Backlinks play a huge role when it comes to SEO. Each backlink pointing to a page is like a little vote of confidence for that page.
The more backlinks a page has pointing to it from relevant high authority websites, the better that page will rank within the SERPs.
So it stands to reason that link building is critical to the success of your website.
There are a lot of different strategies you can use to build links, but there is one that stands out from the rest…
Competitor backlink analysis
This strategy means taking a close look at the backlinks your competitors have built which put them in the top result spots… and replicating them.
Let’s explore this a little further…
What Is Competitor Backlink Analysis?
It is usually the case that the high ranking websites will have more money to invest with bigger teams who are dedicated, link builders.
So instead of trying to compete with them, you can use their hard work against them with backlink analysis.
This falls into three simple steps…
So you start with a backlink checker tool. Put your competitor’s URL into the tool and get a list of all the backlinks which point to that page.
Analyze the results yourself by using the filters within the tool to find the most authoritative links to go after or use this intelligent backlink spreadsheet which you simply input the data from the backlink checker tool into and then it spits out the best links.
Then all you need to do is replicate the link using the same method your competitor did.
Backlink Checker Tools
There are a number of tools on the market that you can use to find your competitor’s best backlinks.
The best ones available right now are:
And when used alongside the intelligent backlink spreadsheet, they can be a formidable tool in your arsenal. Let’s take a closer look at how this process works using my favorite backlink checker tool, Ahrefs.
Stealing Your Competitors Backlinks With Ahrefs
01 – Find Your Competitors
Before you can start any competitive backlink analysis, you need to actually find who your top competitors are.
This is mega quick and simple to do.
Head to Google, type in your keyword… hit search.
Make a list of the top ten organic URLs that appear in the results. These are your competitors for that specific keyword.
02 – Find Your Competitors Backlinks
So you have your competitors, now it’s time to find their links using Ahrefs. Log into your Ahrefs account or sign up to their 7 days for $7 trial.
Enter one of the URLs from your list into the search bar:
Click the search button and once loaded click the ‘Backlinks’ button:
You’ll then see all the backlinks that point to that page.
So finding the backlinks is pretty easy… now it’s time to find the backlinks you should be replicating.
03 – Analysing The Data
You have two options here. You can manually analyze your backlinks or use the backlink spreadsheet which automatically analyses the data for you.
The Manual Way:
You can use the filters within Ahrefs to play around and concentrate on the type of backlinks you want to replicate.
These filters include:
- Link type
- Word or phrase
Then you prioritize the results for things like:
- DR (Domain rating)
- UR (URL rating)
- Referring domains
- Linked domains
- External links
- Number of top 100 ranked keywords
The Automated Way
If you load the backlink data in the backlink analysis spreadsheet, it will do all the analyzing for you.
Download the sheet and just follow the instructions.
Then you will have a list of links to target and what format you should use.
Format types could be:
- Blog comment.
- Guest post
- Forum post
- Expert roundup
- Resource page
04 – Creating Content
For the links that are quick wins like a blog comment or posting in a forum, you can complete now without the next steps. But usually, for the strong links, you will need to put in a little more effort.
Before you can pitch your content you need to have content that is worth linking to.
If you already have the perfect content, you can skip this step.
If your content needs updating or writing from scratch… pay attention.
The best way to win backlinks is to have AMAZING content. There’s a great method you can use which is very effective and sticks with the competitor analysis theme. It is called the “Skyscraper” method. All you need to do is look at your competitor’s top content… and create something even better!
For example, if have a ‘how-to’ post… you can write your own but going more in-depth offering more examples and better graphics.
When you have that content ready, you can now start pitching the website owner.
05 – Pitching Your Content
Pitching your content is probably the most delicate part of this process.
You need to think about everything from the day/time you hit send to the eye-catching subject line. You have a split second to make a good impression otherwise you’ll be heading to the trash can.
These kinds of sites will receive pitches all the time and even if your content is amazing, firstly you need to persuade the recipient to open your email and then actually read it and click on your link.
So you can start by actually reaching out to the correct person using email finder tools like Hunter.io and/or Find That Lead which very often includes a job role.
Then create a pitch that has an eye-catching subject line and shows them why your content is so great.
Here are a few tips to create an engaging outreach email:
- Don’t be afraid to include a graphic or link to an infographic or video
- People generally respond well to humor
- Write like a human being, not an automated program
- Find a good balance between polite, professional & humorous.
06 – Wash, Rinse And Repeat
After running through this process a few times, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and become much quicker.
Once you have finished with all the opportunities for one keyword you can move onto the next and start from the first step again.
You’ll get a good feel for what kind of content wins links in your niche and can use that knowledge when updating your content strategy.
Competitor backlink analysis is a tried, tested and tried again technique that hasn’t become any less effective over time. With a little effort, you can capitalise on the hard work of your competitors and use their own backlinks against them.