Building backlinks, along with having great on-page SEO can be an extremely powerful tool. But what many people don’t realise is, you can build a robust backlink profile by performing competitor analysis.
Keep reading to find out how valuable this strategy is and how you can implement it yourself.
Building backlinks is about getting someone to link from their site to yours. Each back link to your website works as a vote. The more votes your page has linking to it, the better.
Google will see that you’ve got great content that other people find valuable.
What this means is, the more votes your page has, the higher up the SERPs your site will be.
Google introduced this way back in 1998, with the back link algorithm. When it first rolled out, it was flawed, to say the least. Google tended to side with sites with an extensive back link profile rather than a website that had quality links.
Luckily, Google has slowly rectified this, and now the quality of the link is held over the quantity. This update meant any site with bad back links got penalised.
This resulted in a lot of websites that were in the number one spot to tank.
Building your backlink profile doesn’t have to expensive, nor does it have to be challenging. But, before you think about building links, you first need to understand what makes a good backlink.
For a strong backlink, you need to consider:
- The anchor text
- DA/DR of the referring site
- Dofollow links Vs. NoFollow
- New Content Vs. Old conten
But, that’s not the only thing you have to understand, you also need to know how to make the links look natural.
When you have too many links pointing to a page using the same anchor text, it sets Google’s alarm bells off. This factor could end up with your site getting penalised for manipulating links.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you the best option is to use a mix of:
- Page URL
- Topic Keywords
- Exact Keywords
- Misc words like ‘click here’
By understanding and implementing the above, you can start creating your own backlink profile. But this takes a lot of time, so instead of working harder, why not work smarter?
The competitors for your keywords all have something in common, and that’s their backlink profile. And the absolute best way of finding this out is by performing a competitor backlink analysis.
It involves you taking a close look at all of your competitors’ backlinks for a specific keyword. One thing you can count on is your competitors have spent a lot of time and money developing their backlink profile.
And if you haven’t got deep pockets, it can hard to compete against them. Or at least it can unless you start working smarter.
This means using their own backlink profile to help you beat them in the rankings. To do this, there are several tools to help you steal a backlink profile, which you can check out here.
For us, the best tool is Ahrefs, but people also like tools such as SEMrush.
Ahrefs allows you to enter a competitor’s page and find out which sites are linking to it. It will show you things like the DR of the website and what anchor text they used to link with.
Below I’m going to guide you through the process I use to perform a backlink analysis. By following the guide below, you’ll know precisely what backlinks your competitors are using, which ones are good, and how to win them for yourself.
1. List of your competitors
You only need to pick the top five sites that are ranking for the keyword you want to hit. You don’t have to worry about how big or small the site looks compared to yours. We only want to know what links they are using to place in the top spots.
It’s best to use the search console you like to rank with, all consoles have different ranking factors. So, if you want to rank on Google, then use that to find the competitors.
And collect the top 5 organic URLs.
You’ll need to go to the Ahrefs site explorer page and search for your competitor’s page URL that you want to compete with.
Once the search is complete, go to the left and click the link called ‘Backlinks’. This page will give you a list of all the in-links pointing to that page.
Now you need to export the list of URLs for each one of your competitors.
This is the point where things start to get a little bit tricky and can take a bit of time. You need to look through each list and open every URL.
You’ll then need to look through each page and ask yourself a fundamental question:
What did my competitors do to win the link?
This question will give you a great feel of what you need to do to replicate it. I’m not going to lie this is time-consuming and at times feels like you’re hitting your head against the wall. But the results really do speak for themself.
4. Create Outstanding Content
If you’re trying to win a backlink, your content can’t be anything less than outstanding. I mean let’s be honest, you wouldn’t link to a bad page so why should someone else?
You need to make sure that your content offers value to the reader and the person linking to your page. This could be by solving a problem or providing relevant information.
Once the content is completed, you can start pitching the owners of the website.
5. Pitching Your Content
Creating outstanding content isn’t the only thing that needs to be perfect. Chances are the website owner receives hundreds of emails a week, all asking for the same thing.
Bad pitches end up in the trash; it really is that simple. A good pitch, on the other hand, catches their attention and gets them speaking to you.
You only get one chance to pitch your content, so you better make sure you do a good job.
An excellent backlink profile is one of the most critical factors for SEO performance. Before you start building a backlink profile, all of your on-page SEO must be on point. If it’s not, your linking efforts could be wasted.
Remember each backlink to your page acts as a vote of confidence, which Google will take into account when ranking your page. In essence, the more votes a page receives the more trust it gets from Google.
Make sure you understand what makes a good backlink and how to make it look natural. If you don’t, Google could penalise your site for spammy looking Wikipedia backlinks.
Finally, the most effective way of creating a winning backlink profile is by analysing what your competitors are doing.
They’ve already invested a lot of time and money in creating a linking profile that works; all you have to do is copy them.