Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
An entire post about creating contextual links? Yep. You click on them all the time. Why not learn how to create them?
Contextual links are a specific type of link . Links, as you know, are those connectors that lead you through the maze that is the internet. They are the way you discover new sites, new products, new services, and all kinds of fascinating tidbits going on in the world which otherwise you might miss.
Readers, like you, are online looking for information, discovering new ideas, and finding new communities. You can help point the way by creating links in your content. As you do, you’ll help yourself too. Contextual links – as opposed to links in ads, banners, sidebars, and footers – are especially valuable to readers. I’ll explain why in a minute.
But for now, let’s start by looking at the basics about contextual links.
Contextual links are clickable text in your online content (like this). They’re usually a different color than the rest of the page text. And often, contextual links are underlined.
They’re presented “in context.” Other links may be set apart in ads or banners. But good contextual links flow naturally as part of your website content, in a blog post, or in your social media content. They connect the reader to a helpful source that is relevant to the information on that particular page.
Contextual links have two parts: anchor text and the link code. The anchor text is the clickable bit that the reader sees highlighted or underlined. The link code works behind the scenes to match the anchor text link with the content you’re linking to.
Contextual links can be …
An anchor text link is a snippet of clickable text. It’s the part of the contextual link that you see. Anchor text tells you what the link is about and where you’ll go once you click.
Contextual links are one of the 3 types of links your website needs in order to build traffic and build authority. And you need all three to build traffic. Link building is a long game. It takes a bit of time to implement and a bit of time to see results. That’s one reason plenty of online publishers shy away from it.
There are ways to buy contextual links. That can get expensive. We won’t cover buying links here because I’m all about DIY and saving money.
Instead, we’ll talk about how to make anchor text and create contextual links that work for you. Let’s start with several reasons explaining why contextual links are good for your site and your biz.
External contextual links lead readers to other respected, relevant websites. That’s one reason it’s important to choose your referrals wisely. Contextual links can build your authority in your niche when you link readers to helpful, valuable information. Your links prove that you’re trustworthy and that you understand your niche.
Contextual links, according to SEO guru Neil Patel, have a higher SEO value than links in your footer and sidebar. (SEO is short for search engine optimization.) Better SEO = better rankings on search engine results pages = better and more traffic to your site.
You want readers to stay a while on your site and mosey around rather than click off after just one page. The longer they stay, the more engaged they’ll be. When you offer internal contextual links to other pages on your site with relevant, helpful information, you keep readers interested. Use contextual deep links to lead visitors to less-trafficked but helpful pages – those that may be “buried” in your site.
Rather than explain a point in detail and get off topic, you can create an internal contextual link to another page on your site to addresses the issue. This increases the number of pages on your site and makes your content more digestible. One caveat: write with substance. Search engines frown on pages and posts with less than 400 words.
There are at least 6 different ways you can write anchor text to use in your content to create contextual links. I’ve made a note of those that are more helpful than others. Use these contextual links examples to follow as you build your own anchor text.
Top tip: where possible, use the page title or main keywords as anchor text. You’ll earn all kinds of brownie points with search engines.
Once you discover the many strengths of using contextual links, it’s tempting to sprinkle your content with them, thinking that readers will click every sentence or two.
But in doing so, you could annoy your readers.
Want to know how to make your anchor text links especially valuable to readers? Don’t misuse them. Instead, carefully choose your destination links – whether on your site or elsewhere. Then select appropriate anchor text, given the content on the page. Where possible, distribute your contextual links evenly through your content so they’re not bunched up in one place.
Most important: don't mislead. If your page is about pruning your peach trees, don’t let readers to think you’re linking to a page about pruning shears and then send them to a page about composters. You’ll waste your readers’ time. You’ll lose credibility. And readers may not come back to your site.
Then you won’t have the chance to offer them great content. And you won’t be able to give them helpful, relevant links to other useful information.
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