What if you could generate a link building report that is easy to digest for your clients?

You’re likely to get them to appreciate more of your overall deliverables, and efforts as well. Thus, helping you retain them longer if you’re an agency, or get more link building budget from your CMO or Head of Marketing — if you’re working in-house.

how to report on links

In today’s post, you’ll discover what types of reports to generate and how to get more buy-ins for your clients.

 

Reports depend on the type of arrangements you have with your client or brand.

If you’re doing it in-house, the report on links may be part of your overall search performance reports. It means it is geared towards the impact of links that have to your organic search.

Of course, there are so many factors that can get your site’s to rank (besides links) and you couldn’t simply separate the link factor itself as the sole indicator of success — increase in organic traffic for a specific month – let’s say.

However, if you have a page solely investing your resources and efforts into building and earning links, you could have a report for the improvement of the performance of that page.

If you’re working in an agency (or you own one), the same thing may be applied if you’re offering full-suite SEO. What you want to do is to ensure those links you’ve built has helped the website attain its desired organic rankings and traffic.

Let me walk you through some of the link reports you can generate to show the performance of links.

What Types of Reports to Generate?

1. Prospecting and Outreach Inputs

For big brands (or enterprise link building), they normally have reviews of every prospect list. This helps them ensure that your agency follows guidelines in terms of metrics you’ve set beforehand.

That’s the reason why it’s extremely important to manage expectations at the start of the campaign. Specifically on what link metrics both you (agency) and your client/brand will agree upon.

Those reviews of client require a prospecting list, which includes:

A. Total qualified sites

Based on agreed metrics, the report shows the list of websites (or just the total number of prospects you’ve vetted on) and have passed the benchmarks (relevance & authority) through proprietary metrics and keen’s eye on quality.

B. Total contacted sites and responses

In most cases, this particular list isn’t included in the report anymore. In-house managers or contact persons for link building assume different contact rates and response rates for each link development campaign.

However, some managers are granular in their approach that they tend to look at those contact lists, and even ask response rates from time to time.

2. Basic Link Deliverables

Common link reports are deliverables.

These reports may typically just be on a spreadsheet or pdf form.

Details include:

A. List of live link URLs

This is a no-brainer. You want to show the exact pages where you got links from.

B. Proprietary metrics

Alongside link URLs, you should be including other metrics such as Site’s DA/DR and Site’s estimated organic traffic (using Ahrefs/SEMRush).

These are handy reports you can easily outsource or hand over to your junior SEOs. As simple as it sounds, the organization of all these live links, when done for years, will be time-consuming.

So you want to make sure you have a spreadsheet or a data collector to organize this for yourself or your team.

C. Number of acquired links per month

For large scale campaigns or for agencies with multiple clients, you want to have handy reports for all campaigns showing the number of acquired links. It could be automated as possible to easily generate it when you need the most.

link reports example

3. Impacts of Links

More than lists, what you should focus more when generating reports is the value of links it has for the brand.

Regardless of the types of links, is the site bringing value to the overall site performance?

We’ve covered lead and lag measures before, but let’s reiterate it again here.

When you’re just asked to generate links, you’re not just trying to hit as a leading indicator. Links could hit a lagging indicator of search traffic.

The defining value of links that you’re acquiring is the rankings of the content piece you’re creating (a specific page) you’re building links to. That makes a lot of sense for business owners as this creates and manages expectations from a search traffic perspective.

A Business Intelligence Approach To Link Building

Cody West covered a comprehensive BI approach to link building which gives you more details on different factors to add to your reports.

Tactical

This answers the questions of how many links do you have to build next month or quarter of the year.

Based on the backlink gap between your site and your competitors, you’ll then strategize how to position in the market by targeting a certain number of links with a good benchmarking of link metrics.

backlink gap traffic think tank

You could add this section to give your client a more detailed view of what to expect from a link building perspective.

Tip: Make sure you balance it with the notion that links aren’t only the moving indicator of success for rankings. They should consider other aspects of SEO to better expect more results from the overall search campaign.

Resources

Based on the resources you have, how much will cost you to generate a link? And long does it take you to hit your acquired number of links per month?

If you’re an agency, the resource section of reports should be reserved for you. This will help you and your junior SEOs to start conversations around the following:

  • Price of links — given you can calculate your cost per link per client, you can assess if you’d like to increase your price per link — assuming you’re offering link building as your stand-alone service.
  • Outsourcing link development projects — is it worth your time to do it in-house or should you hire an agency to do white label link building for your clients

Answers to questions may not be part of your reports for clients, but only for internal use (in-house). This gives you a well-meaning approach to how you will attack your internal link building management.

How to Report on Links

1. Make your reports easy to digest with emphasis on the business value of links

There are many samples of link reports available out there, but one thing you should deeply understand is the idea of simplicity.

The moment your client/in-house team/CMO looks at your report, could they easily digest the information?

Bar graphs, pie charts would only make sense if there is a proper orientation on the value of links for the brand — especially if you’re dealing with business owners who desire for more revenue from their online businesses.

2. Assess the progress and small wins

Link building is an ongoing campaign and doesn’t stop after you rank that one content guide or landing page.

As long as you need more revenue from your business and drive more traffic through search, you’ve got to strategically invest in link building.

Assess the progress of the campaign. If you’re dealing with clients, don’t let them second-guess your work. They need proof that what you’re doing has a business impact on their brand. Check again the BI approach to link building to give you more insights on the topic.

3. Discuss next plans of actions

Progress requires planning. Whether you do it internally with your SEO team or collaborate with content teams of your clients or the business owner itself, you want to make sure you make plans.

Whether it’s planning for more targeted links to a specific landing page or creating linkable assets, do it in a concise and organized manner.

Value and Cost

Link building budget may just be part of another expense report of your client or your company (if you’re in-house).

Nonetheless, if you focus, emphasize, and lean more towards the business value of links, you’re likely to get more buy-in, approvals for more business investments on this crucial and vital aspect of SEO.