September 22, 2020
There was once a time when myself and the teams I worked with would schedule meetings to solely review the number of links and coverage we’d secured, along with the average domain authority of those links….. and not much else. However, this was at a time when that level of detail felt sufficient internally and not surprisingly, clients seemed happy with it too.
We know that ‘good’ links are always critical to any half-decent SEO strategy, but it’s now becoming crucial that PR’s are able to report on, and measure, the direct impact that the coverage they’re securing actually has on their clients website.
For us, reporting on a campaign is now much more than the number of links built or pieces of coverage secured. It now means being able to provide information on a wider variety of metrics that will not only be useful to the PR team, but will also provide the SEO team and clients with useful insights.
To report in such a manner, you need to find the right balance between your SEO objectives and the client’s overall business goals. Below are some of the metrics we advise implementing into your reporting strategy to ensure it’s both intuitive, accurate, and valuable.
Before starting any campaign or long-term digital PR plan, it’s crucial that you get a good understanding of your client’s current backlink profile and the traffic that already points to their site. If you also do this for your client’s top three competitors, you can begin to monitor the increase of their new linking domains and how they compare to your client. After 6-12 months of PR activity, you’re then able to benchmark your activity against theirs and understand who’s building links and who isn’t.
We used this tactic during our ‘always-on’ PR approach for car rental specialists AMT Auto which allowed us to report back on the increase of new linking domains and how this compared to their competitors over the same time period. This resulted in a 213% increase in linking domains for AMT! (Check out the case study here.)
Another way we keep an eye on backlink profiles is by using our new, internal Link Gap Analysis tool that uses data from Majestic to show what percentage of referring domains a website holds that fall within the specified industry.
This type information is useful at the discovery phase as it allows you to review the type of media sectors your competitor’s links are coming from in order to monitor relevancy. For example, knowing that competitors have a high proportion of links coming from national news sites could indicate the domain is open to running and covering successful PR campaigns.
Amongst other tools, we use our Link Gap Analysis tool to inform media lists for outreach. By looking at which publications have already linked to our clients competitors, we’re able to prioritise certain publications and form a “wish-list” of sorts that includes relevant sites that fit our target market and will have a positive impact on our SEO objectives.
Although this is a relatively standard tactic, having a wish-list can allow you to report back the percentage of links from this list that you’ve earned over a specific period. This is also the perfect way to help ‘close the gap’ between a client and their competitors.
The cumulative graph below, taken from our Link Gap Analysis tool, shows the total number of referring domains the target competitors have picked up since the beginning of the available data.
The non-cumulative graph shows how many new domains linked to the target site on a monthly basis over a 12 month period. Spikes on this graph can indicate that the target domain undertook a period of link-building. This time frame is also the period we use to calculate how many links the target domain builds each month on average.
The table below shows how many referring domains each site has, the mean link velocity, and the links required per month in order to close the client’s domain link gap.
The links needed per month refers to the number of new referring domains your client’s site needs to acquire in order to close the link gap. This is calculated by estimating how many referring domains the target domain will have at the end of the timeframe, which involves taking the max monthly velocity and multiplying it by the time period.
The current link gap between your client and that domain is then added to this result, and divided by the number of months in the time frame.
It may sound good if a site has many referring domains, however, if these are all of poor quality their worth is diminished. With that in mind, it’s always important to delve into the authority and the quality of every link built and ensure you include this in your post-campaign reports.
A good way of doing this is to monitor the Trust Flow of your client’s and their competitors new linking domains, and giving them a monthly velocity score .
Taken from our Link Gap Analysis tool, the tables below show the mean and median number of referring domains each of the sites gained on average per month over the last year. These values help to find the average velocity at which the domains build links to new sites, and helps calculate how many links the client domain needs to build per month to close the referring gap.
You may also want to solidify the trust flow of these links by removing all those below a certain domain authority or trust flow. This will help filter out any lower authority placements.
Knowing which areas of the website you should be focusing on is pivotal to maintaining a holistic view of your work’s impact.
To do this, ensure you have a clear understanding of the target keywords and pages you want to monitor. This will allow you to see the direct impact of the link building work on search engine visibility as you build authority to the site. This could include the target growth of pages – or onsite hosted assets – to internally route the authority to those target pages.
For example, our recent campaign Film Franchise Showdown earned an impressive 197 pieces of coverage and over 90 followed links with an average domain authority of 43. Yet, because we also monitored rankings for the keywords incorporated into the campaign, we were able to show that visibility for the target keyword increased as a result of the links we had built.
SEMRush Search Engine Visibility (June 2020)- “real money slots”
You can also use Google Analytics to report on the top referring domains to a campaign landing page and gauge how much traffic has been generated from each site, as shown below.
GA Page Traffic (June 2020)
But to take that one step further, you can also use the same source to measure the overall impact of a campaign based on the number of sessions to the site. This will allow you to compare the success of various campaigns against each other. The graph below shows the overall impact of two campaigns, revealing that the latter generated over double the traffic of the former.
GA Page Traffic (January 2020- June 2020)
Remember that website ‘visibility’ is calculated by using the predicted number of monthly searches for a group of ranking keywords, and multiplying this by the predicted click-through-rate for each ranking position.
This allows you to create a metric estimation for how many users are likely to visit the site as a direct result of the SERP held across the keyword group.
For maximum effectiveness, it’s important to ensure link building forms part of an integrated strategy, and that keywords are chosen based on achievability and likelihood of having a positive imminent benefit on site traffic.
Providing this level of detail shows the true impact of your hard work, time, and your client’s budget, making reporting easier, more enjoyable, and satisfying!
For more information on any of the tips mentioned in this post, our Link Gap Analysis tool, or to chat about how we can help create a Content and PR strategy that’s right for you, get in touch with Hayley and our senior team today – https://www.blueclaw.co.uk/contact.