For webmasters, keeping track of your competition should be a standard procedure for your business.
One way to gain insight into a competitor’s digital strategy is through competitor keyword analysis.
In this article, you’ll learn how to steal your competitor’s backlinks, how to analyze your competitor’s backlink profile, and how to filter out the high-quality prospects that you want a backlink from.
What is a Competitor Keyword
Competitor keywords are the exact same keywords that both you and other website owners are targeting to drive traffic and sales to your website.
There are many reasons why you should be doing competitor keyword research. It gives you insight into what already works. You’ll appear in the SERPs just as they do and it’s a unique opportunity to build backlinks to your website.
That’s right, you can in essence steal competitor’s backlinks by analyzing your competition’s keywords.
Why Do You Need Backlinks?
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for your website. The more good quality backlinks you have the higher authority your website has in the eyes of Google.
This means you’ll rank higher in the search results which as you probably can guess means more traffic.
How To Steal Your Competitor’s Backlinks
All right, let’s go straight into how to steal your competitor’s backlinks.
First, head on over to Ahrefs.com keyword explorer and type in the relevant keyword for your industry and then the location you’re in. For example, a dentist in New York and hit enter.
If you scroll down the page you’ll see lots of information available but for this, you just need to focus on the SERP results. There you’ll see a list of competitor’s in your area that you’re competing with on Google.
Here you get a list of the top ten competing websites for this particular keyword. In the picture above are the top ten dentists in New York that are ranking for this particular keyword right now.
Check Your Competitor’s DR Rating
If you’re not familiar with the term DR it simply stands for Domain Ranking. What is a domain ranking you ask?
Well, the domain authority of a website represents relevancy and authority for a specific niche or subject. In simple terms, DR is a search engine ranking score for a particular website.
Now, if you scroll down to the SERP results, you can see the domain rating of the top ten sites.
This gives you an idea of the level of competition you are competing against.
The higher the domain rating, the more competitive this particular search term is and the harder it’s going to be to outrank your competitor’s.
As you can see from this list, there are a lot of fairly low domain rating websites such as twenty-seven, thirteen, and seven. This means that arguably it’s going to be easy to rank for this keyword or certainly realistic.
If you want to steal your competitor’s backlinks, you will need to click on the numbers under the backlinks column.
You’ll want to open up a few of your competitor backlinks. You will then want to filter out the backlinks that you can actually get a link from based on how your competitor’s built the links.
For example, you’ll want to make sure the link is from a good quality website and not a PBN. Doing this will ensure you don’t build any links that can actually hurt your SEO.
Once you have opened a competitor backlink profile your page should look like the one above. On this page, you can see all the backlinks your competitor’s have built so far. This particular website has 513 backlinks.
Filter The Results
Ahrefs allows you to filter the results using certain criteria to help narrow down relevant backlinks.
In the backlinks tab, you will want to filter by “one link per domain” for each of the competitor’s. This will filter out any duplicates so that you can focus on one backlink per website.
Once you have filtered the search results, you’ll see the referring page which is the external website that is linking to your competitor. You can also see the relevant anchor text for that backlink.
Keep an eye on the domain ratings for each backlink your competitor has. Remember, the higher the DR is, the more authority that backlink will have.
The next step is to filter by “Link Type”. It’s best to focus on do-follow backlinks.
Do Follow Vs No Follow Backlinks
You might be wondering what is the difference between no-follow and do follow backlinks?
Well, do-follow backlinks are ones that actually pass authority and link juice to your website, whereas backlinks marked as no-follow are actually websites that have said right, don’t pass any link juice from our link to this site.
So you want to filter out the no-follow ones and focus on do-follow to maximize the effectiveness of the backlink.
To do this select the “Link Type” drop-down tab and click Do-follow.
After doing this you can see this particular competitor has gone from having 551 backlinks to 59, which means that there are a lot fewer link building prospects to go after.
Now, as you scroll through, you can see all of the potential websites that you could steal competitor’s backlink from. You want to be checking these websites out manually by simply clicking on them.
Open them up and ask yourself, what is the quality of these backlinks? How is my competitor building backlinks from this article?
For example, look at the review article below.
The first website is a review article, but there’s not much content on the page and it looks very spammy. Also, if you’re a dentist, you don’t really want a website talking about earbuds linking to your company website.
And actually, when you continue to look through them, some of them look really spammy.
Very quickly you can get an idea of what your competitor’s are doing, and how they build backlinks. This particular site is clearly using spammy blogs to get backlinks.
You wouldn’t want to steal these competitor backlinks if they’re from spammy sites but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any good links.
Let’s go through and see if there are any real blogs that you want to steal a backlink from.
Paubox looks like a real site to me and is the sort of site you’ll want to steal competitor backlinks from. As you can see they have branding, decent content and there isn’t the overwhelming feeling that this is a spammy site.
Build A List Of Prospects For Outreach
Now that you have found a decent site, what you can do is put this prospect on a list and eventually reach out to this site.
As you go through your competitor’s backlink profile and find relevant sites you want a link from adding their domain to the list.
You’re gathering as many websites as you can so you can then outreach to them later on.
A simple cold email outreach could be, Hey, I noticed you are linking to my competitor, maybe you can link to us, too?
You could contact them via the website directly as well however, I’ve found cold email to work best.
It depends on how many websites you are going to be reaching out to, but I like to use cold email because it’s very scalable and you can automate a lot of the process.
So there you have it, your first prospect.
What’s important to note about this process is that out of 500 plus backlinks it was narrowed down to 59 quickly, and most of them were rubbish and spammy.
You don’t want links from most of the sites on the list and many others. Go through the list, filter out the ones you do want, and add them to the Google Sheet.
This process requires a hands-on approach and honestly can take up a lot of time. If you can outsource this for your website you’ll save a bunch of time.
Continue searching through the list of backlinks and websites filtering out the rubbish as you go.
Add any website to the list that you would actually want a backlink from. Keep repeating this process until you have a large list of good websites to outreach to.
It can be tempting to use the Ahrefs export all option but honestly, I would avoid doing so.
As you can see, you’ll be exporting a bunch of spammy low-quality websites that if you were to get a link from could hurt your SEO.