Real benefits of link building campaigns

SEO is an ongoing process, all the technical stuff done, content perfectly optimised so you think link building could be a good next step to improve traffic to a website and the quality of this traffic.

How many times did you have to talk a lot to convince customers to run a link building campaign?

In other words, how can you proof with facts and figures the impact of link acquisition? This is something you have to prove to potential or existing clients, but also to yourself while working on it to review its goodness. Web analytics to the rescue.

The purpose of link building*

- Link building is meant to increase your PR, you say
- So, what? What does it mean?, replies the customer
- Ok, more PR makes the site rank better
- Is this going to bring more traffic and conversions?
- Yes, for sure
- Fine, I want to see the ROI of my precious invested money

*we are talking about natural link acquisition, not buying links.

Campaign conditions

To isolate as much as possible the impact of this link building campaign we wanted no other SEO action to be taken along the time. In the middle of the period, the complete website was changed to make its Xhtml more 'bot friendly' and semantic, so we'll take into account just the first part of it, two months.

Pure referrals segment

Take a look at your referrals panel in your favourite tool, Google Analytics in this case, some of those referrals are not so and we want them not to count in our stats to get more reliable numbers.

Analytics segment, pure referrals

1st. Medium: referrals
2nd. Does not match regular expression (mail|search|google|yahoo)*

This way incoming links from email or search engines counting as referral, get out of the game, examples:

The difference can be remarkable:

referrals and pure referrals difference

Direct impact

Basically there are two types of links:
1. the ones to increase website relevancy (followed ones + from high PR sites + not reciprocal)
2. the ones bringing traffic (nofollowed ones)

Anyhow, what we see in analytics panel is just traffic coming from links, no matter which type it is, so the first and obvious impact is traffic.

Link building direct benefit

*Change this regular expression (mail|search|google|yahoo) to fit your needs

Indirect impacts

To find interesting answers think about the different ways this could influence key performance indicators and interesting questions will come to you.

Is link building campaign making my keywords perform better? Yes, it is, (remember that while getting new links to your site, one of the best practices is to include some of your main keywords in the anchor text of those new links).

Check the graph and the numbers comparing the link building period and the previous one.

Link building indirect benefit

This concept can be applied to conversions or any other KPI, just play around with stats.

Additional data

Links amount
   Campaign start: 1
   After 2 months: 60

SERP Positions for main keywords
   Campaign start: not in first 100
   After 2 months: between 11 and 20 (second results page)

Apr 05, 2009
Written by:
Filed under: Analytics

1 comment
Feb 05, 2011
Posted by:
Karin #1

Thanks for this info. It has taken me one step closer to building a report for my link building campaign. I didn't think to exclude certain referrals as you have suggested.

Now my next step is to include ROI figures in the google analytics report. This is not easy and I have been looking for examples on the web. So far, I have not found anything..

Anyway, great post, thanks for sharing..

Have your say
twitter @anilopez

Articles I write for other sites

Analytics Tribulations Of An SEO

The art of measure is never easy but when it comes to SEO it's even worst

Challenges of Spanish Language on Search Marketing @ Multilingual Search

'Standard Spanish' is something that I don’t buy into when it comes to international scenarios. I'll explain to you why and some tips to start facing correctly your Spanish strategy.

Handling Multilingual Sites for Humans & Search Engines @ Bruce Clay Blog

The logic behind the scenes to show all content to bots and the right language to users

Mobile detection issues & Google Instant Previews @ Cardinal Path blog

Mobile web represents the bigger headache ever for those wanting to target the small but growing audience they represent nowadays. check your Instant Previews for possible indexation issues.