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Why you should be assessing your competitors’ link building

Keen to uncover why competitor backlinks matter?

Then it’s likely that you’re already using backlinks on your website and want to find out how you can better your own business by taking a look at what your competitors are doing.

However, before we delve straight into how you can discover your competitors’ backlinks, let’s recap what backlinks are and why they’re useful.


What is backlinking?

Well, backlinks (also known as incoming links or inbound links), are links from one website to another that help to enhance your online presence and authority.

Generally, the higher quality backlinks you acquire, the more credible your business will appear to Google, which in turn helps your website to rank higher in search results.

Ultimately, this boosts the number of customers finding your site organically, which is great for reducing your spend on paid advertising and naturally increasing sales.

So, why do competitor backlinks matter?


How can I spy on competitors’ backlinks?

While ‘spying’ insinuates something shady is going on, a better and more accurate way of describing this process is ‘competitor link analysis’. Below, we explore what this process involves in greater detail and how you can perform effective competitor backlink analysis.


What is competitor link analysis?

Put simply, competitor backlink analysis is a way of researching the incoming links that your competitors have acquired to inform your own backlink-building strategy. Clearly, if your competitors are ranking highly through organic search, it’s well worth trying to emulate their success with Google, but how can you separate their success with backlinks from their choice of keywords, for example? This is where performing backlink analysis of your competitors demonstrates its value.


How do you perform a competitor backlink analysis?

Identify your key competitors

Before you can use any kind of backlink analysis tool on one of your competitors, you’ll need to know who they are. If you’re a small business, the likelihood is you won’t want to take on a much bigger brand than your own – not yet anyway! It’s also important to select companies that offer similar products and/or services for roughly the same price range to compile a list of your most relevant competitors.

Another crucial area to explore is their choice of keywords and whether they’re currently outranking you. If your site and that of a competitor are using similar or even the same keywords, but you find that they’re benefitting from a higher ranking, investigating their backlinks could turn the tide in your favour. Once you’ve whittled down your list of competitors, it’s time to start the analysis.


Use a backlink analysis tool

The most useful way to find your competitors backlinks is by investing in an SEO or backlink tool. Some popular SEO tools that include backlink analysis include Ahrefs, SEMrush and Moz, but you may have a personal preference for a particular type of software when carrying out your own SEO research. Varying in price and capability, the right tool for your business will depend on both your website’s SEO budget and size.

As long as the software allows you to enter a competitor’s domain and generate a subsequent backlink report, you’ll be able to complete your analysis. Typically, you’ll be faced with a ton of data that may seem intimidating, but don’t be dissuaded. It’s a good idea to focus on only a handful of important metrics. This includes the total number of backlinks, the total number of referring domains, and the pages with the most links.

Plus, these tools are also useful for exploring your competitor’s backlink acquisition rate. Have your competitors been gaining more backlinks much faster than your own business? If you find your acquisition rate is drastically lower, it’s well worth investing in this area of SEO if you want to reap the rewards of a higher search ranking.


Highlight key backlinks

Once you’ve analysed the backlinks of one competitor, try to broaden your research to include several others and keep an eye out for any emerging patterns. Is there one business that all of your competitors are receiving backlinks from? If so, the chances are a little outreach could go a long way to securing a backlink for your own brand.

Some backlink tools will even allow you to compare the key metrics from your own site and a competitor’s simultaneously to make the comparison process and highlighting the most useful backlinks for your business even easier. Once you’ve identified these crucial backlinks, you’re ready to take this research and apply it to your own website.

Apply relevant backlinks to your own site

To start, it’s vital that you explore where these backlinks are linking to. Could you include a certain product or service page that’ll instantly increase your chances of receiving more backlinks? If so, we recommend getting in touch with whoever manages your SEO and marketing activity to discuss your options. Not to mention, if your business doesn’t have its own blog, but you find that your competitors do and they’re receiving a substantial number of backlinks to that area of their site, it may be worth creating your own.

Instead of linking to transactional pages like the aforementioned service and product pages, referring domains may show more of a preference for guides, informative or even entertaining content in your chosen industry. Quizzes and other interactive elements, for example, tend to garner more attention in terms of backlinks than purely transactional pages.

As well as exploring where the backlinks are linking to on your competitor’s site, you should also be concerned with who the links are coming from. Why did the company or referring domain choose to link to your competitor rather than your own website? If your business lacks a dedicated outreach specialist, then you may be able to acquire links by simply reaching out to the same companies that feature your competitors.


Should I steal competitor backlinks?

Ultimately, yes you should steal competitor backlinks, but only where they’re relevant and likely to be productive for boosting your own business – this means avoiding any bad, purchased or harmful backlinks they may have also acquired. While ‘stealing’ implies you’re doing wrong, you’re just using this analysis to better inform your own backlinking strategy and there’s nothing wrong with that!

For professional help with building backlinks or creating unique content to increase your website’s credibility and search ranking position, look no further than the expert team at Aqueous Digital.

With years of valuable experience in SEO, you’ll be assigned a dedicated account manager to guide you through your tailored content strategy.

For more information or to speak to a member of our friendly team, call us today on 0800 285 1424 or send us an online query and we’ll be in touch shortly to discuss your requirements.


Further reading on Digital Marketing

Creating great content: How to write for SEO

How digital marketing has changed over the years

How video content can elevate your website

Top 20 Facts about Manchester You Never Knew

SEO for Manchester Companies

Aqueous Digital’s Ultimate Guide to the cost of SEO in the UK

Aqueous Digital’s Guide to the Top 501 SEO and Digital Marketing Terms

How video content can elevate your business

How long does SEO take to work?

Beginners Guide To SEO

What is Technical SEO?

What is Local SEO?


What are the most important SEO ranking factors?

Content is King. What is content marketing?

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