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Measuring Digital PR with Domain Authority and backlinks

By Jon Brown

Measuring PR - especially Digital PR - has become more than just counting the amount of coverage every month, but what else is involved? Here I’ll explain why backlinks and Domain Authority are so important, and how you can truly measure the impact of your coverage.

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Check the Domain Authority before you pitch

Put simply, Domain Authority (DA) provides a score, out of 100, of how authoritative a site is likely to be seen in the eyes of search engines like Google. What this tells us is how likely a site is to rank for specific keywords based on its SEO authority.

Using tools from Moz, the company which actually coined the term Domain Authority, you can measure the DA of any website – the higher the score, the more valuable it is as a Digital PR pitching target.

Why does that matter? The average traffic share generated by sites listed on the first page of Google search results is around 91%, meaning a lot of people will only click on a link if it’s right in front of them.

Domain Authority isn’t the only factor to consider when doing media outreach but generally speaking the higher DA a site has the more authoritative it is seen by Google - sites like the BBC and the Guardian have the highest DA.

When building a target list for a client, Domain Authority is just as important as reach, circulation or UVPM.


Look for backlink building opportunities

There’s also a second benefit to securing coverage on sites with a high DA – backlinks. Which websites link to yours, and how relevant and authoritative those sites are, is one of the ways search engines assess where to rank your site on search engine results pages. Domain Authority simply helps us understand how valuable a link from a piece of coverage will be to your site.

Then you have follow and no follow links.

Many publications mark their links to external sites as “no follow”, which means they pass on little to no SEO value. They still provide the coverage, brand awareness and traffic value, but you should prioritise your list accordingly to consider whether similar pieces of coverage have received followed links. The Moz Google Chrome plugin can be used to mark-up a page and show whether a link is follow or no follow through simple colour coding.

Outside of SEO, having hyperlinks in pieces of coverage is extremely important as this is the key to leading readers to your client’s website where they can find additional information about the company, product or service. But how do you analyse these links?


Tracking Your Digital PR Campaign

Using tools such as HubSpot or the Google Analytics URL Builder allows you to add a special tracking code to URLs and better track your PR coverage.

Simply input the original URL to the webpage that you want readers to be directed to, set up the campaign parameters you want to track and hey presto, you have yourself a trackable link.

Log into your Google Analytics account and find your campaigns on the left-hand side. From here you are able to see how many visits you client received from your coverage, how long they stayed on the website and which pages they visited while they were there.

Ideally, your link will go to a downloadable form of content, like an eBook or a case study, where a visitor can submit their details and become a lead. If so, you can also track the amount of people who became a lead by using goal tracking in Google Analytics or reviewing the leads that have been added to your HubSpot account.


Measuring success

In terms of PR measurement, the whole industry has lagged behind in being able to truly present the metrics of a successful campaign. But approaching  Digital PR with measurement in mind, you can provide actual results that your clients can use to drive their own campaigns.

Placing a piece of coverage with a trackable link in a publication with a high-ranking DA will only increase the page ranking and SEO authority of your client’s website, helping them rank higher in search pages as well as directing people to their website.

What good is placing an article if you can’t track results? In this day and age, almost no good at all. But with the right amount of planning and the proper tracking in place, just think how great it would be to report on not just the amount of coverage you’ve achieved, but also:

  • The number of visits to your site as a result of that coverage
  • A rise in branded searches as brand awareness increases
  • Increases in valuable links from high DA websites
  • Increases in your own site’s DA
  • More organic and referral traffic
  • More leads, more customers, and more business!

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Tags: Digital PR