“In order to gain a competitive edge in the market, it’s essential to carefully research and find out competitor link building strategies.”
Most of us know that link building can significantly influence our website’s visibility, traffic, and ranking on search engine result pages. But with the landscape constantly changing, how do you find new opportunities to build quality links?
This is where competitor research comes into play. By analysing your competitor’s link-building tactics, you can uncover valuable insights to inform your strategy. From identifying the best link opportunities to understanding which types of content generate the most backlinks, competitor research can be a goldmine of information.
In this post, we will show you how to view the link-building techniques used by your competitors. Let’s get started.
Competitor Link Building Analysis: Who are Your Competitors?
Before we discuss the process of analysing competitor link strategies, it’s crucial to understand who exactly we’re up against. Let’s take a look at how to identify your key competitors.
Define Your Direct and Indirect Competitors
Direct competitors are businesses offering similar products or services as yours, targeting the same audience in the same geographical area. Indirect competitors may differ in their product/service offerings or target demographic but compete for the same keywords.
For example, if you’re a local bakery, other bakeries in your area are your direct competitors. A nearby coffee shop could be an indirect competitor, competing for keywords like “best breakfast spots” or “where to have coffee and pastries.”
Tools and Methods for Competitor Research
The most effective way to start competitor research is by recognising the top-ranking websites for your preferred keywords. Here’s where SEO tools, such as Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, come into play.
In SEMRush, you can input your domain and view a list of your main organic competitors. The same thing goes for the Ahrefs site explorer. You can also do this manually – take the terms getting the most clicks in the Search Console or Google Analytics and perform a search on Google. The top results will be your main competitors.
Remember, to craft an effective link strategy, you’ll need to dive deep into the ways your competitors build links. As we journey through this process, you’ll find that each step provides new insights, and as you analyse your competitors’ link-building strategies, you’ll be able to adapt and strengthen your own.
Analysing Competitor Backlinks
Now that we have identified our competitors, it’s time to delve into the heart of competitor analysis: studying their backlinks. This vital piece of the SEO puzzle can provide a wealth of information about their link-building techniques.
1. Use Backlink Analysis Tools for Research
Backlink analysis tools such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Moz’s Link Explorer are indispensable in your link analysis journey. They enable you to see a comprehensive list of your competitor’s backlinks, including the referring domains and the anchor text used.
To use these tools, simply enter your competitor’s URL into the search bar, navigate to the ‘backlinks’ or ‘referring domains’ section, and you’ll find a wealth of data at your disposal. You can export this data for detailed research.
2. Understand the Quality and Quantity of Competitor Backlinks
While the number of backlinks a competitor has is important, the quality of these links can be a game-changer. Backlinks from high-authority websites are worth more than numerous links from lesser-known sites.
Look at both the number and grade of the links going to your rival site. Consider the Domain Authority, Authority Score or Domain Ranking of the sites linking to them – this gives an indication of the ‘strength’ or reputation of these sites in the eyes of search engines.
If your competitors have links from high-authority sites, it’s worth investigating how they got their links. Are they guest blogging, leveraging industry partnerships, or using other link-building techniques?
3. Identify Link Sources and Types
Understanding the source and the type of your competitor’s backlinks can provide actionable insights. Are the links coming from blogs, forums, news sites, or directories? Are they do-follow or no-follow links? Are they text links or image links? This analysis involves not just quantity but quality and variety.
Your goal should be to acquire better links, not just more. By looking at whether the link is a result of a guest post, a mention in a piece of content, or a comment on a blog, you can gain insights into your competitor’s link strategy and find similar opportunities for your own site.
Understanding Competitor Content Strategy
Analysing your competitor’s content strategy is like receiving a roadmap of what resonates with your target audience. It can provide critical insights into the kind of content that attracts backlinks and social shares.
1. Analyzing Competitor’s Top-Performing Content
Look for patterns in the content that earn your competitors the most backlinks. What topics do they cover? What’s the format – infographics, long-form articles, podcasts or videos?
With tools like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer, you can find out which pieces of content are the most popular in terms of social shares and backlinks. You can then aim to create similar content, filling in gaps or adding a new perspective.
2. Identifying Content Gaps and Opportunities
With content gap analysis, you can find out which terms and topics your competitors are doing well for but you aren’t. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush provide a comprehensive ‘Keyword Gap’ analysis, where you can discover new content opportunities.
However, filling content gaps isn’t just about creating new content. It’s about adding value. Ask yourself how you can approach these topics differently. What unique insights can you provide that your competitors have missed?
3. Assessing Content Format and Structure
Take note of your competitor’s content structure. Do they use lots of photos and videos? Do they write long, comprehensive guides, or do they prefer shorter, more frequent posts?
Examine their use of headers, subheaders, bullet points, and numbered lists. This helps make content more readable and also plays a role in SEO, with search engines often favouring well-structured content.
Reverse Engineering Competitor Strategies
Reverse engineering is a strong instrument in your SEO arsenal. By understanding how your competitors have built their links, you can develop a similar strategy that draws from their successes.
1. Reverse Engineering Link Acquisition Tactics
Discovering how your competitors got their high-quality links requires some detective work. Look at the content that earned the most backlinks. Was it an original research report? A comprehensive guide? A trending blog post?
Then, look at the sites that link to that content. Reach out to these sites and offer your unique piece of content that could be of interest to them.
2. Identifying Outreach Targets and Influencers
Compile a list of sites and influencers who link to or collaborate with your competitors. This list represents a group of individuals and organisations already interested in your industry.
But instead of reaching out to these targets with a standard pitch, personalise your approach. Show how your content can provide value to them or their audience.
3. Analyzing Competitor’s Guest Posting and Partnerships
Guest posting and strategic partnerships are popular link-building techniques. Look for evidence of these in your competitor’s backlink profile.
If your competitors are guest posting on certain blogs, there’s a chance these sites may be interested in your content as well. Similarly, if they’re gaining links through partnerships, explore whether these or similar partnerships could be advantageous for your brand.
Leveraging Competitor Insights for Your Link-Building Strategy
Competitor analysis is not about copying their strategy verbatim but learning and adapting it to your specific situation.
1. Incorporate Successful Competitor Strategies into Your Plan
By now, you’ve seen what’s working for your competitors. It’s time to take those winning strategies and align them with your brand and goals. Do they rely heavily on guest posting? Then it might be a strategy worth exploring for your own link-building. Do they earn many links from a certain type of content? Maybe it’s time to create similar content with your unique perspective and expertise.
2. Identify Unique Opportunities and Differentiators
While replicating successful strategies is wise, it’s equally important to look for unique opportunities. What aspects of your business or brand make you stand out? How can you leverage these differentiators in your link-building efforts?
Perhaps you have proprietary data you can share, or your team possesses a unique set of skills or knowledge. Use these assets to create new, valuable content others would love to link.
3. Align Competitor Insights with Your Brand’s Goals
It’s crucial to remember that your competitor’s strategies may not be 100% applicable to your brand. Always keep your brand identity, target audience, and business goals in mind. Tailor your strategy to these considerations, ensuring you’re not just chasing links but building meaningful connections that will drive real value for your business.
Tools for Find out Competitor Link Building Strategies
Monitoring competitor link-building is an ongoing process. To make this easier, various tools can help you stay informed about your competitor’s new links and overall link-building strategy.
1. Mention Tracking and Competitor Alerts
Set up alerts to be notified when your competitors earn new backlinks. Google Alerts, Mention, and Ahrefs’ Alerts are useful tools for this purpose. This allows you to react quickly, whether it’s reaching out to the site that linked to your competitor or developing similar content that might earn you the same kind of link.
2. Link Monitoring Tools for Tracking Competitor’s New Backlinks
Several SEO tools offer link-monitoring capabilities. Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, SEMRush’s Backlink Analytics, and Majestic’s Backlink Checker are all powerful resources for link analysis. These tools help you analyse competitor backlinks and uncover valuable link opportunities for your own site.
3. Competitor Analysis Tools and Software Recommendations
Other useful tools for competitor analysis include Moz’s Link Explorer, BuzzSumo, and SpyFu. These tools deliver a wealth of data about your competitors’ SEO strategies, helping you gain a comprehensive view of their approach to link building.
Also Read : The Best Link Building Tools in 2023
While competitor analysis is a significant aspect of SEO, it’s crucial to maintain ethical boundaries and respect for intellectual property rights.
1. Respect Intellectual Property and Copyright
When analysing your competitors’ content, it’s vital to respect their work. Copying content verbatim is not only unethical but can also lead to harsh punishments from search engines. Instead, strive to gain inspiration from your competitor’s work and use it to create original, valuable content for your audience.
2. Avoid Unethical Practices in Link Building
Black-hat SEO practices such as buying links, using private blog networks (PBNs), or spamming can cause penalties and sabotage your brand’s reputation. Always adhere to search engine guidelines for link building and focus on creating value for users, not just acquiring links.
3. Maintaining Integrity and Professionalism in Competitive Analysis
When analysing your competitors, maintain a professional attitude. Recognise that they are not just competitors but also peers in your industry. Gaining links from those sites where your competitors have links is an acceptable strategy, but slander or underhand tactics aimed at discrediting others are not.
Find out competitor link building strategies is critical for enhancing your SEO efforts. It provides insight into what’s working in your industry and presents opportunities for improving your link-building strategy.
This knowledge, when used ethically and wisely, is the best way to go about building a successful, ethical, and enduring link-building strategy. So don’t wait—start your competitor link analysis today and begin gaining links, improving your SEO, and outshining your competition.
Need Help With Link Building? ACERO is Here to Help!
If you’re feeling lost in the complex world of link-building, worry no more! ACERO is ready to guide you through. Our experienced team is skilled in navigating the intricate tangle of link building, taking you from confusion to clarity.
At ACERO, we believe understanding the competition is the key to success. That’s why we prioritise comprehensive competitor link analysis, identifying the sources boosting your competitors’ search engine rankings. But we don’t stop there. Our team is dedicated to finding actionable link opportunities for your business to keep you one step ahead.
Link building might seem challenging, but with ACERO, it becomes an opportunity to propel your business forward. Trust ACERO to help you navigate the SEO landscape and watch your online presence soar to new heights.
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Armen is an On-Page SEO and Content Marketing expert who is the CEO of ACERO. He frequently delves into subjects such as SEO, Link Building, Digital Marketing, UK Law, Finance, Music, Blockchain, Technology, and Lifestyle. His passion for research and his ability to articulate complex ideas in a clear and engaging way have earned him a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author and digital marketing expert.