As with any marketing or PR strategy, results must be measured to make sure that the efforts are paying off. Ultimately, effective link building will increase website traffic, but it can be hard to know which other metrics to track to measure success with link building from the beginning of the strategy. This chapter will walk you through each of the metrics you should be tracking to measure the results of your SEO link building strategy.
The overall goal of link building is to increase website traffic, but other metrics can help you determine the effectiveness of your link building strategy as well. The metrics you should track to measure the effectiveness of link building are page authority, domain authority, keyword rankings, and organic traffic.
Backlinks are used as a signal of authority to Google. The more backlinks a page has, the more authoritative it appears to Google. Keep in mind that these need to be high-quality links. Low-quality or spammy links will not help your site, they will hurt it instead. The more high-quality backlinks a page has, the more likely Google will rank it highly. So, if you start to see increases in page authority on landing pages that you are building backlinks to, that is a good indication that your link building is effective. You will eventually gain more organic traffic from the higher keyword rankings you will receive due to the increase in authority, but the first signal that your links are working is authority.
Domain authority increases as the authority of each page increases. This means that the links you build to one page will benefit the domain as a whole in addition to itself. Ideally, this will improve all of your keyword rankings sitewide, since the site as a whole will be viewed as more authoritative. This is a long term effect of link building, so movement in domain authority shouldn’t be expected right away.
Keyword rankings will improve due to link building. This is because backlinks increase the authority of the page which then causes Google to rank the page higher for its target keywords. The first thing you should be looking for when you start building links to a page is the keyword rankings for that specific page. Eventually, the authority gained through links will leak into the rest of the site, but at first, it will only improve the rankings for that specific page.
Once you are about a year into your link building strategy, you should start seeing improvements in rankings sitewide in addition to the pages you have built links to. However, you should be building links to all focus pages on the site, not just relying on these domain-level improvements.
Organic traffic is the main goal of SEO link building. All of the metrics previously discussed lead to higher organic traffic. Page and domain authority lead to improved keyword rankings, and better keyword rankings allow for more organic traffic. This is the ultimate value that link building provides. The more traffic you get to your site, the more conversions you will receive, and the more profitable your site will be. We usually expect to see increases in organic traffic to the pages we build links to within a few months of our link building strategy. Every site is different, and every industry’s keywords have a different level of difficulty, but after a few months is the standard time when results will typically be seen.