That’s a wrap! Thursday saw Campaign Executive Tilly deliver her debut BrightonSEO talk, showing us how to communicate the real value of backlinks to the people that matter.
Missed it? No problem—whether you didn’t get a chance to see the talk or just want a recap of the key points, read on for Tilly’s post-conference wrap-up.
Links aren’t tangible.
They’re important, but they’re also not as easy to prove in terms of value.
Indeed, when compared to onsite or technical SEO elements, or even PPC, the impact of backlinks can be a little harder to show.
The changes in rankings aren’t immediately visible, often taking months to appear, but it is immediate results that clients and stakeholders want to see.
In order to see the benefit of backlinks, you ideally need to put your site into a tool (Ahrefs or SEMrush, for instance) and physically see these links and the impact they have: SERP rankings, traffic, keywords, and so on.
On the one hand, some brands don’t have these tools, and for the brands that do, they often aren’t fully using their tools to best effect to visualise their link building efforts.
So are backlinks really important?
At Seeker, many of the brands we work with want increased revenue. We know that through building backlinks we see ranking improvements, which leads to increased traffic, which leads to increased revenue for brands.
But it’s not just our team of experts that know it—the industry knows it too.
Links are still considered one of the most important ranking factors, alongside other factors such as quality of content, site usability, and various on-page factors. Links show trustworthiness, show expertise, and help with overall site authority.
(We’ve explained the importance of backlinks in an earlier blog—check it out!)
As link builders and SEOs, it’s our responsibility to show clients the value of links, making it clear what we aim to achieve from link building and what results we can expect to see.
How do we prove the value of links?
We need to show brands and stakeholders why link juice holds so much value, and physically prove that links have an impact on site performance.
Selling a CEO or an old-school marketing director on the value of a link isn’t easy. But once they understand links and see how this generates revenue, they’ll soon come on side—it’s all about showing the cause and effect.
Here’s how we show clients the value of our link building efforts at Seeker.
Look at what competitors are doing
The competitors above a brand in the SERPs are the blueprint. They are already ranking and they have got the key, so we need to know what they are doing.
For every brand, we conduct gap analysis reports. This highlights the gap between them and their competitor in terms of rankings and the total number of backlinks and referring domains.
We then use this report as a benchmark for how many links we need to build in order to match our higher-ranking competitors—what is known as a link deficit.
Track the links that are built
We input every link we build onto SEOmonitor as an annotation, so that we can see when a link has gone live.
We can then compare this during reporting to any movements in key metrics. This lets us see a correlation between notable increases and links that went live which may have contributed to this.
Report on the links built (and their metrics)
Now, this may seem obvious, but this is actually a crucial part of showing value and emphasising the impact that links have had on overall performance.
We give the brand access to every link we’ve built. Transparency is key, and you should be proud of the links you are building.
When reporting on links built, we report on the metrics of the linking site, highlighting other key factors such as the relevancy of that site to a brand and their target pages.
Combining this with tracking helps us to report on any increases in metrics, traffic, and revenue that the brand has had and how the links built have likely impacted this.
We educate our clients
If your clients are unsure of what backlinks are and how they work, you need to educate them and help them to understand where links fit into your overall SEO strategy.
As humans, we don’t trust something that we don’t understand. As link builders, it’s our job to help stakeholders understand so that they can welcome link building with open arms.
One-on-one (or even group) training sessions are essential for enlightening your clients or stakeholders about where your links fit into their wider marketing strategy. Share your knowledge with clients, and they’ll look at links the same way you do.
There’s no point in building links for clients or stakeholders if they don’t understand the what, why, and how of them. Hopefully, you came away from my talk with the tips you need to help the people that matter care about the links that matter.