One of the biggest challenges of link building on a commercial level is how to best measure your work.
There’s a huge gap, it’s very easy to measure our tactics and some of the outcomes, i.e. which back links did you analyse, what link worthy content did you produce? And you can measure the ultimate outcome by looking at the analytics data or even the rankings. But that ignores a huge area in between.
How many links have you got? The first step along this path of trying to cover the reporting gap is looking simply at link numbers. We historically favoured Yahoo Site Explorer because it updates quickly. But it’s hugely flawed. It doesn’t have any indication of trust which is so vital in link building and the numbers in the tool are really unreliable fluctuating hugely with no real explanation.
So here are some of the link building metrics I like to look at.
What’s the page rank of your best ten links? Page rank is pretty useless but when you look at your top ten links when sorted by page rank you can get a great indication of how trusted a site is. This isn’t a metric that will change drastically but a small increase in the average is hugely significant and shows a really effective link building campaign.
What’s your share of the links within your market-place? Your number of links is nothing if you don’t know how it relates to your competitors. I recommend taking a list of five big competitors, these need to be a mixture of those ranking well but also who the client recognises as an offline competitor even if they aren’t doing especially well online.
How many links does Google tell you that you have? Google’s link count within webmaster tools is the most accurate indication of the number of links you have that are affecting your link popularity. You need to be integrating this number into you reporting and keep a close view of any changes.
At what velocity are your links increasing? I think link velocity is one of the most important but over looked ranking factors. We’ve seen recently how quickly Google reacts to changes in search volumes, so I see no reason to question whether they would treat links in the same way.
So how do you work out velocity, well if you think back to GCSE science you may remember Velocity = Distance/Time, transpose that onto links and you have Link Velocity = Links/Time. So you really want a graph showing your percentage increase in links every reporting period. Did you increase by 25% last month but only 5% this month? That’s more concerning that if you increase by 15% each month as your velocity is consistent.
So anyone else have any favourite metrics to look at to measure your link building efforts? Leave a comment below…