in what you have to offer, regardless you are selling products, or services, doing affiliates, or just running ads.

The right traffic will make or break your online business and with contextual backlinks, you can improve your ranking for relevant keywords as well as drive relevant referral traffic.

In fact, according to Ahrefs study, over 90% of content gets no traffic and the main reason why the page does not receive any traffic is due to a lack of backlinks.

On top of that, website traffic is a good indicator of your website’s health and trust. The bigger it grows the bigger opportunities you can bring and the more trusted your site will be in the eyes of users and search engines.

Benefit #3: Rank for More Relevant Keywords

The third benefit of contextual backlinks is that you will improve the ranking for more relevant keywords.

Google is looking at the sites linking to you and the keywords they are ranking for. If a website rank for similar or the same keywords as you and links to you from one of their pages it gives Google more context about your page and with that, it can improve your indexing and rank you for more relevant keywords.

Benefit #4: Improve Ranking for More Competitive Keywords

If you receive a link from a website that talks about the similar or same topics as you, then it means an expert within the same niche or industry acknowledges you.

And Google is actively looking for expert appraisal/recommendations to evaluate the content, creator, and website quality and contextual backlinks are recommendations from experts that write on relevant topics like you.

Therefore, the more you earn these, the more “trust” from Google you will get to rank for more competitive keywords that are searched by more people and targeted by more competitors.

contextual backlinks are recommendations from experts

Because the thing is, it’s easy to rank for low-competition keywords, because the competition is just not there. Therefore, Google has to choose from whatever it has even though they are not so sure about the websites.

However, once the keyword has a high search volume, often a lot of people and companies within expertise will target the keyword making it more competitive and Google, of course, will choose to rank those it trusts the most.

So, the more contextual backlinks you earn, the more trust you get from Google and the more competitive keywords you can rank for.

Benefit #5: Less Risky

Another benefit of contextual backlinks is that they are way less risky to build for your website.

Link building, in general, is dangerous and can result in a Google penalty, because any unnatural link AKA a link that you paid for either with money, effort, or any other way, should not pass a link juice.

This is against Google policies and it can result in a manual action.

However, contextual backlinks are a lot harder to identify whether they are natural or not because it’s fairly common on the internet that a website talking about a certain topic links to an external source that provides relevant information.

For example, when talked about the differences between B2B and B2C when strategizing, they include my infographic about B2C vs B2B target audience.

contextual links benefits is they are less risky

According to Google, this is a natural contextual backlink that should pass link juice or be dofollow. However, even if I built this backlink, Google would never be able to tell as links like these occur naturally throughout the internet.

Or when referenced one of my statistics on their website is another example of a contextual backlink that commonly and naturally occurs.

example of natural dofollow contextual backlink

Therefore, if done correctly, building contextual backlinks looks a lot more natural and they are hard to identify whether they are natural or unnatural.

Because let’s imagine that this web page that talks about how to grow potatoes would link to my article about keyword research.

example of non-contextual backlink and why it's more risky

Links like these don’t happen naturally and your website would be on a list for manual review very quickly.

Benefit #6: Increase Revenue from SEO

And the last benefit of contextual backlinks is that you can boost your revenue from SEO.

With more contextual backlinks, you get more confidence from Google which results in better ranking, ranking for more profitable keywords, and for more competitive keywords, which ultimately means more relevant traffic coming to your website.

This means higher exposure for your brand and more opportunities to sell your products or services, get more affiliate sales, or simply more pageviews thus more revenue from ads.

Contextual backlinks are essential if you want to earn more with SEO.

What is Contextual Link Building?

Contextual link building is the process of acquiring backlinks that meets all the criteria of contextual backlinks from other websites to your own.

This effort is aimed at improving a website and its pages ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords in order to bring more organic traffic that is made of potential customers for your products or services.

The end goal of contextual link building is to generate more revenue via SEO with positive ROI.

Despite Google’s using backlinks in their algorithm to rank your website, backlinks are also pathways followed by crawlers to discover new and refresh pages, and the more links pointing to your website, the more pathways you have coming to your town and the more likely your page will be crawled and indexed.

contextual link building can improve crawlability of your pages and index your pages faster on google

This is especially important as Google is slowing down its crawling and indexing speed to save money on resources. (And bring more revenue for their shareholders, in the end, it’s a public company).

Therefore, the more pathways/backlinks you build for your website, the more likely your new and updated pages will get crawled and indexed faster.

So, it’s really important to build backlinks to every of our web pages to get Google to crawl your site more frequently.

Best Link Building Strategies to Get Contextual Backlinks

With all that being said, contextual backlinks are obviously very important and you want to build those so let’s have a look at 6 best link building strategies to get contextual backlinks:

Strategy #1: Guest Posting

The first and probably the most common, widely used and one of the best link building strategies is guest posting.

Guest posting means publishing articles on other websites and including a dofollow link to one of your pages.

guest blogging for high quality contextual backlinks

And one of the reasons why guest posting is widely used and accepted across websites is because you trade high-quality content for the link.

However, guest posting can be time-consuming and resource-heavy if you want to build high-quality contextual backlinks and not everybody has the time or money to do that.

On top of that, you have a lot of scammers offering cheap guest posting sites like these that you definitely want to avoid!

example of guest posting offers that you should avoid when building contextual backlinks

Instead, you want to find websites that publish content on similar or the same topics as you and then do blogger outreach.

Luckily this is very easy to do using SEO tools like SE Ranking. Just open SE Ranking Competitive Research tools, enter your domain there, select the target location if applicable and click on analyze.

using se ranking for finding guest posting sites for contextual backlinks

Here you will get a high-level overview of the analyzed website such as organic traffic, organic keywords, website authority, and backlink profile.

high level overview of the analyzed website when searching for contextual backlinks

Now I go to the “Competitors” report.

And here I have a list of hundreds of close competitors based on the common ranking keywords.

list of sites to build relevant contextual backlinks

This is perfect because like this I know they are talking about the same or similar topics as me, thus, backlinks from these domains are highly relevant contextual backlinks.

However, there is a lot more to guest posting. So, I recommend you check out my video to maximize your SEO results as well sa my article on tiered link building.

Strategy #2: Resource Link Building

The second link building strategy to build high-quality contextual backlinks is via resource link building.

Resource link building means getting backlinks from pages with curated lists of recommended external resources on any given topic, product, service, or basically anything.

what is resource link building for contextual backlinks

This is an extremely powerful strategy to build contextual backlinks that Google actually cares about.

As stated in their Google Quality Rater Guidelines, the raters should search where a website was featured to determine the quality of the website and its content, and the creator’s expertise.

resource pages are one of the best ways to build contextual backlinks google actualy cares about

For example, my business is best at blogging and one of the niches that are very closely related to me is B2B marketing, so I could try to find resource pages recommending the best B2B marketing blogs using the Google Operator method.

Just use any of these strings and modify them to your industry or target niche:

  • Keyword “best resources”
  • Keyword “best blogs”
  • Keyword inurl:resources
  • Keyword ”useful resources”

For example:

  • b2b marketing “best resources”
  • seo “best blogs”
  • digital marketing inurl:resources
  • email marketing ”useful resources”

And then pop it into Google search and start making a list of relevant sites where you could be featured as one of the resources.

example of searching for resource pages to get contextual backlinks

(I removed the quotation marks to improve my results. So, don’t worry to experiment with these as well)

With that to learn everything, there is to resource link building check out my video!

Strategy #3: Link Insertion

The next link building strategy to build contextual backlinks is link insertion.

Link insertion means inserting dofollow backlinks within other websites pointing to one of your pages in exchange for monetary or other rewards such as link exchange.

Of course, in order to ensure that these links are contextual you have to do link insertion within pages that talk about similar topics like you.

You can use the same technique I showed you with guest posting, find sites with common ranking keywords to yours and then do link insertion outreach.

Or you can find your competitors’ best pages by links using SE Ranking Backlink Checker, and Pages report.

competitors best pages by links backlink report for contextual backlinks

Once you have that, then pick one of the pages with a high number of backlinks or referring domains and analyze it again with the tool, but now only for the specific URL and check the “Anchor text”.

checking anchor text to find link insertion to build contextual backlinks

Here you will want to check any “exact match” or “phrase match” anchor texts as those are probably link insertion or guest posting.

finding exact anchor text match keyword to find link insertion opportunities for contextual backlinks

Either way, it’s another opportunity to get a contextual backlink.

Strategy #4: Niche Link Building

Niche link building is very similar to contextual link building but the main difference is that niche link building focuses on building backlinks only from websites that are niche related to your whereas with contextual link building you can build backlinks on any website only the page itself has to be talking about a related topic to yours.

Therefore, you should check out my guide on niche-relevant backlinks to get more ideas on how to build contextual backlinks and some of the best practices.

Strategy #5: HARO posting

Another great strategy to earn contextual backlinks is via HARO or Help a Reporter Out.

HARO is a platform where journalists, bloggers, and content creators come to get expert advice, tips, and tricks for their upcoming content.

HARO to earn contextual backlinks

You just need to register and you will receive 3 emails, Monday to Friday full of different queries from journalists, often from big media sites such as Motley Fool, New York Times, CNBC, and many more.

HARO queries from journalists to get contextual backlinks

So, to get a contextual backlink from HARO, all that you have to do is to find any relevant queries to your niche or industry.

For example, I am in SEO, so I am searching for any SEO industry-specific queries I can answer. Such as this one.

example of relevant queries in HARO for my niche

So, I just select one of these and it will navigate me to the journalist query where I get more details on what exactly the journalist wants I just need to answer this and hope that my answer gets selected.

journalist query on haro for contextual backlink

If your answer gets selected, then they will link to your website as a reference.

However, this strategy is oversaturated, and it can take you 20 or even more answers to get at least one backlink.

So, to increase your chances, I have prepared a full tutorial on how to do HARO link building along with the best practices.

Strategy #6: Competitor Analysis

And the very last link building strategy I want to mention to find contextual backlink opportunities is by doing competitor backlink analysis.

competitor backlink analysis is another off page seo activity on this list

One of the greatest and most used ways by marketing agencies to find you backlink opportunities is by researching what others in your niche are doing to earn backlinks and what works in your industry.

For example, one of the great ways to find contextual backlink opportunities is to do a backlink gap analysis using an SEO tool like SE Ranking.

Here you just enter one or a few competitors of your competitors.

I usually add two competitors with similar domain trust to mine, because if they manage to land their backlink there, then I have a chance too.

But choosing competitors with high domain trust lets you find more backlink opportunities but they are harder to get as they have more authority which allows them to land backlinks on sites that are hard to get.

backlink gap analyzer from se ranking to find contextual backlink opportunities from my competitors

Once the report loads, you will get a list of sites where one, the other, or both landed their backlinks with helpful information.

using backlink gap analyzer for finding contextual backlink opportunities

For example, I could see that one of my competitors posted a guest article on a website with super-high authority. So perhaps I could do the same.

example of a high website authority domain guest posting for contextual backlinks

And just like this, you will want to go through the backlinks and see where you could do the same thing as your competitors to get a nice contextual backlink.

And there are many more ways to do competitor backlink analysis so I recommend you check out my article to learn more.

Final Words

Building contextual backlinks and link building, in general, is a big and one of the hardest parts of doing off-page SEO.

It comes with a lot of research and negotiating and most importantly rejections or ghosting you.

Needless to say, link building is still super important and dofollow contextual backlinks are the only links you should build for your website to maximize your SEO performance.

Related Articles:

Also, check out our SEO hub page to find all our SEO resources.


This article was created by Eduard Dziak and may contain affiliate links. The following were used to optimize the article for the best user and search engine experience include:

  • SE Ranking for keyword research and on-page SEO optimization
  • Surfer SEO for SEO-friendly content creation for users and search engines.
  • Jasper AI for grammar correction and information enhancement.

The article is based on the author’s own experience and knowledge, drawn from both their own work and that of their clients, to provide the latest, proven methods.

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