Link building: we know we should do it. Most of us spend a good amount of effort and time linking to our own content as well as finding thought-provoking links from other blogs and informational sites. However, sometimes it seems as if we’ve working in a vacuum. How do we know that those links and the effort it takes to find them are really paying off? Are we just sending traffic away from our site or are we adding value that will bring us sales or conversions in the long run?
Measuring the success (or failure) of your link building activities can be a little difficult. After all, there are multiple things to consider. You may be able to track a few conversions from a certain link, but how is that link helping your SEO efforts as a whole?
How to Tell if your Link Building Activities Are Paying Off
Measuring the ROI of your link building efforts is more of an art than a science, since there are few, if any, hard and fast rules. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t get an idea of which links work and which ones don’t. Consider the following points:
1. Track social media traffic. Social media traffic is sort of like the goodwill advertising of the 20th century. You may receive a lot of attention from a post with no sales or you may tweet about something only peripherally related to your product and attract a new customer that realizes you have just what he needs. Therefore, measuring the relation of links and social media to sales is a little tricky. However, whether your social media posts bring in direct sales or not, being active on and linking to and from social media sites can help your site rank better. And, ranking better generally leads to more traffic and more sales.
How do you measure social media traffic? Using Google Analytics is one way. Look under Traffic/Social. This will tell you which social media sites are sending you traffic.
2. Referrals. The referrals report in Google Analytics is another good place to look to get a feel for your link ROI. Look for referrals from sites that were part of your link building campaign. Has traffic from those sites increased since you added the links? by how much?
3. Rankings. Tracking where your site ranks with Google and other search engines is another piece in the puzzle of determining how well your links are paying off. Although a site may rank well (or poorly) for reasons other than links, if you see a spike in ranking after adding links, you can probably assume a cause and effect.
Remember that none of these figures are going to give you an exact quantitative measure of how your link efforts are working. However, by familiarizing yourself with these numbers, you’ll be able to spot trends over time, trends that match at least indirectly to your link building campaigns.
How do you measure the return on your link building efforts? Share your secrets with our readers by leaving a comment below.