23 Link Building Metrics & KPIs’ for SaaS companies

23 Link Building Metrics & KPIs' for SaaS companies

Developing a strong online presence is crucial for SaaS. However, knowing which link-building metrics and KPIs to track can be challenging. 

Many businesses struggle to identify the metrics that truly reflect success in their link-building efforts, to measure the impact of these efforts on search engine rankings, and to ensure that their strategies are aligned with Google’s ever-changing algorithms.

The struggle to quantify the return on investment (ROI) from link-building activities can leave many SaaS businesses in the dark and uncertain about how to proceed effectively.

We’ll guide you through selecting the best KPIs and metrics, ensuring your company can grow its online presence effectively and efficiently. 

Part 1: Pre-Campaign Metrics

Focusing on pre-campaign metrics can provide a comprehensive view of your current position, where you need improvement, and how best to structure your efforts for maximum impact. 

Each one offers unique insights that, when combined, can inform a strategic, effective link-building campaign aligned with your SaaS company’s business strategies and goals.

1. Domain Authority (DA) / Domain Rating (DR)

Domain Authority and Domain Rating are like scores that predict how credible a website is on search engines. 

Think of them as grades for your website’s reputation and strength. A higher DA or DR signifies that your site is considered more authoritative and trustworthy, which can facilitate a higher position in search results.

These metrics, developed by SEO tools like Moz and Ahrefs, are key to assessing the starting point of your SEO efforts and understanding your position.

Securing high-quality backlinks from sites with a high DA or DR acts as strong endorsements for your site, boosting your authority and helping you climb the search rankings.

2. Traffic

Understanding your current traffic levels is essential before you start any marketing campaign. It sets the stage for your goals by establishing a benchmark. 

Tools like Google Analytics can help you measure your site’s traffic, including which pages attract the most visitors and how users engage with your content. This data allows you to identify strengths and areas for improvement in your content marketing and SEO strategy.

Traffic isn’t just a number; it’s a goldmine of insights into your potential customers’ behavior and preferences. 

By analyzing where your traffic is coming from and what leads to the highest conversion rates, you can customize your upcoming link-building efforts to target similar sources and audiences, ultimately aiming to boost both your traffic and the quality of your visitors.

3. Relevancy

Targeting links from relevant sites within your industry or niche is more than a good practice—it’s a foundation for successful link-building. 

Relevant backlinks signal to search engines that your content is valuable to readers in your field, improving your search rankings.

This concept goes beyond just adding numbers to your backlink profile; it’s about creating genuine connections with your audience and being recognized as a go-to source in your industry.

For example:

Your site specializes in customer relationship management (CRM), including sales management, customer support, and marketing automation. 

Relevant links increase your site’s credibility and authority, driving targeted referral traffic from audiences interested in what you offer. 

This strategy ensures your link-building efforts contribute meaningfully to reaching your ideal customer and achieving your business goals.

4. Potential Cost

Every link-building campaign comes with its set of expenses, whether it’s for content creation, outreach efforts, or sometimes even for guest post opportunities. 

Estimating the budget required for your link-building campaign is key to setting realistic goals and expectations. 

Consider factors like the cost of hiring writers for unique content, the tools needed for outreach and monitoring your backlink profile, and any fees associated with securing high-quality backlinks.

It’s not just about spending money to get more links; it’s about investing in the right opportunities that will bring in high-quality backlinks, drive referral and organic traffic, and ultimately contribute to your sales funnel and monthly revenue. 

Smart budgeting guarantees your link-building efforts are both sustainable and effective.

5. Quantity of Required Links

Determining the number of links you need to improve your search rankings can seem like a complex puzzle. 

However, it’s a critical aspect of planning your link-building strategy. 

This number varies depending on your current SEO performance, the competitiveness of your keywords, and your overall business goals. 

Using SEO tools to analyze your competitors’ backlink profiles and keyword rankings provides valuable insights into the number of links you must aim for.

Remember, it’s not just about quantity; the quality and relevance of those links play a significant role in your campaign’s success. 

Setting a target for the number of links helps you measure progress and adjust your strategy as needed. However, always prioritize securing high-quality, relevant links over merely hitting a number. 

This approach ensures your efforts contribute positively to your search engine rankings, driving organic traffic and supporting your growth strategies.

Bonus Tip: Don’t overlook the power of internal linking within your own site. While focusing on acquiring external backlinks is important, strategically placing internal links can significantly boost your SEO efforts.

6. Competitor Analysis

Understanding where you stand in comparison to your competitors is also important. 

By analyzing competitors’ backlink profiles, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of their SEO strategy. 

Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can provide insights into their most valuable backlinks, the diversity of their link sources, and opportunities you can exploit. 

This analysis can also reveal the average Domain Authority you should target with your link-building efforts.

7. Backlink Profile Health

Evaluating the health of your current backlink profile is essential. 

Look for a mix of follow vs. nofollow links, the diversity of the link sources, and the presence of any toxic links that could harm your SEO performance. 

Tools like Google’s Search Console and third-party SEO tools can help identify toxic links. You can then clean your site’s backlink profile by submitting these links to Google’s disavow tool in Google Search Console.

8. Keyword Performance

Assessing your current keyword performance is critical before embarking on new link-building efforts. 

Understanding which keywords are driving traffic, their respective search rankings, and the search intent behind them helps you customize your content marketing and link-building strategies to improve or maintain your rankings. 

Google Search Console and other SEO tools like Semrush are invaluable in this analysis.

9. Content Audit

A thorough review of your existing content can highlight what has been performing well in terms of attracting organic traffic, backlinks, and engagement. 

This audit can identify gaps in your content that new link-building efforts could fill, ensuring your content marketing strategy aligns with your link-building goals. 

High-quality, relevant content is a magnet for high-quality backlinks.

Part 2: Post-Campaign Metrics

Focusing on post-campaign metrics in the second phase of evaluating your link-building campaign is essential for understanding the effectiveness of your efforts and guiding future strategies. 

These metrics clearly show the campaign’s impact on your website’s SEO performance, traffic, and business goals. 

Here’s a breakdown of key post-campaign metrics for SaaS businesses:

1. Link Type

Post-campaign analysis often begins with examining the types of links acquired. This includes differentiating between text links, image links, or other forms of backlinks. 

Text links carry more weight with search engines when they include relevant anchor text, while image links can boost traffic if they’re appealing and properly tagged. 

Understanding which types of links your campaign has garnered can help refine future strategies, focusing on what works best for your target audience and SEO goals.

2. Increase in DA/DR

After a link-building campaign, one key metric to look at is any change in your site’s Domain Authority (DA) or Domain Rating (DR). 

These metrics, provided by SEO tools like Moz and Ahrefs, respectively, offer insights into your site’s potential to rank on search engines. 

An increase suggests your link-building efforts have successfully boosted your site’s reputation. 

However, remember these are comparative tools, not direct Google ranking factors, so use them as part of a broader analysis.

3. Increase in Ranking on Targeted Page/Keyword/Anchor Text

Improvement in search engine rankings for targeted pages, keywords, or specific anchor texts used in your link-building campaign is a direct indicator of success. 

Higher rankings usually translate to increased visibility and organic traffic, closely aligning with the ultimate goal of most SEO efforts. 

Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track these changes and understand how your link-building has influenced your standings.

4. Referral Traffic

An increase in referral traffic, as measured by Google Analytics, indicates that the links you’ve acquired are high in quality and placed on sites your target audience frequents. 

More referral traffic means more potential customers find their way to your site, which could lead to higher conversion rates and customer acquisition, directly impacting your SaaS business’s growth.

Here’s how:

  • Start by setting up Google Analytics for your website to track referral traffic.
  • Identify high-quality sites that your target audience visits.
  • Aim to get backlinks from these sites to increase referral traffic.
  • Monitor your Google Analytics dashboard to see which sites are sending you the most traffic.
  • Focus on increasing links from sites that send quality traffic, not just any traffic.
  • Engage in guest blogging, content collaboration, or partnerships with these sites for more backlinks.
  • Analyze the behavior of referral traffic using Google Analytics to understand what they do on your site.
  • Adjust your content strategy based on which referral sources bring the most engaged traffic.
  • Keep track of conversion rates from referral traffic to measure the impact on your business goals.
  • Regularly review and refine your strategy to keep growing referral traffic effectively.

5. Link Position

The position of your backlinks on a page can significantly affect the amount of traffic and value they drive. 

Links placed higher on a page, especially within the main content, tend to perform better than those buried in footers or sidebars. 

Analyzing the positions of your acquired links can provide valuable insights into their potential effectiveness and guide the placement strategy in future link-building efforts.

6. Quality and Quantity

The quality and quantity of acquired links are both vital metrics. 

Quality links come from reputable, high-DA sites relevant to your industry and can significantly boost your SEO performance. 

Quantity, while important, should not compromise quality. High-quality links are more beneficial than a large number of low-quality links, which can even harm your rankings. 

Balancing these two aspects is key to a successful link-building strategy.

Bonus Tip: Remember the importance of link diversity in your link-building strategy. Having a variety of sources—such as blogs, news sites, industry forums, and directories—contributes to both the quality and quantity of your link profile.

7. ROI

Return on Investment (ROI) is key for evaluating the financial efficiency of your link-building campaign. 

Calculating ROI involves comparing the cost of your link-building efforts against the increase in revenue attributable to those efforts. 

This calculation helps assess whether the campaign led to a positive financial outcome and informs budgeting decisions for future campaigns.

8. No Follow/Do Follow

The mix of no follow and do follow links is another important metric. 

Do-follow links pass on SEO benefits and are highly sought after, while no-follow links, although not passing SEO value in the traditional sense, can still drive traffic and lend credibility to your site. 

But why is it important?

  • Do-follow links improve your site’s SEO: They tell search engines to consider the link as a vote of confidence from one site to another, directly influencing your website’s search rankings.
  • No-follow links can drive targeted traffic: While they don’t pass on SEO benefits, no-follow links placed on relevant and high-traffic sites can still bring in visitors interested in your content or services, potentially boosting conversion rates.
  • A balanced mix enhances site credibility: A natural-looking backlink profile with do-follow and no-follow links signals to search engines that your site’s link acquisition is organic and diverse, avoiding penalties associated with manipulative link-building practices.

9. Linking Root Domains

The number of unique domains linking to your site strongly indicates your site’s authority and the diversity of its link profile. 

An increase in linking root domains can significantly impact your search engine rankings, as it suggests a wide range of sources endorse your content. 

This metric is often more valuable than the sheer number of backlinks, as it avoids the diminishing returns of multiple links from the same domain.

10. Cost per Link

Evaluating the cost per link helps gauge the efficiency of your link-building efforts. 

This involves dividing the total campaign cost by the number of links acquired. 

It’s a straightforward way to measure how effectively resources are being used, helping to optimize spending for future campaigns.

11. Natural Links as Return of Positive Growth in Rankings

Observing an uptick in natural (organic) links following a rise in search rankings is a sign of a successful campaign. 

As your content climbs higher in search results, it gains visibility, encouraging others to link to it naturally. 

This cycle of positive growth can lead to sustained improvements in your site’s SEO performance.

Here’s a simple guide to do so:

  • Monitor your site’s search rankings regularly to identify increases attributed to your recent link-building campaigns.
  • Use tools like Google Search Console and Ahrefs to track the acquisition of new, natural backlinks as your content’s visibility improves.
  • Create high-quality, valuable content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience, making it more likely to be linked to organically.
  • Engage with your community through social media, forums, and other online platforms to increase the visibility of your content beyond search engines.
  • Analyze the type of content that gains natural links and the sources of these links to understand what works best for your SaaS product.
  • Encourage the sharing and promotion of your content by making it easily shareable with social media buttons and direct links.
  • Consider implementing a content update strategy to keep your top-performing pages fresh and more likely to continue gaining natural links.
  • Review your SEO strategy regularly to ensure it aligns with current best practices for search engine algorithms, supporting sustained growth in rankings and natural link acquisition.

12. Impact on Internally Linked Pages

Assessing how newly acquired backlinks affect the performance of internally linked pages within your site can reveal additional benefits of your link-building campaign. 

Effective internal linking can distribute link equity throughout your site, boosting the rankings of multiple pages, not just the directly linked ones.

For example:
For a SaaS project management software, a guide on “Improving Team Productivity” with strategic internal links to a time-tracking best practices blog, a product page, and a client case study significantly boosted their SEO. 

The guide’s success improved the search rankings and visibility of these internally linked pages using high-quality external backlinks, demonstrating the power of combining effective link-building with internal linking strategies.

13. Lost and Broken Links

Monitoring lost and broken links is essential for maintaining the health of your backlink profile. 

Lost links could indicate removed content or links, which can negatively impact your site’s SEO performance. 

Identifying and fixing broken links or reaching out to webmasters to restore lost ones ensures your backlink profile remains strong and beneficial.

14. Link Velocity

Link velocity refers to the rate at which your website gains backlinks over time. 

A sudden spike in link velocity can signal to search engines that your site’s content has become highly relevant or popular, but it can also raise flags if the growth appears unnatural. 

Monitoring link velocity helps understand how link acquisition trends over time impact your SEO rankings and can guide future link-building activities.

Here’s a simple way to do it:

  • Set up a system using SEO tools like Ahrefs or Moz to monitor the rate at which your site is acquiring new backlinks, allowing for real-time insights into your link velocity.
  • Watch for significant spikes or drops in link velocity, as these can indicate shifts in market perception, content virality, or potential red flags for search engines.
  • Maintain a steady, organic growth in backlinks by diversifying your content marketing and link-building strategies, avoiding artificial boosts that might look suspicious.
  • Analyze the types of content (blog posts, white papers, infographics) that tend to generate links more quickly to inform your content strategy.
  • Compare your link velocity with industry benchmarks or direct competitors to gauge your performance and adjust your strategies accordingly.
  • Implement a calendar for consistent content creation and promotion to help regulate link velocity and encourage natural growth over time.
  • Use the insights gained from monitoring link velocity to refine your outreach and content promotion efforts. Aim for quality backlinks that contribute to a healthy link profile.
  • Respond proactively to unnatural spikes in link acquisition by reviewing the quality and relevance of incoming links, disavowing any that could harm your site’s SEO.
  • Document your findings and adjustments in a link-building strategy document to share with your team, ensuring everyone understands the importance of maintaining a natural link velocity.
  • To sustain a healthy, effective link velocity, regularly review your link-building practices and adjust your approach based on the latest SEO trends and algorithm updates.


Understanding and monitoring the right link-building metrics and KPIs is essential for SaaS firms aiming to improve their SEO performance and online visibility. 

From pre-campaign metrics like Domain Authority and traffic analysis to post-campaign insights such as link type, increase in rankings, and link velocity, each metric offers valuable information that can guide your link-building strategies and efforts. 

Remember, the goal isn’t just to increase the quantity of links but to focus on quality, relevance, and the natural growth of your backlink profile. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the most important link-building metrics for SaaS companies?

The most crucial metrics include Domain Authority (DA), referral traffic, and the quality and quantity of backlinks.

2. How does Domain Authority affect my SaaS website?

A higher DA indicates a stronger potential to rank well in search engine results, which is key for attracting organic traffic.

3. Why is referral traffic important for link-building?

Referral traffic not only signifies high-quality backlinks but also indicates that these links are driving potential customers to your site.

4. How can I measure the quality of a backlink?

Assess the linking site’s relevance, DA, and the contextual relevance of the backlink to your content.

5. What is the significance of link velocity in SEO?

Link velocity helps identify how quickly you gain backlinks, influence your SEO rankings, and indicate content popularity or relevance.

6. How does the no-follow/do-follow ratio impact SEO?

A balanced ratio suggests a natural backlink profile, with do-follow links directly benefiting SEO and nofollow links supporting traffic.

7. What tools can I use to track my link-building KPIs?

Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and Moz are popular tools for tracking various link-building metrics and KPIs.

8. Can increased referral traffic improve conversion rates?

Yes, targeted referral traffic can lead to higher conversion rates by bringing in more qualified leads.

9. Why is link diversity important?

Link diversity indicates a natural and trustworthy backlink profile to search engines, improving your SEO performance.

10. How do I know if my link-building campaign was successful?

Improvements in key metrics such as increases in DA, referral traffic, search rankings, and the achievement of set KPIs indicate success.

    As the Founder of Stratigia, Abbas Sarfraz has helped hundreds of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies acquire and retain customers. With hands-on experience in marketing and sales, business and product strategy, and operations for early stage SaaS companies, Abbas has perfected the art of successful SaaS Startups Launch and Growth.