How to Consistently Build 40+ Contextual Links Every Month

by Jason Acidre on February 7, 2013 · 43 comments · Content, Search, Social


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).

Acquiring links is a vital process in online marketing, as the practice benefits a site in so many ways, such as in building online brand presence, driving targeted traffic/leads and in getting better search ranking positions.

But this belief has somehow led many to focus on the wrong side of the practice.

Link building is a byproduct of the collective efforts and initiatives that a brand/business implements to promote and make itself more known to its target audience/customers. Elements that impact link building positively may include the following:

  • Product development
  • Content and business assets
  • USP and Online Branding
  • Offline Branding (events)
  • Relationships

Contextual link building requires hard work. It’s all about earning the links, not just building them. Because if your product or service is really good, people will certainly talk about you and definitely share it with other people who might need your business.

Build something genuinely worth linking to, whether it’s your products, service, the content you produce or the opinions you share with your industry and peers. It all matters, because they can all result to hard-earned links.

Factors that make contextual link building easier (Autopilot)

Chain of online marketing activities causes a site to become a link magnet. Invest on implementing actions that can help alleviate your site’s visibility through various channels (I believe this list can help).

Because the more people find your content, the higher chances of getting natural linkers to your blog. Below are some of the most important factors that allowed me to consistently attract links to my blog.

Consistency in content development

Being consistent in regularly publishing new content on a blog is hard, especially if you have many other things to do. In my case, I try to publish a new post every week.

I always make sure that every post that I launch will be useful to my current and future readers, and that’s why I mostly focus on creating evergreen content. I treat every post as a business asset that will not just send me ton of links, but potential clients as well.

This also allowed me to grow and have a continual increase in readership on my blog, wherein new readers could be future linkers.

So if a single content can acquire natural links from at least 10 unique linking domains (on an average) on its entire lifetime, and you publish 4 new posts every month, then you’re already able to build 40 links in a month (I’ll share some samples on the latter part of this post).

Content promotion strategies

Creating content is just the initial phase, because they will never move on their own without promotion. There are many ways to promote your content (you can check out this and this for extensive tips).

Content that you don’t promote is content that you shouldn’t have writtenLisa Barone

Making sure that your content really offers value to your readers, community and to your industry will make it easier for you to promote your content, and of course get links to them.

Content promotion is very significant in scaling your contextual link building, as it gives birth to places where people can find your content. This can actually influence how your content can acquire more natural links in the future.

Social Media

Having a strong following base on different social platforms can help get more eyeballs to your content. The multiplier effect of social sharing is very capable of introducing your content to new readers, who might use your content as a reference in their future works.

How to build a strong following base on social networks:

  • Continuously produce great and shareable content.
  • Make it easy for your readers to share and follow you on social networks (use social buttons as a call-to-action on your posts).
  • Build or join conversations on social networks where your target audience is.
  • Share others’ content and let them know about it, particularly individuals who have substantial followers in your niche.
  • Thank the people sharing your content.
  • Build alliances.

Optimize content for search

The best way to really scale your link building is by ensuring that your content will still be found by people even it has already been months after publishing the post.

Content publishers use search engines, especially when they do research for their own content. That’s why optimizing your content to rank better on search results for informational queries is important, to enhance link attraction to your content.

Having so many evergreen content published on my blog helped me to continuously attract lots of new contextual links to my site almost every month.

Absorbing traffic from other communities

2 ½ years ago, when I started blogging, this was the only link building tactic on my arsenal. My main goal back then was just to lead new readers back to my blog through participating on relevant discussions (on other blogs and forums).

That paid off. Because I was able to build relationships with other bloggers and I also get click-through traffic from the blog comments and forum contributions I made almost every day on my first 3 months of blogging (and some of them are still sending new readers to my blog until now).

If you’re providing great stuff on your site that people can really get value from, then this strategy will certainly be a good fit for you.

Find communities that have strong interactions in your space and start getting involved. For instance, I used to be active on Warrior Forum when I was just starting, but now you’ll find me more often on Inbound.org. Both communities are great in sending traffic/readers.

Being active on other industry blogs, forums and community websites is also a great way to build relationships and to strengthen your social following. These relationships will help semi-automate the social sharing process for your content marketing efforts.

Trust signals

Making it evident for readers that you’re hosting credible content on your site is an important element to entice linkers to using your content as a reference.

These signals may come in form of social proof, page layout (appealing design), visuals (images, videos, graphs, etc…) and readers’ comments.

Getting contextual links

Combining all the factors/efforts mentioned above will make it easier for you to get the links you deserve. Links that will get you qualified traffic and will genuinely help you achieve better search rankings.

It takes time and hard work to drive hundreds of high quality links to a site every month, and without actually building them. But no one is saying that it’s impossible.  Because hard work always pays off.

So in this part of the post, I’ll just share some of the links that this blog has naturally acquired this past month, including the factors that helped made the natural link acquisition possible.

Brand mentions

brand mention

I got a few brand mentions from other blogs last month (but sorry, I can’t include or link to the other 8 that I’ve found), below are some samples:

Why I got the link:

  • Because of the blog’s already established brand through continuously providing useful content.
  • Most of the people who mentioned my personal brand on their posts were social followers (and perhaps regular readers, except for Mark, who I work with at Xight).
  • I also got mentions from industry peers (like Moosa and Chris) – relationships!

Referential links

referential

I’ve got plenty of this type of contextual/natural link last month (from articles, other people’s blog comments and forum threads – such as this, this and this). Here are other samples:

Why I got the link:

  • Through search. Most of the posts that have been used as a reference were already months – if not years – old. There’s a high probability that some of them researched the topic using search engines and fortunately landed on my old posts (and used them as a resource).

Roundup links

roundup

3 posts from last month were also featured on different blogs that do weekly/monthly roundups (there were also other non-English blogs that featured my recent posts). Here are a few samples.

Why I got the link:

  • Social sharing. I believe that the majority of these curators found my recently published content through social networks and from my peers who have shared the content.
  • Relationships. Steve is an amazing curator!

The total number of contextual links that I was able to track for last month’s new links is 44 (from both high and low DA sites, and excluding the links from content scrapers) – close enough to reach 50+ (if only I’ve done outreach, right?).

Tracking natural links

I’m not sure if I was able to track all the new links to my blog last month. There are a lot of tools that can be used to monitor new incoming links to a site, though I found most of them inaccurate when it comes to this aspect of link reporting.

Here are several methods that you can do to track new links to your site:

Pro Link Building tools

Link research tools like Ahrefs and Majestic SEO offer a feature where you can view new links to your site that they have crawled and indexed.

But I wasn’t really able to make use of the data that these 2 tools have provided, as both included old linking pages/domains to the site on the report. Nonetheless, I still find both tools very useful.

ahref

Google Alerts

Setting up Google Alerts is also a great tool that you can use to monitor new links and mentions to your site/content.

You can use advanced search operators to filter the web pages that Google will be sending to your email. For instance, you can use this query – “link:yoursite.com –site:yoursite.com” – to only get the pages from other domains that link to any page of your site.

google alerts

Google Search

Using advanced search operators on Google Search (web, blogs, etc…) can also provide you with results of the pages that have recently linked to your site. You can easily modify your searches using the “search tools” feature, to filter the results you want to be displayed.

google search

However, this method may not display all the pages that have recently linked to your site, but you’d be surprised to find some that other tools might have missed.

Google Webmaster Tools

There’s a feature on Google Webmaster Tools that allow site owners to view and download the incoming links to their websites.

Go to Traffic > Links to your site > view more on “who links the most” > Download latest links.

wmt

The report that will be exported in excel format is not that comprehensive as well, but I think it’s still worth looking into.

Google Analytics’ Trackback reports

The trackback report from Google Analytics was the most comprehensive list of new links to the site that I’ve found. I’ve even discovered several links to my blog that I didn’t know that existed.

How to track contextual links through Google Analytics:

  • Go to Traffic Sources > Social > Network Referrals

network referrals

 

  • Click on any of the listed Social Network

socialnetworks

  • Choose on the “Activity Stream”, which is placed on the top right corner of the graph above the table.

activity stream

  • And on the top right part of the screen, you’ll see a dropdown button (next to the name of the social network you’ve chosen) that can display an option, wherein you can choose to see the list of your site’s trackbacks.

trackbacks

 

  • On the bottom left part of the table, show the maximum amount of rows to display all the trackbacks that your site has received in the past month.

rows

  • Export the report in excel or CSV format (you can see the export feature on the top part of the page).

export

  • After exporting, you’ll then have a list of new natural links to your site similar to this:

excelreport

The links extracted through Analytics data may not be the entire new links pointing to your site, since it may miss other link sources that have disallowed sending of trackbacks from their sites. But it’s definitely a good place to start in identifying sites that have voluntarily linked to you.

Why aim for contextual links?

It’s the strongest form of link over the web. Contextual links can be very advantageous to an online business in so many ways.

This type of link can generate more activity to the site. For example, for the past 6 days, the article from Socialmediatoday.com that links to one of my older posts has sent over 500+ visitors to my site (it was published on a weekend as well).

socialmediatoday

Having hundreds of in-content natural links to your site’s inner pages can also help build up your site’s domain authority. And having a strong DA enables a site to compete for highly competitive terms, and it also makes it easier for its pages to be more visible for long-tail search queries.

Given that in-content links are more receptive and are more often utilized by readers/users, they can certainly pass more link value to the destination page that they are linking to. And this can directly impact the search rankings of the link’s landing page.

Lastly, in-content links are very visible to readers (just as I’ve pointed above), which also translates to more brand impression.

It works on other niches

The cycle of gaining natural links on a continual basis doesn’t just work on content-rich and tech-savvy industries (like SEO, social media, technology, etc…). It happens on other niches too.

A good sample of this is Joshua Dorkin’s BiggerPockets.com. It’s a real estate community that produces rich content on a regular basis.

biggerpockets

I’m not affiliated or associated with this site, but I believe Joshua is a reader of my blog (that’s how I got to his site).

Anyway, since they are really active in pushing out useful and engaging content to their community (almost every day), they were able to get ton of natural links to their site’s content.

Like on the most popular post from their blog last month, which was able to acquire links from 16 referring domains. I checked their 4 other popular posts’ link data last month, and each post was able to get 5 – 10 unique linking domains.

Key Takeaways

Contextual link building can be done naturally, but it needs manual push to really scale the process of getting more earned links to a site.

For link building to be really efficient, it’s imperative to consolidate all the other marketing initiatives you do to build awareness to your site.

  • Produce content on a regular basis to constantly grow readership and build more link opportunities.
  • If you can’t produce content on a regular basis, then focus on creating content that no one in your industry can match. Then invest on promoting these assets.
  • Get involved in other online communities in your industry to absorb more readers and possible linkers back to your site.
  • Optimize your content for researchers. They’re the ones who will most likely link back to your content in the future.
  • Work on building an awesome brand through the content you produce, the interactions you make, and the relationships you build.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

More Posts - Twitter - Facebook - Google Plus

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua Dorkin February 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Awesome write up as always, Jason, and thanks for using us as part of the case study. You noted that we put out fresh content almost daily — I set a goal a few years ago to make sure we didn’t go a day without fresh, high-quality content that adds value to the community. We now have 30+ contributors writing for us every week, and we make sure to put out 2-3 good pieces of content from the BiggerPockets Blog. Doing so definitely attracts natural links. Our robust forum community and social network also attract natural links.

I can’t imagine what would happen if we dropped the ball and went a day without content — our community has come to expect it of us.

Its funny — I read your blog and make a habit of leaving feedback when I can. As a result, you’ve come to know our site somewhat and used it as part of your piece today. Engaging your peers is an amazing way to build links without even trying!

To the readers — I’m happy to make myself available if anyone has any questions.

Thanks again,
Josh

Reply

Kinjal February 7, 2013 at 8:35 pm

That’s a big big post. From the screenshot, I see that you’re getting some good traffic from Pocket. Is it pocket reader or what? I haven’t been active on inbound or warrirosforum probably due to the reason that they are different from my niche.But this also gives an idea of how one can utilize the community for better branding mention.
Would you recommend some good sources for us Tech bloggers?

Reply

Pedro Pereira February 8, 2013 at 3:21 am

Great post as always :)

Tks for the shared information :)

Reply

Johnny G from Healthy Wealthy Affiliate February 8, 2013 at 6:07 am

Awesome article. Just added this blog to my must read blogs! You can’t beat themed links from related content. In fact, not only do I teach this type of linking, it’s the reason I am able to make 100′s of sales at will.

Keep up the good work mate – great stuff! Will be pointing this blog to my followers, lot’s to learn here about the power of branding and active blogging.

Reply

Devesh February 8, 2013 at 7:49 am

Another awesome post, Jason. These all are great tips and can do wonders if done properly. I think the best way to get contextual links is by doing creative and epic stuff like this one.

Thanks so much for sharing. Going to vote this on Inbound ;).

-Dev

Reply

chad levin seo hop February 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Yo bud great post. It’s snowing over here in philadelphia tonight so i finally got to do some reading. Were you using Ahrefs or Majestic SEO in that image new & lost links ?

Chad Levin
Seo Hop
Panfecta

Reply

Raviraj@techesound February 10, 2013 at 2:33 am

Really impressive article .. I am going to implement all these techniques for my blog soooner..
really awesome article on link building :-) .. Thanks a lot..

Reply

Mukesh February 10, 2013 at 6:45 am

Bravo kaiser, Can’t leave any word without read, the way of explaination, well researched post(s). From top to bottom it takes me 40 minutes to read all including comments.
thanks,
Mukesh

Reply

Daniel law February 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Excellent post as always Jason.

In the end, it all comes down to how much value you can provide your audience. The more value you provide, the more links you will receive.

Reply

Paul Shapiro@Social Media February 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Jason, this is such a good resource. I didn’t know about the trackbacks in Google Analytics. Thank you.

Reply

Mike Morgan February 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Thank you Jason,

Appreciate your mentions of both our 2012 roundup and my recent SEO post for agencies and marketers.

Kaiser the Sage is a frequently visited blog for us – always extremely valuable insights into content strategy and SEO which we are always happy to share.

And this post is another great example of long form, insight rich content – watch the contextual links come rolling in…

Reply

Tom February 12, 2013 at 6:50 am

Cheers Jason, using Google alerts to track content pickups and mentions is a useful tip, will try that on our next infographic.

Reply

Andrew February 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Hi Jason

I enjoyed your blog. I like your comment that one of the best ways to get links is by creating useful content that people will refer to.

Andrew

Reply

Zion February 13, 2013 at 1:05 am

So many links to check out.

Building relationships through engaging in conversations in a community is something I’m doing right now. This is very important for those like me who are still starting out.

Better get my coffee and start reading jumping to all those links to check them out.

Reply

Stuart Pollington February 13, 2013 at 3:51 am

Excellent post Jason, I especially liked the analytics tip on trackback reports. Nicely done!

Reply

Rajkumar Jonnala February 14, 2013 at 9:14 am

That was a best article, You have researched on every nook and corner of the article topic. Must follow strategies for every SEO.

Reply

Sizwe February 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Hi Jason… thanks for some really useful pointers – getting contextual can be quite challenging when you’re starting off. I have to say we have not made as much use of the Google Analytics tool as we could have (judging by the fact that I barely recognised some of the options you discussed above!).. we’re in the process of properly structuring our tracking per landing page now which I’m hoping will allow us to make more informed decisions.

Reply

Ardiv Jauhari@Internet Marketing February 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm

VERY useful post kaiser! I’m still a beginner in the SEO world and this post could prove to be really helpful!

Reply

Becca February 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I have learned so much by reading your blog. It always amazes me how much there is to learn. It is also mind boggling how fast things change. For a newbie like me having a resource like you is a God send.thanks for sharing.

Reply

Nick Stamoulis February 19, 2013 at 7:27 am

I see many businesses that focus on creating content surrounding current news. While that’s OK to do every once in awhile, the focus should really be on evergreen content. Evergreen content will attract attention and gain links over the long haul as opposed to only a window of a few days or a week.

Reply

Robby February 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

Amazing article. It combines all the aspects and brings the real stuff out. You have taken a lot of time and effor into it. I have to say we have not made as much use of the Google Analytics tool as we could have (judging by the fact that I barely recognised some of the options you discussed above!).. we’re in the process of properly structuring our tracking per landing page now which I’m hoping will allow us to make more informed decisions.

Reply

Jordan J. Caron@Victoria SEO February 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Jason,

The content you continue to create is remarkable. So much value in everyone of your blog posts. I love it.

But is guest posting and link baiting the only ways to get a link in the body content?

Reply

Vince Aquino February 21, 2013 at 6:34 am

You a really the best inbound marketer in the Philippines! This is the first article that I read and will spend more time reading your older post to learn more! Keep sharing more useful article! =)

Reply

Dragos February 21, 2013 at 8:44 am

You’ve done a great job with this article! Thanks for sharing! I am concentrating on link -building these days and I really wanted to know what strategy I should adopt- I was focusing more on social media- not always very successful- but your article gave me some new ideas and I am looking forward to see how it will work!

Reply

Steve February 25, 2013 at 3:30 pm

This is a very good article, that is well thought out and presented. Well done, Sir! Considering that no-one outside of SEO experts knows this kind of stuff, it makes you wonder what these ‘outsiders’ are doing, and what mistakes they are making in their marketing.

Reply

Rajkumar March 3, 2013 at 8:06 am

Very interesting article and i have been looking for this kind of content in the internt for a very long time. Sharing the experience is one great thing and will replicate the success to others also. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

Reply

Diego Martin March 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

Hey there Jason, nice article! I love when someone actually adds value to the readers. Bookmarking it right now. Please keep sharing tips like these!

Reply

Akeel March 16, 2013 at 1:20 am

Thanks Jason for this post your post is very informative ,I am a new blogger I hope your all tips are helps me …..Thanks for the sharing

Reply

led hats May 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm

This is the most in-depth treatment of contextual links I’ve found online so far. Not only you tell how important contextual link is, you also show how to get your website noticed by search engines and visitors through proper execution of contextual linking.

Reply

Jordan J. Caron@Best In Victoria October 10, 2013 at 8:17 am

Jason,

Thanks for showing me how to setup the Google Alerts to see what sites have linked bvack to mine. That’s a handy way of tracking the quality of sites linking back.

Cheers

Reply

Erick October 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Awesome article. This is one of the top ten link building articles i have seen. Thank you for the information.

Reply

aceclue January 31, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Thanks for sharing the article. It is very awesome and informative. It is quite difficult to get contextual link, at least for new brands.

Reply

Axel April 8, 2014 at 8:22 am

Excellent post. I would like to point out that this is much more easy to get contextual backlinks once you’re a bit known on the web. While when you start a new website in a new thematic it’s very difficult, and in that case you often need to build the links “yourself” using guestposting, directories, etc…

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 10 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: