Everyone in the business of building links to their site needs to measure the impact of what they are doing. That’s where a link-building scorecard comes in. In Chapter 9, we explained how a link-building scorecard can measure the quality of your current links and can help identify new link targets.

Because link building is so time-consuming, many companies outsource this work to a Link Building or PR firm to do this on their behalf. Even if you decide to take that route, you still want to know enough about the process so that you are getting value from your vendor. But be forewarned: some agencies will not want to work with you if you use this kind of scorecard, because it makes them work much harder than they would without it.  Rest assured that anyone willing to be judged by this scorecard is delivering valuable links, not just the easiest links they can get.

This scorecard rewards the most valuable links with the most credit, by categorizing links by their characteristics. You can use these quality characteristics to identify potential links, but you can also compensate your internal or agency link-building team for links they have recently acquired.  The more relevant the link the more it is worth to you.

If you have a budget of $1,000 to get links, that budget is better served by getting 10 good links than getting 1,000 average or bad links. (Note that we are not suggesting that you pay for links, but that it costs money for people to conduct link-building campaigns, so you need to allocate your resources wisely.) We explain three different tiers of links below, with a hypothetical “bounty” that you can place on attracting each kind of link that can motivate the internal or agency team. Again, you are not paying the site that links to you–you are paying the people who get that site to link to you, much the way you compensate PR people for stories they get placed in important media outlets.

Value Tier Bounty Page Rank Visitors Link Placement Internal Link Anchor Text NoFollow
First Tier $200 – $500 6+ 10,000+ HP/Cat/Deep Direct to Target Target Phrases No
2nd Tier $100 – $175 4+ 3,000+ Cat/2nd/Int Direct to Target Target Phrases No
3rd Tier $25 – $75 2+ 1,000+ Any Direct to Target Target Phrases No

HP = Home Page

Cat = Category Page

Deep = Deep Linked Relevant Page

2nd = 2nd Tier Deep Link Page

Int = Deep Link to Relevant Page