Measuring ROI of Link Building with Google Analytics [Part 2]

Data Analytics

Last week we discussed how to use your Google Analytics referral traffic data to inform your link building strategy and identify new linking opportunities. This week we’ll discuss how to use Google Analytics to measure the success and ROI on those link building endeavors.

The easiest and most effective ways to measure link building efforts for generating new referral traffic fall in line with the engagement metrics you’re likely already monitoring:

  • Links by time on site
  • Links by bounce rate
  • Links by percentage of new visits
  • Links by goal completion and goal conversion rate

But a few extra tricks will make your Analytics analysis much simpler.

Create custom tags for link building outreach to better analyze impact

To ensure you’re properly measuring your link building outreach, use campaign tracking with UTM tags to measure the effect of each link you build, rather than just the landing page and domain level information provided by Analytics.

If you’re not already familiar with UTM tags, Google provides a template to quickly and easily generate URLs.

Chances are you’re applying campaign tracking to each of your outbound marketing initiatives, whether it’s AdWords, paid social, native advertising, or some other method. The same should be done for your link building strategy. The following is an example of a URL where you can build your outbound content.

Use Google's UTM builder to track your link building efforts.

If you earn a link from a site partner, there’s no harm in asking them to include your UTM tagging in their URL. If they refuse, no worries; you’ll probably survive with other opportunities.

Create a custom channel to measure backlinks

If you use UTM campaign tracking, you can also track how well your link building efforts are working by creating a custom channel. With a custom channel, you can directly measure how well your link building referral traffic is working compared to your organic traffic, social, etc.

You can also analyze how this channel interacts with other channels to generate conversions using the multi-channel conversion report. Similarly, the Assisted Conversion report will show you how many times your built links played a factor in converting your users.

Create advanced segments and multi-channel funnels to better track assisted conversions from your link building efforts. Image courtesy of Search Engine Watch.

Link building is crucial to the success of SEO and organic traffic, but don’t forget the opportunities it provides for building referral traffic. Building links takes time and effort, so analyze your Analytics referral data so see which links will give you the most mileage, both in domain authority and in referral traffic.

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