Writing for the web
How often do you use contextual links in your online content? If the answer is... ‘I’m not sure’ or ‘what is a contextual link?’ you should definitely take some time to read this article.
To quickly clear things up, the term ‘contextual link’ simply refers to a word or phrase in online content that is hyperlinked contextually to other website pages.
For example, if you are interested in the importance of bold and italics in your copy, the link 'bold and italics’ will take you directly to a related article.
This style of hyperlink is now the most common form of linking webpages together – replacing the age-old ‘click here’ link which was developed around the left click on a mouse.
Contextual links are divided into two main categories, comprising of internal contextual links for onsite navigation and external contextual links for outside reference pages.
Below, I will explain in further detail the main uses of these important website components.
Internal contextual links improve navigation for your visitors. One hyperlinked word or phrase can quickly lead visitors to other areas of your website without the need for them to go back to your main menu bar for navigation. Remember, the more user-friendly your website, the longer people will stay.
As well as improving site navigation, internal contextual links offer increased accessibility for people using reader software. When a screen reader reads over the link, it will immediately notify the visitor of the navigation point and read out the ULR address contained within it. Google looks kindly upon websites that have made an effort to improve accessibility and rewards them with higher search engine rankings.
Well placed internal contextual links work well as calls-to-action. This simple one-click encouragement can take visitors directly to your contact page, subscription or order forms, nudging them along to commit.
Google likes to see contextual reference links that lead readers to reputable external resource websites. This is called forward linking and although not as coveted as the prized backlink, they do have SEO value. By ensuring that you have plenty of contextual links to reputable sources, you can actually help your website go up in the search engine listings.
External links to reputable sources will add credibility to your website. When readers see contextual reference links to established reference sites, they will automatically know that you have taken your time to thoroughly research your article, blog or copy.
Contextual links can be added to your website by simply using the editing tools available in your content management system.
For more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by DL