Digital PR, specifically the earning of links back to your site from other sites, is one of the most important elements of SEO.
Though earning high quality links from other, reputable and relevant sites is one of the most important tactics of your SEO strategy, it’s also one of the hardest tactics to measure the impact of.
Digital PR is ever evolving and the way success is measured is too. Gone are the days where just the amount of links built can be used as a KPI. There’s more to digital PR than ‘just’ link building. But with so many theories and opinions buzzing around on how digital PR is measured – it’s hard to know which metrics are worth focusing on.
The digital PR team at NORTH work closely alongside the Tech SEO and Content Marketing team, and together we look at a number of metrics to measure the impact of digital PR. These metrics are simple to measure, easy to compare and clearly show you whether the digital PR strategy is working or if it needs changing.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to measuring the impact of your digital PR efforts, here’s six of the best metrics to start measuring today.
Identify the keywords you want your site to rank for, monitor the position of these on a month by month basis, as well as reporting on them on a quarterly basis. When it comes to digital PR, you should only measure keywords that are relevant to the pages you are outreaching to the media, for example, keywords on a campaign landing page or the keywords for the category pages you internally link to on that category page.
A digital PR campaign alone isn’t the most effective way to get a keyword ranking that didn’t rank at all before, therefore creating a strategy in which digital PR, tech and content work together towards the same goals can give your site a better chance at ranking for new keywords. Ideate and create a campaign based around a specific keyword, or semantically similar keywords, make sure the keyword features in your onsite content and offsite content (e.g. press release), and outreach the campaign. From here you can measure how the keyword(s) ranks after you’ve built links back to your onsite content.
Though a slower burner than other metrics it’s still a very important one to measure. The DA (domain authority) of your site should be monitored on a month-by-month basis. You should see an uplift in the months you have built more high quality links – it’s useful evidence that your link building efforts are working and the credibility of your site is on the rise.
As mentioned before, you should no longer rely on the number of links alone. However it is useful to report on the number of follow and nofollow links secured, especially if these are tied into keywords and you can directly correlate between links to the target page and keyword uplifts. You should also measure the number of follow and nofollow in relation to each other to show the importance of balance for a healthy backlink profile.
Another important element of links secured which should be measured is the anchor text. A healthy back link profile includes a range of different anchor text, both branded and non branded.
The DA or DR (domain rating) of the site you build a link on is important too and should be measured. Some SEOs think that links on sites with a DA/DR of 40 and above are the only ones that should be included. However a backlink profile which only includes do-follow links on very high DA sites doesn’t look natural and Google may think it looks suspicious and the links have been built in an unnatural way.
A healthy backlink profile includes a range of do-follow and no-follow links on a range of relevant sites with varying DAs, we suggest a minimum of DA/DR 20. But don’t ignore the super niche sites where you build links, they may have a lower DA but be super relevant to your site and target audience.
Use Google Analytics to see the number of referred users and sessions coming directly from links that you’ve built. Although this number is often not very high, it’s still important to measure. This metric is also hugely important to analyse which type of landing pages, included in media coverage, are most likely to lead to users clicking through to your site. You can then make sure you create similar landing pages for future campaigns.
Have you created an interactive tool, a quiz, guide or geographical map? If this onsite asset has led to lots of traffic pulling through from media outlets then it’s worked, this tactic should then be repeated again and again where relevant.
Again, monitoring anchor text is a great way to analyse what works well in terms of traffic and what doesn’t. When you first start outreaching content with the goal of building links, it’s good to do a bit of trial and error to begin with. When including a link back to your site in your offsite content, avoid generic anchor text like ‘click here’ – it’s a waste of copy. Instead try using a branded keyword in your anchor text, or a relevant category keyword you are ranking for on page two which has a high search volume and you need to give a boost.
Just like a natural backlink profile, Google also appreciates a natural anchor text profile. A mix of branded, product names and keywords shows Google you’re building a reputable backlink profile.
Measuring organic revenue should be done on a quarterly basis and monthly, but reported quarterly. Look at Google Analytics to see how much revenue has been generated organically in the days after launching a creative campaign which led to both links and brand mentions in the media. The ultimate goal of any SEO strategy should be generating revenue, digital PR helps to improve rankings for priority keywords, and by improving these you will ultimately improve organic revenue. So it’s one you should keep an eye on both following any coverage you achieve, but also long term when your links have helped boost your rankings.
Though, technically, you can’t attribute organic revenue directly to a piece of coverage or link, if you notice an uplift in keyword rankings, organic traffic and consequently revenue following a campaign that secured lots of coverage and links – this is no coincidence.
If you’re looking for a hand or want to learn more about digital PR, browse our digital PR services or get in touch!