Most marketers know that link building can be a great way to give websites an SEO boost. However, as Google has improved its algorithm over time, white-hat SEO has become more crucial than ever.
One way sites can get great links (as well as a PR boost) is through competitive analysis. By understanding the links your competitors are getting, new strategies and big wins can become a reality.
Let's take a look at some of the tools and tactics you can start using today.
Building Your Toolkit
To begin your competitive analysis, you'll first start with a list of your main competitors. Think of people in your industry vertical who are showing up for some of the keywords you'd like to rank for.
There are tools that can help make this process smooth sailing. Tools like SEMRush can make organic keyword research a breeze and also provide detailed lists of companies who have achieved high rankings for some of your industry's key search terms.
When you have your list of competitors, it's time to dig into their backlink profile. Sites like Ahrefs provide toolkits that take a lot of time and guesswork out of this process.
Ahrefs allows you to copy and paste any link from around the Web and receive a detailed look at who is linking to that site. You'll also get access to import data like domain authority.
While these tools are an investment for a marketer, they can streamline competitive analysis and lead to some big linking wins.
What Comes Next?
When you have a good list of sites that are linking to your competitors, it's time to get to work.
Start by organizing the sites into categories. Some may be simple directories, while others may be pitched guest blog articles that will take some extra convincing. A few tips to remember when attempting to build third-party links:
- Treat influencers like equals. Oftentimes, these authoritative sites are plagued with link-building requests. Find out what makes them tick and customize your email to make you stand out from the crowd.
- Have a unique voice. Don't create one email that gets sent out to everyone on your target list. Link building isn't an easy process, so put some serious thought into every word in your introductory email.
- Always follow up. You may not receive a reply right away. It doesn't mean you should give up on the opportunity entirely.
The Bottom Line
Scoping out the competition isn't always an underhanded tactic. By understanding their success, you can improve your strategy and start to rise to the top of the search engine results.