In Moz’s SEO training courses, we discussed how to identify and prioritize backlink sources using a combination of tools. One tactic for quickly finding high authority domain sites that have a history of linking to pages related to your topic is to study the backlinks of your competition. This process is covered in depth during the SEO Bootcamp.

In this article, I’ll show you how to build and export a list of backlinks from your competitors that you can use to target your business. This assumes you’ve already done keyword research and identified competitors that rank well in search results for those queries. Use these competitors for the following analysis.

What is Competitor Backlinking?

Backlinking is one of the most effective SEO tactics to help you achieve that number one result in Google search.

But how can you be sure to outperform the competition?

Research your link building strategy and reverse it. This is called simultaneous backlinking.

Competitive backlinking is an SEO strategy in which you analyze backlinks from competing websites to understand referrals of the types, quality, and quantity of backlinks you need.

It helps you create a stronger and more effective link building strategy for your own website.

Pay attention to backlinks, for example. Reaching potential referral websites is the number one method of building links.

By analyzing your competitor’s backlinks, you will get a better idea of ​​the most effective referral websites so you can reach out to them for your own link building strategy.

When you analyze your competition to define your backlinking strategy, you need an attack on two fronts.

You need to look for two types of competitors:

  • Domain-level competitors
  • Page-level competitors

Domain level Competitors

Competitors at the domain level rival your website as a whole.

These sites belong to the same industry as you or offer similar information. They are essentially targeting the same audience that you are trying to reach.

These competitors try to rank well for many of the same keywords as you in order to compete in your field.

For example, uSERP offers backlink services, so our domain level competitors will include SEO companies, backlink services, and digital marketing companies. These sites also use backlink related topics to increase your visibility in search engines.

page level Competitors

Page-level competitors refer to individual pages that rank competitively for the same target keyword as one of your pages.

These websites may not offer similar services and may not attempt to target the same audience as you in general. Instead, these individual pages compete rather than the entire site.

For example, take a look at this uSERP blog post….

This is called organic business growth and the main target keyword is ‘organic business growth’.

Wh​​​​​​y are backlinks important?

In almost every SEO report you read, backlinks are still one of the most important organic ranking factors.

In all of the research over the years, backlinks are in the top 3 of the most important factors every time.However, not all backlinks are created equal.Making sure the links you earn or earn are highly relevant and reliable is now more imperative than ever.

The type of links is also very important too. Anyone can create social media profiles and get links from profile pages. (Please do this if you haven’t already!)

So you need to make sure that you get a real variety of links to your site.Researching your competition and your industry in general will help you invest in the right areas when looking to gain links.

The type of content the sites link to is ideal for your future strategy. If you can replicate that style of content and do a better job, you should be able to get links from other sites that are similar to the ones that link to your competition.

5 Steps to Find Your Competitor’s Backlinks:

  1. Identify your competitors
  2. Find websites already linking to your competitors 
  3. Monitor new competitor backlinks in real-time
  4. Monitor competitor brand mentions in real-time
  5. Turn brand mentions into backlinks

1. Identify your competitors

When doing a competitive backlink analysis, the first step in the process is to identify your competition. In my experience, there can be up to two main types of competitors that you can analyze.

Search Competitors – These are websites ranked for the same keywords you are targeting on Google.
Traditional Competitors – Companies that offer the same goods and services as you and that are often in the same general location as your business. They are your direct business rivals.
Your search competitors will often be different from your traditional competitors, but there may be some overlap.

Start by listing your searches and your traditional competitors and their websites. We will use these lists in the next part of our analysis.

For research competitors, you can choose to analyze your backlink profile through a page or domain level backlink checker.

A domain-level link analysis will look at all backlinks that point to your entire domain. A page-level crawl will only crawl a specific page on your website.

To decide which analytics are right for you, check whether your competitor ranks on your homepage or a specific page on your website, like a blog post or service page.

2. Find sites already linking to your competitors

One of the best ways to find websites that are already related to your competition is to use a link intersection tool. A link intersection tool works by analyzing the backlink profiles of multiple competitors to find websites that are currently related to your competition, but not your website.

The idea here is that if a website is linked to multiple competitors, they are most likely linked to your website as well.

There are many tools you can use to cross links. I’ve highlighted some of the more popular tools below:

  • Moz link intersection
  • Ahrefs link crossings
  • Backlink transmission -Semrush

A link intersection report is very easy to do. All you need is the list of search competitors you created in the last step, as well as your own website.

  • Start by entering your website in the top section where it says “Check out link opportunities for this URL”.
  • Scroll down to the next section and enter your competitor’s websites one at a time.
  • Once you are done adding all the competing websites you want to analyze, click on the Find Opportunities button.
  • A list will be generated with all the websites that are currently linked to your two competitors, but not to your website.

You can then choose to export those websites to a prospect list when you’re ready to contact and request a link to your website.

3. Monitor new backlink opportunities in real-time

One of my favorite methods of researching new backlink opportunities is to monitor your competitor’s backlinks in real time.

There are two main advantages to doing this:

You can follow current PR and link building strategies to see what is working for your competition.
You can target those same websites immediately so that backlinks remain competitive in search results.
My favorite tool for monitoring backlink opportunities in real time is Buzzsumo.

To get started, create a free Buzzsumo account, log in and go to the monitoring page.

From there, click on the alerts drop-down menu in the top left corner and click on backlinks. Then you will be asked to create a backlink alert.

Start by creating a name for the alert and add the specific URL or domain you want to explore for backlinks to.

You also have the option of following backlinks to a specific page or any page in the domain. Which one you choose may depend on tracking domain level backlinks or page level backlinks.

For this example, we’ll choose links to the exact URL that will display all of the page-level backlinks for that page.

Then click on the filters and notification settings and scroll down to the section that indicates how you want to be alerted. I recommend choosing the setting for instant email alerts whenever a result is found. Finish by clicking on create an alert.

You will now be notified by email as soon as a new backlink appears for your competitors.

4. Monitor your competitor’s brand mentions in real time

Tracking competing brand mentions can be a great way to discover more potential backlink opportunities for your website.

Mention of a competitor’s brand is defined as every time your competitor’s brand is mentioned online. By following these recommendations, you can find websites that cover your competition and that you can turn to for brand coverage.

There are two tools that I recommend using to keep track of competitor brand mentions:

  • Buzzsumo
  • Google Alerts

In addition to competing brands, it can also be helpful to set up alerts for brand departments, company founders, CEOs, and variations in your company name. This will allow you to find even more opportunities where the direct name of the company is not mentioned.

Follow the steps below to track mentions of competing brands in Google alerts:

  • Put your competitor’s brand in quotes where it says “Create an alert about”. By using quotation marks, you will find brand mentions for the exact spelling of your brand.
  • Select how often you want to receive these alerts. I like how it goes, but the frequency is up to you.
  • Choose your language.
  • Select the region you are in.
  • Select all results under how much.
  • Select the email address to which your alerts should also be sent.
  • Click create alert.

You will now receive an email every time your competitor’s brand is mentioned online. We’ll see how you can take advantage of these brand mentions for backlink opportunities in the next section.

5. Turning brand mentions into backlinks

So now that you have a list of competing brand mentions, how can you convert them into backlinks for your website?

  • Start by creating a working list of all of your competition’s brand mentions.
  • Check all the opportunities to see if your brand is mentioned on your website.
  • If so, take a look and see if they are related to your website. If so, celebrate and move on to the next opportunity.
  • If not, contact the author of the post or the main contact on the site and ask if they would agree to include a link to your site with the mention of your brand.
  • If your brand is not mentioned on your website, take the time to consider the context in which your competitor is mentioned.
  • If it’s an article that mentions or links to multiple competitors, this can be a good opportunity to request a link to your website.
  • If you link to a specific page like a competitor’s blog post, it may be worth submitting a resource similar to the one you have on that topic.
  • If you don’t have anything similar, it might be worth spending some time creating a better, more up-to-date resource that you could then ask them to cover and link to.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this strategy. My advice is to research trends in the types of media coverage your competitors’ brands are receiving. Think of creative ways to try and replicate your strategies by creating exciting new content on your own website.

Conclusion

The 5-step process I outlined above will guide you in finding and analyzing your competitor’s backlinks. Backlinks are a crucial part of any successful SEO strategy and are a top ranking factor in Google’s core algorithm.

It is important to actively monitor and research new backlink opportunities from your competition so that your website remains competitive in Google search results for the keywords you want to rank for.

How do I copy backlinks?

Once you’ve found a page from which you want to replicate backlinks, paste the URL into Site Explorer and go to the Backlinks report. You’re now going to examine the backlinks for this page (and any other relevant pages you found) one by one. Don’t get scared if you’re seeing a lot of backlinks in this report.

How do you target backlinks?


These are super actionable strategies, and they’re the ones I’ve found to be extra effective for link building.

1. Find the authority sites in your niche (5 minutes)
2. Check out existing links (5 minutes)
3. Check for broken links (3 minutes)
4. Find influencers in your niche (3 minutes)
5. Leverage existing backlinks (4 minutes)

What are keyword backlinks?

Backlinks (also known as “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one way links”) are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page. … Because that link points directly to a page on my website, it’s a “backlink”.

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