How to Measure Guest Posting ROI

Considering how pricey a properly-executed guest posting campaign can be, it makes sense to start tracking and managing ROI. But how do you know if your guest posts are actually making any difference? In this video you’ll learn what metrics you can use to track and optimize the ROI of your guest posting campaigns.

Video Transcript

Hey, what’s up everybody? It’s Brian Dean from Quick Sprout and in this video, I’m going to teach you how to measure the ROI of a guest posting campaign and to illustrate, I’m going to walk you through how to measure the ROI from a single guest post, in this case, the advanced guide to link building, and then, you can scale it up, depending on how many guest posts that you publish in a given month. So, this is kind of like a guest post in the sense that I wrote it with Neil and it was published by Quick Sprout and here is what I would consider an author bio are with a couple of links to my site.

So, that’s the first thing you want to do when measuring the ROI of a guest post, is to look at how much referral traffic that post sent you. And the best way to do that is to go to your Google Analytics account, look at your dashboard, okay, and then what you want to do is drill down to make sure you’re looking only at traffic coming from this particular page and to do that, make sure the date range lines up with around when the guest post was published, in this case, June 13th. So go back, and make sure the date starts on the 13th, alright, and then goes about two weeks from there.

Okay, ’cause that’s generally when you get the most amount of traffic, referral traffic from a guest post. Then, scroll down and click on referrals and you can see here that the post sent my 444 visitors, which is very, very good. So, that’s basically what you want to see, is how many referral visitors it’s seding you, but that’s not all because as you know, not all traffic is created equal.

You also want to look at conversions. So, if you have goals set up in Google Analytics, click on conversions and then click on overview. And then, click on source medium and that’ll show you where your conversions are coming from. So, in this case, of those 444 visitors, 71 signed up for my newsletter, which is a very, very high conversion rate, so in general, this is actually a much better indicator of the value of the guest post, because you’re looking at how many leads and customers that guest post sent you and traffic is also important, but this is the most important right here, it’s goals. How did this guest post directly influence your business goals?

Now, you can also look at some indirect measurements of how the guest post impacted your site or how a guest post can pay an impact to your site and your brand, by looking at social media followers. So, you just want to take a quick look at your Twitter followers, or your Google+ circles, or whatever social media sites you use and that are important for your industry and track how much that has increased since you started guest posting.

And in general, especially if you put a link to your social media profile in your author bio, which is very common, you want to see this number go up, okay? So, that’s another way to measure the ROI of guest posting, is to see how many social media followers that you’ve gained since you started.

Now, another way to measure your social media following is to look at your clout score, okay? So, head over to Clout.com and it’ll automatically link up with your Twitter account and it’ll give you a clout score, in this case, -53. So, this is a more accurate indicator of how authoritative your presence is on social media. So, if you notice this number going up significantly since you start guest posting, that’s another good sign because that means that not just are more people following you, but you’re actually getting influential people to follow you, which is obviously very important and that’s another benefit of guest posting, is that more people are aware of your brand, they read your content, so they’re more likely to follow you. And that includes influencers in your niche.

Now finally, you can also look at branded searches in Google webmaster tools, so head over to Google webmaster tools and click on your site. And then, what you want to do is click on search traffic and then search queries. And what that’ll do, it’ll bring up all the different searches that people are using to find your site, okay? Just like normal. But what we’re going to do here, is we’re going to limit the searches to branded searches.

So, click on the filters button here and then put under containing, put your keyword or your brand name, in this case. So, you put, in my case, Backlinko, but if you were Quick Sprout, you’d put something like Quick, okay, to make sure that you cover all bases. Because if you put Quick Sprout, it may not cover some weird spellings variations that people type in. So, in this case, we’ll put Backlinko and then click apply and it’ll  automatically filter that out, okay? So, now it’s just showing how many clicks and impressions and my click-through rate, so you want to click with change and what that does, is it tracks the number of people searching for your brand-related keywords over time.

So, you can set the time frame to before you guest post and after you guest post and you can see how this changed. So, you know, in Backlinko.com, for example, you know, it was way more people click-through, so way more people search for that in the last month, so that’s a good sign, okay? So, you definitely want to see this going up because what happens is, people, you know, they read your guest post, they say, “Ah, Backlinko,” and for some reason, they don’t click, but they type it into Google, or it sticks in their head and they search for it later, so you also want to look at branded searches and if that goes up, then that’s a good sign that your content is getting in front of people and people are actually seeing and reading your guest posts.

Now finally, you want to look at search engine traffic, right? Because one of the main benefits of guest posting are the links, which pass views to your site and increase your search engine traffic, so it’s not just brand awareness and referral traffic, although those are very, you know, important benefits of guest posting, but you also want to look at search engine traffic. So, what you can do here is log into your Google Analytics again and under traffic searches, click on search and click on organic and see how that has changed over time, okay?

So, if you notice it’s a significant difference than before, then guest posting is working for you in terms of SEO and you can actually directly compare them by clicking on the date range and then by clicking to compare to previous period, then click on apply and it’ll compare the two periods, okay? So, in this case, it’s actually 6.8 percent less than the previous period and that’s just because that was a good month for me and it wasn’t, you know, a great month and the guest post didn’t make a huge difference because it’s just one guest post.

Now, if you’re doing this at scale and you notice that you’ve been doing guest posting for two or three months and search engine traffic is down or not up that much, it may not be working for you and you may want to re-evaluate, but like here, you know, traffic is down 6.8 percent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean guest posting isn’t working from an SEO point of view because that last month just happened to be a particularly good month for me, okay, so you do have to take everything into account and if you see a number like this, it doesn’t mean that you should necessarily abandon guest posting.

You have to look at why the previous month, you know, was so much better. So, that’s all there is to measuring guest post ROI. As you can see, you basically want to look at your referral traffic, especially conversions, your social media presence and branded searches and of course, increase in organic search traffic. So, thanks for watching this video and I’ll see you in the next one.