What makes a high-quality link? How do we measure the value of potential links and sources? How do we measure the success of our link building?
Much like with other SEO practices and techniques, this is all down to metrics; tools that allow us to measure and track campaigns and actions to assess the results of these efforts. These metrics give us insights into various elements of a brand’s digital presence, from an overview of the entire domain to specified details relating to campaigns and links. In order to gain an effective and accurate insight into the success of link building, we can monitor and analyse several elements, assessing how these work in sync.
Measuring link volume or the number of links a webpage/website has built is incredibly useful when understanding how a domain/website ranks. This metric can be utilised as a strong comparative tool, allowing to compare authority between competitors, as well as comparing results and growth between campaigns. Measuring frequency of links, ties in with assessing link quality. This allows marketing teams to establish the most rewarding channels to focus their efforts, identifying gaps, trends, and opportunities for development.
When successfully building links as part of SEO practices, frequency is simply not enough to produce effective results. Without relevance, quality and context, no matter how frequently a link is shared it runs the risk of by passing the target audience for that niche. That being said, reputable sources can sometimes bridge this gap, due to the authority they possess as a source.
There are two elements to consider when assessing the worth of a source, and investing time in pursuing this; targeted convertible traffic and general exposure. The first, generates genuine traffic from within identified pockets of the target audience. The latter, benefits general brand awareness while simultaneously aiding the conversion of potential customers, outside of this primary audience.
When assessing the quality of a link, never underestimate the power of niche. It’s not uncommon for a smaller group of avid enthusiasts to be much more valuable than a wider, more generic audience. For this reason, investment in both areas is important to create not only awareness and authority but to generate traffic and tangible customers.
While achieving consistent, high quality links from reputable and authoritative sources is undoubtedly beneficial, done incorrectly this will make little impact to the overall ranking of a website.
Link Origin refers to the source of the link, rather than the frequency of the links shared by said source. While it is a qualitative metric, similar to link volume it is calculated differently and as such highlights different data. This reveals a more accurate ranking of a website’s general popularity and the authority this is developing.
Context and Placement
Google, as we’ve mentioned is devilishly clever, getting more intelligent still with its every growing AI capability. One of the ways that Google measures the value and legitimacy of a link is through its placement and positioning within a webpage. The more accessible and pronounced a link is, the more Google will value it. This boils down to visibility, if a source is proudly sharing your link within the body of content on a specific web page it validates it much more than if it were hidden on a less visible part of the page. Google can also use this as a tool to determine organic links from low quality paid links that appear in the same position throughout multiple pages.