Links and content are still the two most important ranking factors in today’s digital landscape. Most experts also believe that links are here to stay and will continue to be instrumental in the future. But before you jump headfirst into a link building campaign, you need to estimate how much you should invest in it, if at all.
That’s where link building ROI comes in. Many businesses are confused about how to measure a return on investment on something as confusing as links. In reality, you can get a pretty good estimate with just a few metrics such as your click through rate, converting traffic, the average value of conversion, and the number of links you need to meet your ranking targets.
Conducting a quantitative analysis before launching your link building campaigns can help you maximize the potential of your investments. Our comprehensive guide will demystify link building ROI for you, so you can make sure your linking efforts pay off in the long run.
Measuring Link Building ROI: The Complete Process
The process of measuring link building ROI can be divided into two parts: the return and the investment.
Return from a link building campaign is simply how much revenue you can generate from a realistic ranking target for particular keywords. On the other hand, the investment can be measured by identifying how many links it will take to reach that target.
Measuring the Return
Step 1: Set a Realistic Ranking Target to Estimate Traffic and CTR
The first step is to identify a ranking target for a particular keyword. This will involve the estimation of a realistic search volume and the positions you wish to target. You may want to ask yourself some honest questions about whether aiming for page one or the top five is practical or not.
You also have to consider the position of the pages you’re trying to rank among other factors and identify the click through rate (CTR) depending on your search traffic estimation. This way you can extract a multiplier for your total search traffic, giving you a tentative figure for how many visitors your website gets.
For example, if you think you can get 1000 searches per day with a 10% CTR, then the page will get roughly 100 visitors per day.
Step 2: Estimate the Converting Traffic
We’ve already found that the page is getting 100 visitors every day. However, the question remains, how many of those people are signing up or paying for your services? This is the converting traffic or conversion rate (CR) of your page.
If you get 100 people per day to visit the page and you have a 1% CR, you can estimate that at least one person will sign up for your service every day due to ranking on Google.
Step 3: Estimate the Average Value of Conversion
Measuring the converting traffic is all well and good but we need to know what that conversion is adding to our revenue. For that, we need to find out the value of a single conversion. So, if you’re selling a product worth $100, that’s the value of one conversion for you.
Putting all that together we get…
Revenue = Value of one Conversion x Conversion rate x Traffic Per Day
Value of one Conversion = $100
Conversion Rate = 1%
Traffic Per Day = 100 visitors
Revenue = 100 x 0.01 x 100 = $100
To summarize, if you’re selling a $100 product, have 100 visitors a day, and have a 1% conversion rate, you can make $100 every day. That makes around $3,000 per month and more than $36,000 per year. This will be your overall return for the ranking targets of your choice.
Measuring the Investment
Step 1: Compare the Domain Authority (DA)
DA is a benchmark to measure the strength of a domain and how well it’s doing on SERPs. It ranges from 0 to 100 and is based on a logarithmic scale. These ratings can be extracted from a number of reliable, industry-standard tools such as Ahrefs and Moz.
You can compare your DA to your competitors and figure out the link gap between them. To calculate how many links are needed to fill this gap, simply look at the number of quality domains pointing to their homepage versus yours.
Step 2: Check the URL Rating (UR)
The next thing to consider is the strength of the particular page you’re trying to rank. This is measured by the UR of the page which is also on a scale from 0 to 100. You can get a rough estimate of how many inner page links you need to fill the gap just like you did for the homepage.
Going with the example we mentioned above…
Let’s say after all these comparisons, you decide 10 homepage links and 10 inner page links will get you where you need. That means you need 20 links per month to stay competitive. If each link costs around $200, you’re looking at an investment of $4,000.
The question is whether you would be willing to spend $4,000 for a $36,000 a year return? That seems like a pretty good deal to us. However, if you bumped up the price to $10,000, it might be overkill considering the returns you’re getting. On the other hand, if you lower your investment to $500, that’s probably not going to get you the results you need.
Note: The values you come up with will be estimations that are subject to change. Due to the multiple factors that affect the ranking in general, it can be almost impossible to get the exact numbers. However, since there is real math involved here, you can get some close estimations to help you make some informed decisions.
Consult a Professional Link Building Agency
All these calculations can get a bit too confusing, especially without any experts on board. To simplify your link building journey, you can consult a professional link building agency. Such agencies have the right knowledge, tools, and experience to help you figure out the cost and returns in no time.
At Outreachmama, we use our proprietary algorithm to analyze your site versus your competitors while factoring in your backlink profile, its strength, relevancy, and other considerations. With that, we create a comprehensive link report with SEO analysis, competitor rundown, the estimated number of links you need, and the budget required.
If you provide us with the right metrics, we can also calculate the estimated ROI and discuss further steps to maximize the potential of the campaign. This may include bridging the content gap between you and your competitors by providing relevant content suggestions to bump up your rankings.
How to Maximize Link Building ROI
After all these calculations, you’ll have a rough estimation of the ROI on your hands. This figure might either work in your favor and fit your budget or prove to be too expensive and time-consuming for you. Let’s take a look at how we can deal with either of those cases.
If the ROI works out…
Identify the Content Gap
If you’re on board with the ROI calculations, you can take your on-page SEO a step further by filling the content gaps. This would include improving your content, its search intent, and keywords for better on-page optimization. Tools like Search Console, Ahrefs, SurferSEO, and even a manual review of SERPs can help you achieve that.
Identify the Link Gap
For off-page optimization, we need to identify the link gap at the domain and page level and execute campaigns to fill it.
If the ROI doesn’t work out…
Work on the SEO
By working on SEO, we mean rethinking the keyword strategy and targeting SERP features.
Rethink Keywords: Find out if you can rank for other less competitive and more targeted keywords. This can be done by combing through competitors’ keywords and finding more effective keyword targets.
SERP Features: Find clever ways to navigate the SERPs by ranking for snippets and targeting the schema markup. When it’s not realistic to compete in terms of DA, you can try to consult agencies that will help you gain advantage over the algorithm.
Explore Alternative Traffic Strategies
Sometimes SEO isn’t the best strategy, especially if the page is too ad-heavy or there are too many high DR competitors. In this case, you can go for alternate traffic strategies such as PPC, social traffic, or PR.
PPC: If SEO is like setting up traps for opportunities, PPC is like hunting. You can get some immediate feedback about what’s working or not. If you have a good PPC partner, you can leverage your PPC data and revenue to invest in your SEO campaign.
Social Traffic: You can leverage organic or paid traffic from your social media platforms.
PR Agency: You can also go for a PR agency whose goal is to get you featured in well-known brands. This may have SEO benefits but it’s more about getting your content on other websites to boost your traffic.
Investing in Link Building: What are the Risks?
A lot of businesses are concerned about the risk that may come with investing in link building. Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to linking campaigns. The risks and rewards depend heavily on your profitability, industry, and traffic potential. However, if you’re worried about losing your investment due to Google’s strict attitude towards building links, you can rest easy.
Google no longer penalizes or devalues your entire website because of links it finds to be spammy. Instead, it simply devalues the spammy links. You may lose some ranking because of that but it’s not as harmful as being shut down entirely. It almost seems like Google is also warming up to the idea of building links, making it virtually risk-free.
How to Measure Link Building ROI – In Conclusion
Measuring link building ROI can be a tricky process. With so many factors affecting the success of your website, it’s difficult to pinpoint what link building can realistically contribute to it.
Thankfully reliable metrics like converting traffic, click through rate, and domain authority can help you narrow down exactly how many links you need and the returns they will generate.
When you look at all the successful link-building campaigns around you, it’s easy to see that in most cases, link building can definitely add to your revenue in the long term – if you do it right, that is!