I began this ‘Link Building’ series, last November, by discussing inbound links and their impact on improving site Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance. There, I covered the significance of having links and getting links. Then for December, the discussion was on methods for acquiring authoritative links, and the impact of Social Sharing. Now for the final and third part of this series, we will discuss Link Building impact tracking and measurement options.

Any correct measurement of Link Building “Return On Investment” (ROI) is a long-term process, but many business owners expect immediate results and link numbers are available to address concerns.

Because links improve rankings, they indirectly improve revenue… yet rankings (and other things) are between the two.

I’m not saying you should stop paying attention to your number of links, as they do have their purpose, even if only to put minds at ease.

I am merely reporting that the number of links isn’t sufficient, as you need to do two additional things:

  • Start thinking of the bigger picture, and stop referring to the process as link building
  • Get a report on the full package of metrics, with both short and long-term goals

A robust reporting package should consist of:

  • Conversions
  • Traffic
  • Rankings
  • Consumption


Many times changes in conversions come from changes in traffic. You typically won’t see changes in conversions unless more people are coming to your site. Traffic can be measured 3-6 months out from the start of a campaign. These new numbers need to be measured against your traffic data history.

Tracking tips:

  • Establish traffic-increase goals: what does a successful campaign look like?
  • Utilize Google analytics
  • Account for any seasonality, if relevant


Links affect rankings; rankings affect traffic; and traffic can affect conversions.

Ranking changes typically occur within 3 months. Rankings have become more difficult to track with personalization (customization that is relevant to the individual user, based on the user’s implicit behavior and preferences, and explicitly given details). So be sure to manage expectations.

Tracking tips:

  • Determine what keywords or phrases you want to target
  • Turn off personalization
  • Utilize rank checking tools to evaluate performance


Basically, Consumption shows how many people consumed your content. Customers interact with your campaign in many different ways, such as social sharing and linking.

Other consumption metrics, such as views, can also be measured. Such metrics are relatively instantaneous, allowing for quick results reporting.

Tracking tips:

  • Determine goals for a campaign
  • Implement social tracking via Google analytics
  • Utilize tracking  tools and basic organization to track links earned
  • Get a backlink report on a page in question to do a more thorough report after a few months

Linking to customers (in its many forms) can be your link to success in 2013! So, engage and enjoy the Relationship Building process.

Feel free to leave a comment with your experience in link building.