Most business owners are well aware of what content marketing is. Fresh, engaging content attracts people to your website by encouraging search engines to index it. When users search for information online, your content comes up according to the most relevant search results. With online marketing, the focus has always been on keywords, specifically the words and phrases people enter into search engines to find you online. Although these keywords are important, the means of targeting these terms has evolved. One reason for this change is the way Google delivers search results using context and user intent, rather than relying on just phrases and keywords for everything.
Understanding Contextual Links
Contextual links are links that you insert into specific words and phrases found in your webpage content. Once a user clicks on the linked keywords, they send them to another website. Contextual links differ from regular links because you use targeted keywords from the actual content of your website, keywords that relate to the website URL of where you want to send your visitors.
Google considers contextual links within your page content to be natural, which gives you ten times the chance of ranking higher in its search engine. Regular links usually show up separately, on the website sidebar or footer. Contextual links are also embedded within your content, and Google prefers them, considering them unique and giving them greater weight. The result is a higher Google PageRank (PR) and Search Engine Results Page ranking (SERP ranking), which attracts more visitors, expanding your reach.
Think Like Google
Google produces search results based on user intent, the main goal of the search, in conjunction with keyword or phrases, which enables the site to implement a variety of algorithms to deliver the best results. Keep these features in mind when creating contextual links:
- Auto Complete – When a person starts to type into Google search, it will attempt to finish your phrase for you based on previous searches. This is useful to both the searcher and the marketer, because you can use this feature to test your keywords and key phrases in order to fine tune your content strategy.
- Local Results – Once you sign into your Google account, Google looks at your computer’s IP location, and provides results based on where you are. For example, if you do a search for car washes, it will list the ones in your local area.
- Did You Mean – When people type into a search engine, they often misspell words or letters. To offset this, Google offers alternative suggestions to help them find what they are looking for intuitively.
- Knowledge Graph – Google’s Knowledge Graph is an ever-growing collection of data that includes images, videos, maps, facts and statistics. This information can help you discover what Google associates with the terms you and your visitors are using. The goal of Knowledge Graph is to help people research topics quicker and more in depth with ease.
- Google Analytics – Although there is a slight learning curve when setting it up, Google Analytics provides a clear picture of how your website is performing in terms of attracting and retaining visitors.
The Importance of Intent
When you create your SEO strategy, consider the content and keywords in your website in regards to the intentions of your visitors. Next, take your visitor’s intent, and use it contextually in your content to target your audience even further in their search results.
For example, let’s say you run a business that remodels bathrooms. The first thing you want to do is create a list of common keywords and phrases related to what you do i.e. bathrooms, custom bathrooms, and bathroom design. But don’t want to stop there – go a step further and consider the words and phrases that match your user’s intent. Match context with content to identify effective content ideas by answering the following questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What are their problems and needs?
- Why are they searching for my website?
- Where are they located?
- Which of my services do my visitors inquire about the most?
Choices in Content Cake
Here are the three basic types of content that are contextual-link friendly:
- Sales-Centric – This is content you can use to increase sales and conversion rates, such as information about a new product or the announcement of a sale or special promotion.
- Informational – Educational content that answers questions or solves problems specific to your visitors.
- Give and Take – Use this content to ask visitors to provide contact information in exchange for a free email newsletter or special webinar.
Remember, when you create contextual links, use keywords that are relevant to your articles, your website, and where your contextual link points to. They must look natural where they sit in your content, so Google will give them the highest ranking possible. One way to determine if your contextual keywords are effective is to look at site ranking reports. According to Posirank.com, a top SEO reseller, site ranking reports can provide invaluable insight to how your marketing efforts are working for your company. By using analytical tools like site ranking reports and Google Analytics, you can avoid practicing SEO like tossing darts blindly at a dartboard, hoping to hit your target.
Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, SEO tricks and duplicate content. The smart computer users of today know the difference between relevant content and those that contain nothing but meaningless fluff. Be sure to create content that attracts your target audience, instead of sending them rushing to find the exit button. Give them the information they seek and want to share, and your content will continue to work for your brand for a very long time to come.
Andrew Johnson is a longtime business owner and online entrepreneur. When he’s not busy in the office, he likes to share his insights on marketing and SEO.