Backlink, SEO, SEM. We all hear these words buzzing around the PR and marketing space. What do they really mean? And more importantly, why the heck are they so expensive?! Public Relations professionals seek placements in digital outlets to provide potential customers with validation from a more recognized and trusted source and increase brand awareness. What many PR professionals don’t know, is in promoting their clients’ stories through targeted placements, they’re also participating in one of the most valuable offerings of an SEO practitioner: backlinking.
The value of backlinking as it relates to PR comes from the “vote of confidence” granted by industry leaders and ultimately Google, which then affects the searchability of your brand. When reputable sites (such as Forbes, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times) hosts these links, your clients’ brands become more credible due to the reputable association you’ve generated with these outlets’ website. This can provide a ton of value for the brands your represent - not only do your PR initiatives spread the word about their offerings or stake in current situations, they also increase site ranking thus improving the odds of landing on the first page of search and ultimately resulting in a click by prospective customers.
When it comes to tracking a return on any sort of investment the first step is to set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and to decide what specific indicators define a win for your clients. In most cases, the most effective metric is web traffic conversions because of the direct, measurable correlation between the link traffic and revenue generated.
Second, using Google Analytics, site owners can set up goals to identify actions which can account for a conversion. Traffic generated from backlinks can be tracked by source and associated with a specific value assigned to a conversion. The more specific you are with your goals, the more accurate and more beneficial the information you will receive.
Third, assist your client in creating content which supports these goals. A recent survey of 628 SEO experts revealed 70% agree data and research-based content is the most effective for link building when it comes to content marketing. Videos came in a close second at 66% followed by infographics at 61%. The key factor in all of these types of content is creating something easily shared and referenced.
The final step in tracking ROI from backlinks is reviewing the data on a regular basis to decide which sources were most influential in achieving your goals. Depending on your traffic this could be assessed on a weekly or monthly basis and will influence your content strategy moving forward. Once the best sources helping to reach your organization’s goals have been assessed, you are able to develop strategies to target similar sources and amplify the potential ROI of future backlink opportunities.
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