It’s not a secret that backlinks are the cornerstone of SEO and we all want more of them.
But I’m not saying that you should go around and literally steal your competitor’s backlinks to use on your website.
What I am saying, however, is that if you can find out where your top competitors are getting backlinks from for their websites or blogs, then you can reverse engineer those processes to get similar results.
So if these three tips help you get higher rankings faster by leveraging other people’s hard work, then I’m cool with that!
Why do you need backlinks?
Backlinks are valuable because Google literally favors sites with better links.
In a study done by Backlinko, they found that the number of backlinks to a website is an important ranking signal.
The more backlinks that you have pointing toward your website, or blog post, the more likely you’ll rank higher in organic search rankings.
Because it boosts your domain authority – which Google uses as a ranking factor.
In other words, backlinks are like votes for your content’s relevance on a particular topic.
But not all votes (backlinks) are the same – some count more than others in Google’s eyes.
What sort of backlinks do you need to focus on?
In 2011, Google published a blog post titled “What counts as a high-quality site,” which outlines how their algorithm determines high-quality web pages.
To summarize, Google prefers sites that have high-quality inbound links compared to low-quality links.
Backlinks from authoritative sites that are relevant to your industry will have more value to Google and push your content up in rankings faster.
With that said, here’s how you can go about finding links that are worth building with this sneaky strategy!
How to find quality backlinks easily?
You’ll need a backlink analysis tool like Ahref to analyze your competitor’s links and find the ones that are worth building.
Ahref will take the guesswork out of link-building because you can target your competitor’s links and immediately know whether they’re worth pursuing or not!
Knowing where your competitors are getting links from will save you tons of time trying to figure out which backlinks are worthwhile to target.
It’s like a shortcut for finding quality backlinks because it’s already working for your competitors!
So let’s get started with the 3 ways that you can spy on your competitor’s backlinks.
Method 1: Look for fresh new linking opportunities from your competitor
Now, you may wonder why it’s important to look for fresh new linking opportunities?
It’s because fresh new backlinks on your competitor’s website are clues.
It shows that the websites that are linking to your competitors are accepting backlinks right now.
This way, you can add them to your list to reach out for potential link building opportunities.
Here’s how you do it.
How to find quality backlinks
The first thing you need to do is to get access to Ahrefs.
If you don’t have an Ahref account, you can do a 7-day trial for just $7 and get all the information you need within that 7 days.
Input your competitor’s link in the search bar, then hit search.
On the left side under Site Explorer 2.0, click on Backlinks.
This will take you to the backlinks page, which is where all your competitor’s backlinks are listed by month.
Filter the backlink list to “NEW” & “Last 30 Days” to find fresh new pages that your competitors have linked to recently.
Export your competitor’s backlinks with Ahref
The cool thing about Ahref is that they allow you to download their backlink data in a CSV format so that you can manipulate the data with spreadsheets like Excel.
On the Backlinks page, Mouseover on any backlink that looks interesting, then click on the export button to get the backlink details for export.
And from here you’ll have a long list of prospects that you can approach for a backlink.
Method 2: Find backlinks from competitor’s content
I often go hunting for new linking opportunities by finding backlinks from content that is similar to my own site.
The idea is simple, I’m looking for websites that have blogs about my competitors, so I can reach out to them and potentially get them to share my blog as well.
In other words, I’m looking for guest blogging opportunities.
Here’s how to do it.
How to find guest blogging opportunities
Go to the Ahrefs content explorer, and type in your topic eg, Marketing.
And wait for it to load up.
Add a filter for “Author” and then write down your competitor’s name.
Quite often, it’s the CEO of the company that’s doing all the guest blogging or getting their name on the guest blogs.
From there you can see all the websites that your competitors are featured on.
You can reach out to those sites with your own unique content for a chance to be featured as well.
Some of the websites that you see your competitor on may not be accepting features anymore.
By filtering the results down to your competitor’s most recent features, you’ll find websites that are still actively accepting guest blogs right now.
You can reach out to this filtered list for a higher chance of getting your content featured and getting that juicy backlink.
Method 3: Using Google search to spy on your competitors
Type this into Google’s search bar:
-[Your competitor’s website] “written by” [Your competitor’s name].
The minus sign (-) makes it so that Google won’t show results from your competitor’s website
“written by” shows all articles with the exact word.
We do this so that Google searches for all the articles that feature your competitor without showing you results from your competitor’s own website.
Not only are you finding link building opportunities from this method, but you’re also identifying PR opportunities as well.
Click on the “tools” button and filter down the content by the latest results.
This will show you websites that are still actively accepting guest posts.
Play around with your search query, give it different variations to get different link opportunity results.
For example: Instead of “Written by” [Your competitor]; You can type in “Guest blog by” [Your competitor]
Record all your backlink opportunities in an excel spreadsheet
Once you’ve gathered all your competitor’s backlink profiles and link opportunities, you’d want to record this data in an excel spreadsheet so you’ll know who to reach out to when the time is right.
Remember to tick them off as you go.
If you want to see how I structure my own backlinking spreadsheet, please watch my video below.
This is an extremely powerful link building strategy that not a lot of people are using yet, but with enough practice, you can start building links to your website from these opportunities like a pro.
Backlinks are still the best way to rank in Google.
And once you get how to do it, just watch your business grow from there.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope that you’ve learned something new today.
Julian Goldie – SEO Consultant & Backlink Expert.