How to Monitor Results in Link Building

  • Monitoring the impact of link building is objectively difficult, since we still don’t know exactly how Google defines good or bad backlinks. 
  • The definition of success is subjective and depends on the metric you’re looking at.  
  • The best advice we can give is to analyze your performance by taking a look at each of these metrics together. If the numbers are increasing, your link building campaign is a success. 

Monitoring the impact of link building is objectively difficult. There are a variety of metrics within SEO that can affect a website’s rankings. Therefore, it’s difficult to proclaim that backlink A that was built yesterday improved average position by 10% or that backlink B increased impressions by 3%. These increases (or decreases) could have been due to a random update made by a web developer or just due to natural fluctuations in search engine visibility. 

So, when monitoring the results of your link building campaign, it should be taken from a holistic point of view. To effectively monitor the performance there are a number of metrics you can keep watch over to determine your campaign’s effectiveness.

The link building metrics you need to track

From domain authority to number of backlinks, here are a handful of the metrics you should be watching to determine the impact of your link building efforts!

Domain authority

Domain authority, or authority score, is a way to gauge the SEO value of a specific domain. Typically, domain authority is calculated using the number of backlinks, referring domains, and other SEO metrics to create a score on the scale of 0-100. Generally speaking, sites with the highest number of backlinks and referring domains have a higher authority score. Oftentimes, you’ll find social media sites have the highest authority score because of all the publications linking out trending posts.

Domain authority can be used as an indicator of your campaign’s performance by actively monitoring the increases in your score. However, this still only gives you part of the story because authority scores are artificial scores that do not have a direct impact on your true SEO value. You must take domain authority into account along with other metrics over time to get a clearer understanding of campaign performance.

Page authority

Similar to domain authority, page authority is a method for gauging the SEO value of a page. Instead of a score for an entire domain, page authority is a score for individual pages to help you determine the potential value of the page linking to you. However, just like domain authority, this is an artificial score created by SEO tools. The score does not reflect a page’s true value in the eyes of Google. Though, it is a great attribute to keep in mind when evaluating link prospects!

Number of referring domains 

Referring domains are the unique domains that are pointing to a domain. For example, if and were linking to you then it would represent two referring domains. Referring domains are said to hold more weight compared to the sheer number of backlinks your site might have. Therefore, if you have a large number of referring domains, then it’s likely that you have a fairly high authority score. Monitoring the increases, or decreases, in your referring domains is a great way to gauge the overall growth of your backlink profile and authority growth.

Number of backlinks 

Backlinks can be another great way to measure your campaign’s performance. Obviously, if your backlinks are growing then it can be a clear indication that your outreach or content strategy is working (hooray!). However, this is still only part of the picture.

No matter what SEO tool you use, you’ll always be limited by the efficiency of that tool’s crawler. The less efficient it is, the less accurate of a read you’ll get on backlink growth. With that said, Google’s Search Console reports on links would be the most accurate but it’s not very user-friendly. 😕

Search visibility

Search visibility is the percentage of your tracked keywords that are ranking on Google. This metric represents how likely a user is to come across your website while searching for that bucket of keywords. Visibility percentages can give you an idea of how Google has reacted to your link acquisitions. You can get even more granular if you’ve grouped your keywords together by category. Grouping your keywords by category would give you a clear understanding of how a particular link may have impacted a small group of keywords.

As with other metrics, search visibility doesn’t quite give you the full story. Sure you might have seen a visibility jump after a link was added but was that due to another SEO change on the site that you are unaware of? There are a lot of things that can happen both on your site and on competitors’ sites that can affect your search visibility at any particular moment.

Link building performance monitoring is tough! 

As you can see, monitoring link-building performance is a rather difficult thing to do. What makes it so difficult is that we still don’t know exactly how Google determines good or bad backlinks. We’re left to rely on (sometimes) vague guidelines on backlinks that can raise more questions than answers.

So, there are a lot of factors to consider when analyzing the performance of your link-building campaign. The best advice we can give is to analyze your performance by taking a look at each of these metrics together. One single metric will never provide you with a full look at your performance. One important thing to note is that if each of these metrics are on the rise, then it’s likely that your links are helping out!

If this all makes your brain want to explode, don’t worry we can help! Let us handle your link building campaign. We’ll take care of all the outreach so you can sit back and watch the links come in! If you’re interested in pursuing a link-building campaign with Redefine, feel free to drop us a line.

Author avatar
Jason Martinez
Jason is a Cal Poly Pomona Alum, extreme fan of marketing, and social media advocate. As a Brand Marketing Manager at Redefine Marketing Group, he is responsible for the development and execution of strategy for reputation management, link building, and social media marketing for both the agency and its clients.
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