Analyzing Competitors in Link Building: How to Do It Correctly?

26.10.2022

Link building is an essential part of any successful SEO campaign. 

Of course, high-quality content is important, especially after the core update from Google that was rolled out in August 2022. 

However, in most cases, a strong backlink profile is what really moves the needle when it comes to getting high rankings for your website. 

In this post, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to analyze your competitors for link-building opportunities properly. By the end, you will know exactly what to do to create a successful link-building campaign using a competitor analysis template.

Why Do You Need a Competitor Analysis?

Every SEO expert knows that competitor analysis is a must. That’s how important it is. Analyzing your competitors backlinks is the first step you should make before starting to build any links.  

There are many benefits to conducting a competitor backlink profile analysis, including the following:

  • Gaining insights into top backlinks of your competitors
  • Understanding what types of competitors backlinks (links from guest posts, forums, blog comments, profiles, infographics, PBNs, etc.)
  • Identifying anchor texts they use to get high rankings (anchors should look natural to your niche not to get penalized by Google)
  • Understanding how fast they build their links (this is really important as you may want to replicate the dynamics in your own backlink profile)
  • Gaining insights into the ratio of no-follow to do-follow link equity 
  • Identifying the relevance of the competitors backlinks. 

More importantly, monitoring backlinks of your competitors will give you a clear picture of how many backlinks you need to build for your own backlink profile.  You will understand what anchor texts you should use, how fast you should build links, and how much money you will need to invest in replicating the top backlinks of your competitors. 

If done right, a competitor profile analysis will allow you to develop strategies to stay ahead of the competition. However, it is important to keep monitoring backlinks all the time. 

You should also keep in mind that the link equity of each link is different. For example, the strongest link will be a do-follow link from a niche-relevant website with high authority (DA and PA). 

The page from which the link is placed should be indexed. It shouldn’t contain too many outgoing links to external resources. 

Now, you may want to know what your competitors look like. 

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Ways to Analyze Your Competitors

There are many ways to do a profile analysis of your competitors. You can analyze the competitors backlinks on your own. You can also hire a pro competitor analysis service. 

If you want to do it on your own, you will need the best backlink checker tool, like Ahrefs, for monitoring backlinks and doing backlink analysis. 

Thanks to the Ahrefs tool, you can quickly analyze a competitor’s site. Here’s a simple yet effective competitor analysis template that you can use. 

If you go to Site Explorer and type in the domain name, you will see a brief analysis of the site as well as competing domains that you need to analyze.

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Go to the Competing domains section. There you will see a list of competitors that you can analyze with the help of Site Explorer. In this way, you’ll identify their link-building strategies’ strong and weak points. 

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In Site Explorer, you can see all the information about a competitor’s site: From standard metrics

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to traffic metrics, geo, competitors backlinks, and more.

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If you’d like to identify top backlinks, you can use filters like do-follow, no-follow, UR rating, DR, etc. Ahrefs will also show you anchor texts and types of links. 

Ahrefs is the best backlink checker tool for a reason. The beauty of Ahrefs is that you can download the competitors backlinks and their profile analysis in csv files. Then you can create a spreadsheet where you can filter out only the top backlinks. 

Go through all the steps in this competitor analysis template and repeat the process for all your top competitors. 

You can also use Ahrefs for monitoring backlinks. It’s highly recommended to keep monitoring backlinks, as your competitors don’t sleep. You need to be aware of what they are doing. It can help you to apply corrections to your link-building strategy if needed. 

If you have no time or desire to do link profile analysis of competing domains, you can always outsource it to a competitor analysis service. 

Tools for Checking Competitors

There are so many SEO tools out there that you can be puzzled about which ones you should use while analyzing your competition. 

Without the right tools at hand, you can make a lot of mistakes that can cost you more in the long run. 

Here are the three most popular tools that you may want to use for a backlink profile analysis of your competitors:

  1. Many SEO experts believe that Ahrefs is the best backlink checker tool.
    This comprehensive SEO tool offers a wide range of features, including a keyword research tool, site explorer, and content explorer. It is especially good for researching competitors backlinks and monitoring backlinks on a regular basis. Ahrefs is also known for its large database of live backlinks. This makes it an excellent tool for doing the link profile analysis of a competitor and finding good link-building opportunities for your SEO campaign. Every decent competitor analysis service should have this tool in its arsenal. 
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  1. Semrush is another great tool for SEO. It offers a wide range of features, including competitor research, analysis of competitors backlinks, keyword research, and site audits. Every good competitor analysis service uses this tool. SemRush is especially useful for monitoring backlinks and competitor analysis features, which allow you to see detailed information about a competitor’s organic search traffic, paid search traffic, and more. Many people think Semrush is a good Ahrefs alternative. However, we recommend using both tools for a link profile analysis if possible. That’s because, in this case, you’ll get more data to work with.
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  1. Majestic. The most significant benefits of Majestic for link builders are the TF (Trust Flow) and CF (Citation Flow) metrics. Both are measured on a scale from 0 to 100. They show the quantity and quality of the competitors backlinks. Don’t consider Majestic as an Ahrefs alternative. It shows different metrics and is used for different purposes. It gives you additional insights into the backlink profile analysis of the competitors. 
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These three tools are excellent choices for understanding the competition and finding ways to improve your SEO. 

However, it is important to remember that no single tool is perfect. Even if you have the best backlink checker tool for monitoring backlinks, it may not always be accurate. That’s why you should always use a combination of different tools to get the most comprehensive picture of the competition. 

Taking all these aspects into account, sometimes it is easier to hire a competitor analysis service that will do the heavy lifting for you. 

Bad Habit of Copying All Competitors Backlinks

Experts from MOZ say that it is not good to blindly copy all the top backlinks of your competitors. They point out several reasons for this. 

The Race for Backlinks Will Be Endless and You Won’t Lead It


You will never be a true leader in the rankings if you just copy all links from the top-ranking websites. You will have to monitor competitors all the time. And it will be like an endless race. Sure, a competitor analysis service can help you. However, if you want to beat your competitors and rank higher, you have to be constantly building new links.

It can be challenging to monitor competitors and keep building new links that they build. It may seem like a lot of work if your niche is very competitive. Plus, it may be a really costly endeavor to hire a competitor analysis service all the time. 

Possibility of Getting a Complaint

Here is another thing that comes with replicating your competitor backlinks blindly. 

If a competitor sees that you have copied their link-building strategy after doing a profile analysis, they may report you to Google. This could result in a penalty or link devaluation from Google. That’s not what you want after doing a lot of hard work, right? 

That’s why you should go hard when it comes to building competitor backlinks. It is good to do a link profile analysis of several competitors and create a strategy based on it. 

Competitors May Hide Their Links from Tools and Bots

To avoid competition, some webmasters may hide their links from tools and bots, which makes monitoring backlinks harder. This means that the backlink profile data that the best backlink checker tool shows you are actually limited. 

This is because some people try to be sneaky about their backlink profiles. They don’t let others know about all the top backlinks they have. Monitoring backlinks and replicating them shouldn’t be the only strategy in your arsenal.  

If you want to copy other people’s links, do it in a way that makes sense. For example, don’t get a link on the same page of a target domain unless it is very relevant. Also, go slowly and steadily while acquiring those precious top backlinks. 

Do not try to get all of them at once. Set limits on how you replicate a backlink profile of your competitor! Depending on your niche, this may be one link a week or ten links a day.

Monitoring backlinks with the best backlink checker tool can help you make some adjustments quickly if necessary.

Summary

Competitor analysis is the foundation of every successful SEO campaign. There are many advantages of doing in-depth competitor backlink analysis. 

You can get insights into which sites are linking to your competitors, find new link-building opportunities, understand what kind of content is popular in your industry, stay up-to-date on the latest trends in your industry, and monitor your competitors’ link-building activities. 

If you do a competitor backlink analysis in the right way, it can help you save a lot of time, money, and effort.

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