5 Ways to Track Link Building Success in the Social World

Link building is evolving fast, an excellent post over at Wiep covering 10 years of link building advice gives a quick overview of this. Strategies are changing, taking on a more social feel, with link builders more and more running marketing campaigns that drive awareness of your brand via links.

A growing problem for content lead strategies is people are becoming more inclined to tweet or like. Google & Bing have confirmed that both Twitter and Facebook influence SEO and a recent case study from SEOMoz highlights the potential of twitter to affect rank (although in my opinion it’s near impossible to provide an exact correlation between each). There is no relevance in terms of Twitter profile rank and from experiments I have run using Fiverr, the core problem with social signals is they still appear to produce a QDF effect, quick increase, but difficult to get sticky without links, of course the initial boost and eyeballs on your content for relevant searches can lead to links.

What to Measure

The measure of any link building campaign is usually SERP increases for target keywords. Even though Google has changed the game a little in terms of returning the most relevant page for your site, this is still the standard way of measuring the success of a campaign. The following are a list of 5 reports that can be used to track the success of a link building campaign, it gives a better overview of performance, rather than focusing on just keyphrase rank.


1. Search Rankings and Visits for Target Key terms

I use Raventools to track keyphrase changes, this allows you to see peaks from link building activity and if those peaks result in long term improvements.

Keyword Rank from Raventools

You can then overlay visits from Google Analytics to establish any traffic improvements from the link building activity.

Raventools Keywords and Visits

The above is a really good check for your link building efforts – also interesting for my two most noticeable peaks – traffic increased before the short increase in rankings.

2. Increase in search traffic due to link building

Creating advanced segment for target keywords can give you a comparison of traffic before or after your link building campaign. Remember, it may not always be optimal to just include target keywords, you may want to add a couple as regular expressions to ensure you capture traffic increases for all relevant keywords. For example if you are building links for “red widgets” – you may begin to rank for “red widgets the best advice”, “an explanation of red widgets” – if you have relevant content for those keyphrases on your site.

Google Analytics Search Traffic Increase

Google Analytics Search Traffic

3. Increase in traffic from geographic regions (International Link Building)

If you are running link building campaigns across a number of countries, it’s worth segmenting your organic traffic by country to look for increases.

4. None Branded Search

This is a standard metric and is probably something you look at on a regular basis regardless of link building campaigns – if you don’t – I worry for your clients. Make sure you exclude all instances of your brand keywords.

None Branded Traffic Google Analytics Advanced Segment

5. Links from specific site and authoritative types

If you are running a link bait campaign for a client or managing large link building projects using agencies, it’s good to keep an eye on the type of links being acquired. There are a couple of recommendations I have for this (I would love to hear more):

a) Keeping Track of Links – RavenTools

Raventools has a link manager allowing me to import links via a csv file and add link monitoring to each. Using this will ensure I get pinged each time the status of a link changes. It’s good for tracking link rot, although that can be time consuming if building a lot of links across a number of countries.

Raventools - Link Manager

b. Checking for Site Type + Authoritative

One you have a CSV of those links, you can use a tool like LinkResearchTools to check what kind of links are being acquired (just import your links):

Site Type:

LinkResearchTools - Site Type

Authority of Links:

LinkResearchTools - ACRank

Any reports I am missing ?

About Kieran Flanagan

Online Marketer who implements both inbound and paid strategies to help companies grow internationally. Lover of content marketing, SEO, analytics, CRO and strategy. A highly motivated marketing geek high on data crack.