Guest blogging is not the only contextual link building tactic. There are several which you are yet to figured out.

But first…

What is a contextual link?

Here’s a good definition from Jason Acidre:

A contextual link is a type of link that’s usually found within the body of content and is in context with the idea surrounding the link. It can be both natural (voluntary links from other websites – ex: link bait) and artificial (manually built – ex: one of your guest posts that links back to your blog/content).

Building contextual links can benefit you in so many ways which include

Targeted traffic. Leads. Online brand presence.

They are all good, but only seem “to be too good to be true” if you don’t know the exact how-to’s of building the right contextual links.

Today, I want to give you 7 ways to get contextual links for your website.

 

1. MAXIMIZE TARGETED OUTREACH

Targeted outreach is basically sending out emails to prospect linkers of a very specific content – most are existing articles with the same topic, with a hope to get reference links back to the site.

Let’s say, you have published a post on “how to stop my husband from snoring”. If you want to get contextual links, you may reach out to articles that rank for terms like, “how to stop snoring”, “how to stop snoring of your partner”, or even “top snoring apps”.

how to stop snoring search results page 1Because they’ll find your article to be relevant to use as an additional resource (i.e. including your content on “you may also check out this article on” or “for further reading”), there’s a good chance you’ll acquire a link.

But it’s not a guarantee that it works all the time. You have to understand the context of the linking page and your content, so you could determine if there’s a good linking chance.

Here are some tips to guide you when assessing these link opportunities:

First, check the primary focus topic of the article/page.

Ask yourself, “Does the prospect article I’m trying to get a link from cover a much larger subject compared to the topic of the content I’m pitching with?”.

contextual-linking-2

If you are pitching your “top snoring apps” to an article about generic “how to stop snoring” content, there’s a good chance to get a link from that because the linking page covers a wider subject and perhaps has a subsection about snoring apps – which then provides you an opportunity now for a link.

But how about if it’s vice versa? “how to stop snoring” to “top snoring apps,” would you get a link?

contextual-linking-1

The answer is, “it depends.”

Depending on how the article is structured, if the article covers exactly “top snoring apps” and your page isn’t about apps, there’ll be misalignment on his part to link to you. But it’s not always the case.

If your article speaks about a subsection on snoring apps which hasn’t been discussed/included in the prospect existing article, there’s a good chance you’ll get a link.

The logic is that the blogger would want to give a reference link to a page that explains more about a topic/word/phrase mentioned in his article but have yet to be expounded.

Second thing you need to do is to assess external links on a page.

If you see a homepage link on an article and it’s referencing a product/service, not as a recommendation just like brand mention (see example below) or a product review which obviously links to a commercial page, there’s a less organic linking chance to it.

external links audit

The reason there’s a link there is either the webmaster/blogger is affiliated, partnered or is compensated with for the effort of linking or simply, the product/service is an authority in the space – undoubtedly being linked to in most blogs.

Third thing is to identify if the page is dynamic or static.

dynamic page

What I mean with dynamic is there are pages that frequently updates over time and there are others pages that are not. Those pages that require updates of links are dynamic.

If you’re reaching out to a dynamic page, there’s a high probability to acquire a link, as the need itself looks for new resources or references. In other words, they’ll be linking to your content if it will make their content piece better.

A post on snoring apps for 2017, for example, can be dynamic if its URL isn’t targeting snoring apps 2017 phrase. If it’s just snoring apps resource article, it gives space for new links to resources.

The more dynamic the existing page is, the higher is the likelihood you’ll get a link. Otherwise, if it’s static, they should have reasons to link other than the timeliness of the topic.

So, there are three ways to check if an existing article/page can potentially link to you.

Second tip:

2. GENERATE EASY LINKS FROM RELATIVELY NEW AND LOW AUTHORITY PUBLICATIONS

You aim links from DA30+ blogs, but from sites with lower metrics (<DA30), you probably don’t.

Not pitching low authority sites is kind of a short-sighted thinking.

If you aim for traffic and clicks from links, there are low-authority sites with upward trends in organic growth that you should be getting because they actually increase the value of links when you get them.

DA21 website

More importantly if these are blogs that are still new in the industry (use archive.org to check), you’ll find that after a few months or years, they’ll have increased their followers and linkers.

Thus, if you have build relationships with them upfront, it will not be difficult to convince them for you to contribute posts on their blogs.

Note: If you have an authority brand, you should aim for top-tier industry blogs. But if you’re starting to grow your link profile, pursuing even low authority blogs can be effective for you.

To check if a low authority blog is worthy of your link efforts, you can use Ahrefs or SEMRush to basically check the site’s estimated organic traffic.

The slope of the organic traffic trend signals the site’s growth. The steeper the slope upward, the better.

upward trend traffic

Once identified if a low authority blog is link-worthy, you’ll then reach out to them with whatever offer you have – either a content asset worthy of a link or a visual asset ready to be republished.

3. EVALUATE SIMILAR PAGE LINKS FOR HOMEPAGE ASK

You probably heard that tip from Ross if you religiously consuming content from SiegeMedia.

In my experience, that’s one way to assess your chance to get the link.

If there are commercial links (i.e. one link is pointing to a product page) on a page, then you have chances to get a homepage or commercial link as well.

History of linking to similar page types is one true sign of a possible link.

external links homepage ask

However, that’s not to say that it is always a guarantee. With proper assessment, you may know if a homepage ask is worth pursuable.

Here are some true signs of a potential homepage link:

  1. Keyword-optimized anchor text – very few you’ll find a link with the exact target keyword/phrase as the anchor text. So seeing one (except for Exact-match-domains where brand names are exact ranking keyword) is an intent to link to a commercial page.
  2. List of partners – you normally see this in eCommerce space; retailers, manufacturers,, suppliers and other business partners types are mostly homepage as linked pages.
  3. Recommended products/services top X tools in 2018 is one example where homepage ask is feasible

Even if you’ve got a great content piece published recently, if you think a homepage would be best fit, that’s something you should pursue to be linked to. The opportunity cost is high if it’s not, given that a homepage link is way more difficult to acquire than top-of-the-funnel pages like industry guides.

4. LINK EXCHANGE EXCLUSIVELY FOR LINKABLE ASSETS

When you have a great linkable environment in your space, you’ll start receiving emails from other bloggers or webmasters wanting to get their links to their own sites.

link exchange for linkable assets outreach

Three or five asks of this kind every month is a good opportunity to link exchange.

Depending on cases, you’ll find that it’s okay to exclusively link exchange for both linkable assets.

It’s natural to find a page that references good content and a page from another site links out to your good content.

Here, you don’t get links mutually to the same pages (page A to page B, page B to page A). That’s a 2008 link exchange. Rather, your content A gets a link from his page A and his content B is linked on your page C. 

Below are more tips to guide you with this tactic:

A. Check if the linking partner is a good fit.

You will receive different emails of an ask to link (link exchange): some pitches include direct links to their preferred pages/content, others didn’t have.

If the email is handcrafted well (with your name personalized), it’s a sign of a good linking fit.

However, there are emails that start with Dear Ma’am/Sir but still has a good relevant content piece. The person reaching out just doesn’t know how to outreach properly.

So, always check the email and the website they have. Assess if the page or website itself is semantically fit to your brand.

B. Assess their preferred linking page.

If it’s a content page they’re building links to, it’s a potential fit.

Otherwise, for commercial pages, consider if the product/service could be highly recommended on your website.

As Ross Hudgens says, “Building natural links to landing pages with commerciality built in is pretty close to impossible with cold outreach.”

C. Identify which page you could put their link.

Unless you’re willing to put a new page/article to give them a link, you could simply search an existing page in your own website that best fits them. 

If you have a recommended readings page, that’s one choice you can pick as you can simply include a link to their content if there’s a section that fits their topic.

D. Check if you could also get a link.

I suggest you choose one page that you’d like to improve more ranking visibility by getting more links to. Then by doing a site search on Google for their domain, site:hisdomain.com “topic”, check if they have a page that fits the topic.

site search for link exchange

Once you start attracting potential linkers, link exchange exclusively for linkable assets can be a low-hanging fruit tactic that can add new links to your website,

5. USE TWITTER TO NUDGE BLOGGERS ABOUT BROKEN LINKS

Perhaps you’ve found broken links on a target resource page and you thought, “maybe I could tell this to the webmaster to connect easily, with the hope of getting a link”.

So you easily go to your outreach tool and craft an email to be sent to the webmaster, with the note, “I’ve found errors on your page”.

He doesn’t respond so you send a follow-up.

Nothing happens so you proceed to your next outreach prospect.

This is an opportunity cost..

No response doesn’t mean there’s a huge problem with your link prospecting and outreach approach. There may just be a little tweak needeed to properly connect to your outreach prospect.

How about sending a direct message on Twitter to connect?

Most bloggers are active on social because they care about their community (their followers) and consistently curate industry posts through social posting.

For that reason, if you send a direct message to a blogger to tell about their broken links, there’s a high chance you’ll get noticed.

Twitter-outreach

The methodology isn’t perfect but it could make you stand out in a world of really basic, boring email templates, even a messy BLB pitch like this one:

broken links common pitch

Once you’ve connected on social, you have a choice to stay in the medium for the conversation or redirect messaging to email. The latter best works if you’ve asked the person about his personal email.

6. FIND INDUSTRY LINK ROUNDUP TERMS TO INCREASE CONVERSION RATES

Right when you do a search for “contextual link building” or “contextual links”, you’ll find articles on the first page of search results that say, “get links from link roundups.”

You know that the tactic has been written several times on many SEO articles so you know how the process works.

Step 1: Use search operator, “link roundup” “INDUSTRY” or “roundup” “weekly” OR “monthly” “INDUSTRY” to find industry-specific link roundup opportunities.

Step 2: Create a list of blogs with link roundups and find contact emails of webmasters.

Step 3: Reach out to them with an email template that says, “I’ve found your “ROUNDUP NAME” .. and thought you might be interested to see this recently published on TOPIC — <insert your link to the post>” or anything similar to that.

It’s an effective tactic but not everyone could get results from it immediately.

What’s missing in this tactic is how to really optimize prospecting for industries where there are little-to-no outreach market for this rare type of link targets.

What do I mean?

Not all link roundups have titles of “best links of week/day/month” or “industry link roundup“, most of you would discover that sites named their roundup series with weird names, i.e. “blog party,” “link party,” or “blog hop.”

travel link up

 

They may sound black hat 2008, but these are exact terms blogger use in reference to what we call “link roundups.”

So, how do you find exact link roundup titles in your industry?

I recommend you start identifying an authoritative industry blog (one with DA60+) that publishes regular high-quality content pieces.

For example, if you’re in the wine industry, one popular wine blog that consistently produces high-quality content is WineFolly.

They publish a diversity of content assets – from 10x guides to visuals, they do it on a regular basis.

By checking their top content of all time (top content with highest number of social shares, not by # of links), you will see this post on pairing wine and cheese. Take a deeper look at its referring links, you can immediately see roundup links, including this roundup post –  GrapeCollective Wine News.

grape collective link roundup

Dig into other top content’s links and you’ll find more roundup links like Grape Wall Daily.

grape wall link roundup

You understand the pattern. Find a top industry blog that produces high-quality content pieces. Check the site’s top pages based on social shares (you can use Ahref’s top content feature, not top pages). Check if the most-shared content has gained roundup links. If yes, grab those link opportunities and gather more link round targets by reverse engineering the site’s other content pieces.

7. INVITE CONTRIBUTORS USING DIFFERENT OFFERS

It has been proven time and time again that getting contributors for your blog can help increase its number of referring domains.

For example, Joshua Dorkin was able to grow his real estate blog – BiggerPockets by putting out high-quality content pieces from regular contributors.

That strategy allows his blog to become one of the real estate authorities today.

biggerpockets

In his comment at Kaiserthesage blog, he said that he gets 30+ contributors to write for BiggerPockets every week while he ensures that they put out 2-3 good pieces of content through his content marketing team.

Today, BiggerPockets for sure has more blog contributors. Maybe double, triple or 10x their site traffic because of that strategy.

biggerpockets organic traffic

That’s just for one industry, but there are also other niches with massive blog community that have gained more exposure and more links simply by getting regular contributors for their blog.

Getting started with inviting-contributors is easy. You send emails to potential contributors and ask if they’re interested to write for you.

The hardest part is getting them onboard.

If you can answer “what’s in it for me” for bloggers, you’ll have high chances of enticing them to become your regular contributors. 

Below are some valuable offers to make for bloggers:

  • Increased exposure to blog through additional social following, email subs, and referral traffic. Got a DA45+ blog? Reach out to new bloggers (DA20 or less). This is more realistic than pitching top authority bloggers (DA70+ blog).
  • Premium product subscription. I wrote for Ahrefs in 2013 in exchange for monthly standard subscription plan of their product. This works for your niche too, if you have a great product to offer.
  • Content collaboration. Less work for the blogger. Gets more credibility for both parties if both of your blogs have an immense following on social and emails.
  • Compensation. Best is to target part-time bloggers. They charge cheaper than full-time ones. One tip is to check if their about/media/press/hire-me page. If they include $ per article/hour rate, they wouldn’t go cheaper than that.
  • Relationships. This matters most if you want to bait bloggers to write for you. No need for additional offers, as they wholeheartedly would write for your blog.

Once you have invited bloggers to write for your blog, you may constantly check new bloggers in your industry you can potentially reach out to be added to your contributors’ list.

new blogs author contributors

So those are 7 ways to build contextual links to your site.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to do them, you should probably find someone who can. Learn more about our link building services.