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Key Metrics One Must Measure to Evaluate Success of Link Building Campaigns

SEO strategies don’t work on a set and forget basis. 

And link building, being an essential element of SEO since day one, needs continuous monitoring and measurement. 

Links are among the top two criteria that Google considers while determining page ranks. You cannot ignore something so important. 

But, how do you measure and monitor your link building campaigns?

We wanted to say it isn’t very tough, but that would be a blatant lie.

41% of SEO experts also consider link building as the toughest part of SEO. 

The easiest way out is to hire an SEO agency. Avail professional SEO services to manage and measure your link-building efforts. 

Still determined to go DIY? Here are the qualitative and quantitative factors you should use to evaluate your campaign’s success or otherwise. 

However, note that more than half (51%) of marketers believe link building efforts yield results after one to three months. Though it varies depending on several factors, stay patient when evaluating your efforts. 

Quantitative Factors

1) Organic Search Traffic

Organic search traffic is the primary goal you’d want to achieve with link building and other SEO efforts. And that’s why it is the basic metric that you should be measuring.

But link building is not the lone warrior in your SEO strategy. Make sure you factor in results that come from other efforts like content generation, on-page technical SEO efforts, etc.  

2) Referral Traffic

Guest posts, Help A Reporter Out (HARO), and content promotions are all a part of your link building strategies. And they all drive referral traffic (or at least you expect them to). 

And thus, referral traffic is another parameter that should be used to measure your link building efforts’ outcomes.

Getting referral links from guest posts is, however, an infrequent occurrence. 35% of reported guest posts in a study got only ten or fewer referrals. The same goes for HARO. No one clicks a source link, do they? 

This means digital content promotions are the primary drivers of referral traffic. But again, if you find a lot of no-follow links, don’t be disheartened. Though it isn’t exactly a motivating indicator, it does help in the long run. A balanced mix of do-follow and no-follow links create a sustainable backlink profile. Also, if you get no-follow brand mentions, don’t hesitate to do a little dance. Brand mentions, though, have nothing to do with link building. But, they are good from an SEO and ranking perspective. 

3) Conversions

When you start your link building efforts, you should have dedicated landing pages for the links. And when you get traffic on those pages that lead to conversions, it becomes a positive link building metric. 

Traffic sans conversions is a waste. It probably means your landing pages do little to convert the link building traffic. Or your link building efforts are not aimed in the right direction. 

4) Cost per link

Okay, let’s talk about money now. Link building efforts cost money. It is not always that you get free links. 

Trying your hand at partnerships, relationship building, and cold emails yield little results. Keep trying, though. 

But you do have to sponsor some posts. And pay for certain guest posting opportunities. 

And you need to measure how much you pay for the links you get. Also, if you are working with a team, you need to measure how much they bring to the table (in terms of link building) and at what cost.

5) Domain & Page Strength

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here are some indicators of domain and page strength that you should know:

  • PageRank – Calculated by Google on a scale of 0 to 10, with ten being the highest. PageRank is identified by the number and quality of links pointing to a website.
  • Domain Authority – Calculate by Moz on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest. 

DA considers multiple signals from the Moz crawlers and ascertains how well a domain is likely to perform in search results. 

  • Page Authority – Calculated by Moz. Similar to PageRank, but calculated for a single page and not the whole domain. 

As a metric for link building efforts, you need to measure the strength of pages and domains from which you get links. And also, how much of an increase do these efforts bring for your page and domain. 

Getting links from pages or domains with a higher authority aids your SEO efforts much more than those with lower authority. But, keep relevance in mind too. 

For small scale HVAC businesses, links from a local listing with relatively low domain authority are great. Even better than a backlink from a high DA tabloid that has nothing to do with HVAC. 

Tools that you can use – 

6) Number of links

Well, this is a no brainer. The more links you get, the merrier is the result.

Besides helping you measure your link building campaign’s success, it also helps analyze where you stand in relation to your competitors. 

How many links do they have and how many you have can be dominant ranking factors. Majestic SEO is a tool that you can use for measuring the number of links that you get. 

However, don’t just run after numbers; quality matters too. 

7) Number of Linking Domains

Suppose you have five links from 1 domain, probably because you have a paid partnership with them. Or maybe they are genuinely supporting your content.

And your competitor has five links from 5 different domains. Multiple paid partnerships, maybe. Or sheer luck. 

Who do you think has a better link building campaign? 

If you think both scenarios have equal links and are thus, at par, you are mistaken. 

Google has different thoughts about such a situation. Links from multiple root domains get a higher preference and weightage than multiple links from the same domain. 

Qualitative Factors

1) Relevance

What good is traffic that doesn’t convert? Google has a similar opinion. That’s why Google considers relevance. And so should you. 

Links from sites that are relevant to you are a great indicator. Non-relevant links won’t do much for conversions or rankings. The maximum you can get from non-relevant links is some sort of increased brand awareness. 

2) Anchor Text

As much as the website giving you links needs to be relevant, the anchor text also needs to be relevant. Your brand name or keywords as anchor texts are a positive indicator. Click here, visit here, source mentions and quotes as anchor text mean you need a better link building campaign.

Keywords are anchor text and also help you rank for those keywords. But don’t overdo it. Google is smarter than you think. And it would penalize you for foul play. 

A tool that you can use to analyze anchor texts is AHREFs.

3) Position of Link

The top of the page is the best place to be. If you get all your links from anchor text at the bottom of the page, it gives Google the wrong signals. 

Sponsored links usually find a mention in the footer or the sidebar. Google recognizes this. And understands that the quality of link building efforts as low. 

If all your links are at the bottom or on the side, it means you are doing something wrong. 

Where To Start? 


Feeling overwhelmed with all these metrics? Get managed SEO services from experts. 

An SEO services company like Uplers, for example, can help you create a successful link building strategy. And their team of experts would also help you measure and monitor the success based on all the qualitative and quantitative factors.