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Link Building Metrics: Key Performance Indicators for Measuring Success


The significance of link building remains constant in the ever-evolving world of SEO. The practice plays an essential role in boosting your website’s search engine ranking and driving traffic to your site. However, you need to track results and ensure that you’re getting the desired results.

So, how do you measure the success of your link building campaigns?

There are various key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your link building campaigns. This post explores a few link building metrics to keep an eye on.

We also share tools to help you track your link building success.

But first, the basics.

What is Link Building?

Moz defines link building as getting links from other sites to your own. These links, also known as backlinks, serve as votes of confidence for your site’s authority and relevance in a particular industry or niche. The process encompasses various links, such as inbound, outbound, and internal links, all contributing to your site’s overall architecture.

Link building, combined with solid SEO technical foundations, a good user experience and great on-page SEO, plays a critical role in driving organic traffic via search engines, which is essential for search engine optimization (SEO).

The most popular link-building strategies include;

  • Content marketing
  • Unlinked brand mentions
  • Email outreach
  • Broken link building

What are Link Building Metrics?

Link building metrics are the various measurements and criteria used to assess the quality and effectiveness of a website’s backlinks. They are the parameters used to measure the performance of a link building campaign.

These metrics help the link builder evaluate the quality of the backlinks and the effect of link building on their site’s ranking.

Top 8 Link Building Metrics to Measure Your Campaign’s Success

How do you know your link building campaign is headed in the right direction? Well, you need reliable and quality metrics which serve as a compass, guiding you towards success in your link building journey. Let’s explore some of the most crucial KPIs for link building.

1. Domain Authority (DA)

Domain Authority, or DA, is one of the MOZ metrics that explains how well your site will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). This metric measures a website’s overall authority. DA scores range from 1-100—the higher the score, the greater the likelihood of your site ranking on SERPs.

DA is calculated based on multiple factors, such as the total number of links and linking root domains, into a single DA score. You can use this score to compare websites or track the “ranking strength” of sites over time.

So, how do you discover a website’s domain authority? You can use MozBar or Moz’s link explorer, or the SERP analysis section of Keyword Explorer.

Websites with many high-quality external links have higher domain authority, while those with fewer inbound links have lower DA scores.

For instance, if you launch a new site, you’ll start with a DA score of one. This score will always increase as your site earns more authoritative backlinks.

Note: Domain authority is NOT an official Google ranking factor and does not impact the SERPs. Even MOZ, the developer, agrees with this fact.

Therefore, when acquiring backlinks for your website, ensure they come from sites with a higher Domain Authority (authoritative sources). This will, in turn, impact your website’s authority and ranking.

2. Page Authority (PA)

Page authority (PA) is another link building metric created by Moz that envisages how well a specific web page on a site will rank on SERPs. PA is calculated on a scale of 1-100 and measures the strength of a single page’s backlink profile.

It’s worth noting that it’s difficult to influence page authority directly. This is because PA comprises an aggregate of metrics, each impacting the score. And since it’s a comparative tool, there’s relatively no “good” or “bad” page authority score.

3. Link Quantity and Quality

The importance of having a lot of links on your site can never be overstated. That’s why you build links in the first place, hoping to rank high in search engine results pages.

Having many backlinks indicates a site’s authority and popularity in the digital space. When your site has more links, many users can easily find your content, enhancing visibility and recognition.

But while backlink quantity has its value in link building, it should never overshadow the importance of link quality. Traditionally, link quantity was essential in SEO and could quickly get your site ranking high in search engine results pages. But today, backlink quality matters more than link quantity.

It is better to have a few high-quality links than too many low-quality backlinks. Take a friendship as an example. Would you rather have many friends who can’t help you or a few trustworthy friends who are always by your side?

When you get quality backlinks from reputable websites, it signals to search engines that your website is reliable and the content on it is worth sharing.

So, when building links on your site, focus more on link quality and less on link quality. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore link quantity altogether because it’s also essential.

4. Anchor Text

An anchor text is the clickable text that appears in a hyperlink. It is a vital element in link building and can significantly impact your website’s SEO.

When crawling a webpage, search engines often look at the anchor text to understand what the linked page is about. It helps determine a web page’s authority and relevance. For this reason, anchor text is considered a ranking factor.

However, you should not abuse anchor text trying to manipulate search rankings. It’s a tactic many marketers and SEOs used in the past by creating a large number of links with exact match anchor text. Search engines consider this practice spammy and can penalize your site for it.

Therefore, you should use a variety of anchor text types and create high-quality content that attracts links naturally.

When using anchor texts, ensure they are well-optimized to help search engines understand the contents of the linked topic. You want to ensure that the link aligns with the content it points to—this enhances its relevance. However, do not over-optimize your anchor texts. For instance, avoid using the exact anchor text repeatedly.

5. Referral Traffic

Referral traffic is the amount of traffic that comes to your website through backlinks. It’s an essential link building metric that can help you measure your campaign’s progress.

Unlike other link building metrics, referral traffic offers instant insights. For instance, an increase in visitors from a particular backlink signals that the link placement was valuable and successful.

Additionally, high referral traffic can result in increased conversions and growth. Visitors who land on your site through backlinks from other websites might be your next potential customers or loyal followers. Therefore, strive to monitor and optimize for referral traffic in your link building journey. This is important, especially for businesses and sites looking to grow and engage with their audience.

6. Link Velocity

Link velocity refers to the rate at which you acquire new backlinks over time. It’s a crucial link building metric you should keep an eye on. Link velocity is used to evaluate the speed and consistency of your site’s link acquisition. Understanding link velocity is crucial for maintaining a natural and effective link building strategy.

Remember, Google and other search engines value natural and organic link growth. Therefore, they’ll favor your site if it gains backlinks reasonably and consistently. Sudden or unnatural spikes in link acquisition raise suspicions and may be linked to manipulative practices.

Additionally, excessive or artificial link building efforts can trigger search engine penalties. This often arises when your site gains many backlinks within a short period. This can result in a significant drop in search rankings or even removal from search engine indexes.

When building links, ensure you have a healthy mix of dofollow and nofollow links. This is because nofollow links don't pass link equity for SEO, while dofollow links do.

7. Citation Flow and Trust Flow

Trust flow and citation flow are link building metrics developed by Majectic, an SEO software company. Citation flow measures link quantity, while trust flow measures link quality. These two link building metrics are represented on a scale of 0-100.

If your site has a high trust flow and citation flow, it means many high-authority sites are linking to it. This impacts your website’s SEO and rankings. A balance between trust and citation flow is typically ideal for your link building.

But while these URL metrics are essential for your link building campaigns, they are not ranking factors.

8. Conversion Rate

Ultimately, the success of link building should lead to conversions. Whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter or some desired action, monitoring the conversion rate is essential for link building.

An effective link building campaign should drive relevant traffic that converts into leads or customers.

Tools for Tracking Link Building KPIs

So, how do you measure these link building KPIs? There are various methods and tools to help you track your link building campaign progress. However, you must use the right tools for the most accurate results. Here are the best tools for tracking link building KPIs.

SEMrush: This all-in-one SEO tool offers many features beyond link tracking. It analyses your website’s backlink profile, anchor text insights, and lost backlink tracking, which is crucial in link building.

  • Ahrefs: This tool offers an in-depth analysis of your website’s link profile. It offers referring domain analysis, domain and page authority metrics, and link growth/decline.
  • Moz: Moz Pro offers numerous tools to help you optimize your link building efforts. Top features include link explorer, domain authority & page authority scoring, and spam score.
  • Majestic SEO: Offers trust flow and citation flow metrics, historical backlink data, and topical trust flow.
  • Google Analytics and Search Console: Google’s suite of tools can help track organic and referral traffic, clickthrough rates (CTR) and bounce rates. They are valuable for monitoring website performance.
  • Customized tracking with spreadsheets: You can create customized spreadsheets to monitor KPIs specific to your link building campaigns. This approach allows you to tailor your tracking to the unique goals of your SEO strategy.

What Does Your Backlink Profile Measure?

A backlink profile is the anchors, quantity and quality of links pointing to your website. It is typically used to measure the number and quality of your site's backlinks.

Data in a backlink profile can be conferred in several ways, including using charts. Generally, a good backlink profile is one that has many high-quality backlinks.

Backlinks Metrics for ASO

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of optimizing mobile apps to improve their visibility and rankings in app stores like Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

While backlinks are not directly applicable to ASO, some related metrics can impact your app’s visibility and success. They include;

  • App store reviews and ratings: Positive reviews and high ratings impact ASO significantly. Apps with more positive reviews and higher ratings rank better and attract more users.
  • App store listing quality: The quality and completeness of your app’s listing, including the screenshots, app icons, descriptions, and videos, can influence how well your app converts store visitors into users.
  • App store optimization keywords: Including relevant keywords in your app’s title, description, and other metadata is essential for visibility in app store search results.
  • Competitor analysis: Analyzing the ASO strategies and metrics of your competitors can be valuable. You want to know what works for similar apps and adjust your approach accordingly to improve your app's visibility.

Tracking Your Link Building ROI

Link building requires a lot of time, effort, and resources. Therefore, if you do everything right, you should achieve the desired results. Links measurement will only tell you what’s working and what’s not. However, you need to know whether your link building campaigns are worth the effort and investment. This is why you need to determine your link building ROI (return on investment)—this shows you the profitability of your investment.

Start by determining the amount of money invested in your link building campaigns and the amount (profit) earned from that investment.

Then, calculate the ROI. To do so, subtract the cost of link building campaign from the revenue generated by that campaign. Then, divide that value by the cost of the campaign.

Start Tracking Your Link Building Campaign Progress Now!

Link building, done right, is crucial for SEO. However, results might not show up as quickly as you expect them to. Therefore, you must be patient with your link building.

Use link metrics like domain authority, organic traffic, true skate gaps inbound and conversion rate to track progress.

Now, over to you!

About the Author


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For nearly 11 years, I've spent almost everyday writing. And for a long time, my ultimate gratification has been creating content that gets people excited, inspires action, and drives results.

Hi there, my name is Deboxe. I'm a full-time dad (significant to note) and freelance copywriter.

I'm excited to have you on my page and would be thrilled to work with you.


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