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Link Building KPIs: 5 Important Metrics for Success

Link building is an integral part of any SEO campaign. No matter what type of business or industry that you’re in, the web will play a key role in generating leads and boosting your bottom line. That’s why it’s important to understand how link-building metrics work, so you can tailor your efforts to meet your company’s needs.
Successful link building is a difficult process, but it is essential for website optimization. But not all link sources are created equal. In this article, we analyze five important metrics that will help you measure success in your link-building efforts. Read on to find out more!
Metrics vs. Context in Link Building
Metrics are a means to an end. They provide a common language so that we can measure progress. However, strictly observing metrics alone is not a silver bullet for optimizing link-building efforts.
The level of success of link-building metrics depends on the context they’re being used in. For example, a website may be receiving a high amount of country traffic, but it’s from a country known for invalid referrals, and it’s all bouncing off the same one or two pages. This situation could indicate bot traffic being bought from invalid referral services.
Metrics should be combined with contextual information to have the most useful insights. But the number of metrics you collect in a given context depends on your company’s specific needs and goals. That’s something an experienced SEO link-building service provider would consider, evaluating the entire picture rather than a few metrics.

Metrics for Link Building

  • Traffic value: This is an approximation of the value of organic traffic a website receives for a keyword if the traffic had been bought from Google AdWords. In other words, it’s a metric of “This is what your organic efforts are worth in AdWords spending.”
  • Organic traffic: How much traffic the website receives from organic search volume and CTR.
  • Country traffic: An important metric because country traffic impacts ad revenue, and in some cases, could be tied to invalid referral data.
  • Outbound link ratio: Link volume to outbound links. This number indicates the ratio of backlinks to high-quality, high-authority links.
  • Domain rating: The relative link popularity of the website, and while higher DR is better, a low DR is not indicative of a toxic website.

Context of Link Building

  1. How many pages sitewide are getting traffic?
  2. How much traffic does the website’s top three pages receive as a percentage of the website’s total traffic?
  3. Keywords that the site is ranking for.
  4. Anchor text portfolio.

So, while metrics are important to measure, they need to be considered in terms of context and the relationship between the metrics and the factors you’re measuring.
For example, while a website might gain a lot of traffic, it could be landing on a singular page, meaning it is either artificially boosted by a paid traffic source or website visitors aren’t clicking through to the entire site.
In that situation, you’d want to investigate the search queries that are driving the traffic. A blog-type website that covers a variety of industries might be gaining a lot of traffic specific to one or two search queries, so it could be a simple matter of the website having a relatively well-performing article but poor performance in the wider context.
The Importance of Contextual Link Building
When evaluating metrics and context, another thing to bear in mind is the strength of contextual links. If a website has a lot of blog content, it’s important to measure how often they voluntarily link to related content that isn’t sponsored.
Google wants to see websites that are willing to link out to authoritative resources because it shows them that the website is a relevant source for others and that they’re a trusted source for information. It’s also indicative that a website is willing to send its traffic to useful resources for the benefit of the user, even if some of that traffic doesn’t return.
So ultimately, you want to measure how often a website links to relevant, useful third-party articles because the content you’re pitching should contain contextual links to boost the authority of your content.
You want to be sure the website isn’t going to either A) artificially inflate their outbound link count by inserting irrelevant links into your content, or B) remove your contextual outbound links because they’re a “know-it-all” blog and think keeping traffic contained to their pages without linking to others is a good idea (it’s not).

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