Contextualisation in seo is a huge ranking factor when search engines are concerned. Any good seo company will tell you this.
Firstly, what does contextualisation mean?
Well, it’s the action of putting things into context – setting the scene, as it were. So that one can understand what the intended meaning (or purpose) of what it is that is being portrayed in front of them.
In short, giving meaning to something (so it then cannot be misconstrued as something else).
So how does it affect seo?
Well Google, and the like, use contextualisation to interpret the resources that they are looking at. If those signals aren’t present in a page, site, file or resource, then they could easily be interpreted as something else or simply ignored.
Adding context certainly makes life easier for those crawlers (automated bots that search engines send out to pick up data on your site) to get an idea of what your resource is about.
In terms of seo, contextualisation can be summed up as such:
- Focusing the resource to be keyword rich-er
This can be done in a few ways, the main ones being:
- By having the page (or resource) showing clear signals of its purpose or intention
- And from contextual linking (from external or internal links)
Contextualising your resource – Showing the Signs
This involves creating/updating a resource that you are trying to promote (ideally, any page or file you’re personally involved with) and sending out clear signals to describe what the page is about; almost synonymous with, or most would say, on page seo.
Some examples of ways to put a resource into context:
File name conventions is a good place to start. A web page on social media called 1234567.html is nowhere near as useful as a page that might be called social-media.html, for example. The same for PDF’s, Word Documents and even images running throughout your site.
Using metadata (data about data) is a good example of contextualisation. Although a lot of meta tags are generally ignored there is no harm in filling them in. However, the Title meta tag or <title> tag is still one of the most important tags to use.
Definitely have your phrase or keywords in the title tag. If there is a certain keyword you are after then it is best to have it at the beginning of the tag. When locality is involved you can use GeoTags.
For pages (and pdf’s for example) having the keyword phrase mentioned a few times and using variations and synonyms of those phrases helps crawlers get an idea of what your site is about.
Using h1/h2 tags, bold <strong> or <b>, emphasis <em>, and an occasional hint of underline <u> within your content helps wonders as well.
Try not to go too overboard though. Remember your audience are the ones who are looking at your content; the content is for your visitors and not for the search engines.
A simplistic view of giving a site (or a page) context from contextual linking is by using the trusty old anchor text link – and most importantly – what is contained within those <a></a> tags and what it is finally pointing at.
From looking at the top of this page, or even most pages of Elevate, you can get an idea of where we use contextual links with it pointing to the relevant resource. Using the keywords we are after; internally from within our own website.
If you look at the first paragraph within this page, for example, you’ll find the link and anchor text seo company; we’re sending a signal to say our home page, our business, is an seo company.
Main navigation menus on most well-constructed sites give you an idea of how contextual linking works, in most cases the menu is the first thing search engines will crawl to find your other pages.
“To click here or not to click here – that is the question”
A great example of contextual linking, particularly from external anchor text links, on a massive scale and seeing it in action is with the term “click here”. Type this in to Google and you will quickly realise how Adobe’s PDF Reader will most likely be top. They’re top from having most websites, in one form or another, with “click here to download this pdf” on their page.
Of course though, coming up for “click here” as a keyword phrase has no real benefit – for most people and businesses anyway, that is. (Although Adobe would be benefiting from the original external links as users might want to proceed in purchasing their software to construct or edit PDFs of their own – I digress.)
Anyways, if it’s your own company, blog, page or file, you should always describe what you are linking to, whether you are on another site or your own page.
Instead of “click here to visit my website”, which is very ambiguous to say the least, you could write, “Visit Elevate Local for more information on Contextual Linking” instead.
So you can see the importance contextualisation plays. Whether it is internally from within your own website, or externally with good descriptive anchor text pointing to your own pages – how it will help you or your company with an increase in your rankings.