One of the many goals of content marketing is getting inbound links. You write good content, and ideally, other respected blogs and publications reference and link back to those articles. This brings in more traffic, boosts your link juice, connects you to fellow thought leaders, and everyone lives happily ever after.
But how do you know if your strategy is working? Is anyone even linking to you? There are great tools out there (Open Site Explorer, for one) to tell you who’s linking to you. But if you’d rather keep it in the Google Analytics family, we’ve got good news: this week GA made these reports more accessible and threw in a bit more useful data.
Where is the Trackbacks report in Google Analytics?
To access the Trackbacks report, log in to your Google Analytics account and from the lefthand menu, click Traffic Sources > Social > Trackbacks.
What can Trackbacks data tell you?
Trackbacks exist to let publishers know which sites are linking to their articles. But why do we care? Here are a few reasons to keep an eye on this report, and how to use the data it contains.
See which articles are working
Trackbacks helps content producers identify the types of content that bring in links. Are there a handful of articles that get linked to over and over again by blogs and publications that you respect? You should probably add more of this kind of content to your editorial calendar.
Connect with authors
The Trackbacks report gives you the URL of the site that linked to you, so this is a great opportunity to do some recon. Find out who the author is, and reach out to thank them via comments or further connect over email. You never know — that link could be the beginning of a valuable relationship.
Get an overview of inbound linking strategy
A spreadsheet full of inbound links is extremely useful, but sometimes it’s too granular — especially if you’re trying to glean progress over time. Google Analytics provides a chart to show you the ebb and flow of your inbound links over time.