The Ultimate Guide To Backlink Analysis

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One of the most effective ways to rank your website on Google is to build high-quality backlinks. At the same time, this is one of the most difficult processes to master.

While collecting backlinks is not difficult in and of itself, obtaining backlinks from credible websites is more complex. Fortunately, there is a way to make your link-building strategy more manageable. This can be accomplished by researching your competitors’ backlinks.

This article discusses everything you need to know about backlink analysis and how you can leverage it for your SEO needs. Ready?

Backlink Analysis: What Is It?

A backlink analysis assesses the number and quality of links pointing to your website from other websites. Monitoring your site’s backlinks lets you determine how those links influence your SEO rankings and what efforts you can take to improve your backlink profile.

How Does It Function?

Backlinks between websites are used by search engines such as Google, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, and others to determine authority. They are analogous to book citations. 

PageRank is an important term that is frequently associated with backlinks. It’s the value that a linked website delivers to the website to which it links (i.e., “cites” or “refers to”).

Backlinks work the same way online reviews do for blogs and websites. When a publication or product is mentioned multiple times by different relevant and credible sources, it indicates that it has important information. 

Similarly, a significant number of respectable and trustworthy links pointing to a web page suggest that the web page has important information.

Why Should You Be Concerned With Backlink Analysis?

Backlink analysis is a crucial step in the process of building quality backlinks for a website or particular page. Since they represent a seal of approval from one site to another, backlinks are extremely important for SEO.

In essence, backlinks to your website tell search engines that many other people find your material valuable. When numerous websites point to the same webpage or website, search engines may conclude that the content is worthwhile for linking to and, thus, is worthwhile for appearing on a SERP. Acquiring these backlinks may enhance a site’s page ranking or search visibility.

Competitor Backlink Analysis: What Is It?

Competitor backlink analysis is a link-building technique that entails discovering websites that link to your competitor’s website. You can learn about your competitor’s backlink strategy by inspecting their competitor’s backlink profile.

Then you may use their backlink data to determine which sites to target first. You can target websites that will help your website rank higher in search engine results once you acquire backlinks from these sites.

There are two types of competition backlink research. When conducting domain-level competition research, you must look for the backlink profile of rival domains. At the same time, competition research at the page level is far more detailed, as it only examines a page’s backlinks.

To start, you should locate the top-ranking websites in your industry by identifying your domain-level rivals.

Once you’ve located them, you need to figure out which of your rivals’ pages has the greatest number of external links. This approach can help you create a thorough list of domains from which you need links.

However, examining the top pages for your target term can help you initially identify competitors at the page level. After that, you can develop your strategy by going back to your competitors’ websites.

What Makes Backlink Analysis Important?

It’s easy to see why competitive backlink research is crucial for your SEO strategy:

Backlinks play a big role in rankings. To compete with your competition, you need to find out which backlinks your rivals use to rank better in search engine results pages (SERPs).

The foundation of link growth is simple, as was already stated. The biggest problem is that there are many types of backlinks. For instance, a backlink from a reputable website, like the Wall Street Journal, is more valuable than hundreds of connections from shoddy websites.

A few of these links can be more harmful than helpful.

To gain from higher organic search positions for your keywords, it is therefore in your best interest to develop high-quality niche-relevant links leading to your website.

Building high-quality links that are pertinent to your niche and lead to your website is in your best interest if you want to gain from higher organic search positions for your keyphrases.

Competition link analysis is the best probability of ranking higher among the many backlink-building strategies. You can use the process to find backlinks that have boosted your competitors’ search engine rankings in your niche.

It’s important to analyze the value of the domain referring back to your site in the last part. No matter how reputable, backlinks from just about any website won’t help you move up the search engine results page naturally.

According to this, your competitors have links from these sites. It appears toward the top of search results, showing that its link-building technique is successful. You can use competitor links to develop an effective link-building strategy and replicate their results.

If you follow the plan correctly, you should be able to outrank your competitors in search engine rankings.

Tools for Analyzing Competitor Backlinks

Competitor backlink analysis is practically impossible without the use of modern tools. They aid in the automation of data collection essential to identify your top competitors. To make things easier, we’ve reduced the selections to just three. Let’s get started.

1. Ahrefs

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Ahrefs is an SEO tool with a wide range of features that helps companies optimize their websites. More importantly, in our case, Ahrefs can help in competitor backlink analysis. How? 

Ahrefs has an excellent backlink analysis tool called the Backlinks Checker, whose sole purpose is, as you’d guess, backlinks. You can find the feature through Ahref’s “Site Explorer,” where you can immediately export the data for further analysis. 

Truthfully, Ahref’s strong suit is in the backlink analysis department, and many users have testified to that. In fact, the SVP of marketing at Smart Ass, Brian Bourque, mentions that the best tool for backlink analysis for besting competitors as a startup, in his opinion, is Ahrefs. 

With Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool, you can find domains you compete with for the same keyword, pull out some SEO stats for these domains, and study traffic breakdowns for your competitors. This way, you can efficiently draw out a plan to win the SEO game.

2. SEMrush

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Any great business loves to keep friends close and enemies closer. This means you have to get into how they run their business and how they satisfy customers so you can do better. One aspect of that is backlink analysis, and SEMrush can help you do that. 

SEMrush has an organic research competitor’s report to help you generate a list of your closest rivals so you can work out ways to beat them in the SEO game. The best part is that SEMrush ranks these competitors according to how much perceived threat they pose to your website.

That’s not all. You can also capitalize on SEMrush’s Backlink Gap tool to find untapped link-building opportunities in their profiles. You can tap these opportunities to level, if not surpass, the gap between you and your competitors. 

Sadly, SEMrush isn’t exactly free. The platform allows you to perform 10 inquiries every day for free, giving you an idea of how it works. Even though you will only see a small portion of the feature, you will understand how the dashboard functions.

For complete access, a subscription is necessary. Prices per month range from $119.5 to $449.95.

3. Moz

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Moz is another excellent tool for backlink analysis. According to PCMag, it could be described as the pioneer in the search engine optimization (SEO) space. Here’s why.

Moz provides an all-in-one solution for SEOs, and at a relatively cheaper rate too. In fact, Moz focuses its efforts on pure-play SEO. 

Let’s take a deeper look at Moz’s backlink tool. For every keyword you search, you get scores under 3 categories: Overall keyword difficulty, Opportunity score, and Potential score. This gives you insights into how much effort you’d have to put into your SEO game to get atop the SERPs for that keyword. 

Going away from that, Moz has an excellent keyword management and reporting system. That’s why you get rapid report downloads, which are easily accessible via the dashboard. These reports allow you to concentrate on the most crucial sections of your backlinking efforts so you can improve your backlink profile quickly.

Furthermore, Moz helps you identify links that harm rather than help your SEO rankings and how to get rid of them. You can find this through Moz’s Spam Score tool. 

Another interesting feature is the “Discovered and Lost” section of the website, which shows the related domains you’ve acquired and lost during a specific time period.

You can use Moz for 30 days without paying anything or sign up for one of their $99 to $599 monthly plans.

How to Gather Backlinks from Competitors for Your Link-Building Plan

You can start using competition backlink analysis now that you know the tools. We’ll start with the greatest and walk you through using Ahrefs to research competitor backlinks.

Determine Organic Competitors

For your website’s domain-level competitors and your keywords’ page-level competitors, you can use Ahrefs. There are two ways to do this:

Option 1 

  • Use Site Explorer.
  • In Site Explore, enter the URL of your domain.
  • Then, select Organic search > Competing domains from the left pane.
  • The next page displays domains that rank for the exact keywords as you. The more keywords you rank alongside these sites in organic search, the more you should see them as competitors.
  • The percentage of common keywords lets you estimate each rival’s relevance.
  • The higher the percentage, the more comparable keywords you both rank for, and the greater the threat to your SEO efforts they are.
  • You may use Site Explorer to break into each individual based on organic traffic, ranking keywords, and other variables.
  • However, checking for sites with the highest backlinks from each competitor domain is recommended. 
  • To do so, go to the left sidebar and select Pages > Best. It will display the domain pages with the greatest backlinks.

The strategy below is a much better option for folks with newer websites that still need to rank for keywords.

Option 2

  • Use Keyword Explorer.
  • In the Keyword Explorer search bar, enter your industry.
  • On the following page, select Traffic shares > By domains.
  • According to Ahrefs, this page displays the domains generating the highest traffic for your target keywords. 

The more popular and competitive a website is, the higher its organic traffic and share percentage are likely to be. 

We’ll examine the keywords that websites rank for in this area depending on the search term you entered into Keyword Explorer.

However, the fact that these websites appear in the search results for these terms suggests that they most likely have high-quality backlinks.

Like option #1, you can click on Page > Best by links to explore each domain’s Site Explorer and look at its top-ranking pages.

Check Each Ranking Domain’s or Page’s Top-Referring Domains

It’s crucial to look at your competitors’ backlink profiles after you’ve identified the leading competitors in your market. In this part, the referring domains are what we are most interested in, not the overall amount of backlinks that any website or page has.

When considering how to rank web pages on organic search, search engines take links from multiple domains into account.

A domain from which you get thousands of links will only count as one link. No matter how hard you worked to obtain the other links, Google disregards them as a result.

When examining your competitors’ referring domains, you can do this on a domain or page level.

Track Down Website Referring Domains

  • Enter the competitor’s domain URL into the Site Explorer search window.
  • Then, from the Backlink profile menu, select Referring domains. It thoroughly lists all external links from various domains pointing to your competitor’s website.

A domain-level search for competitor backlinks — the grouping of all domains by DR – allows you to look at the links leading to the various pages on a rival website (highest to lowest).

The domain’s backlink count and quality are both referred to as the domain’s DR. If a domain has many links from reputable websites, its domain authority (DR) should be high.

Traffic is another column to consider. This shows how much traffic the domain receives for the keywords it ranks for over the course of 30 days.

Traffic numbers demonstrate the authenticity of a website. A domain can have a high DR but only rank for a few keywords and receive insufficient organic traffic.

The disparity in DR and Traffic may suggest that the site is spam or part of a private blog network (PBN), both of which you should avoid for link-building purposes. 

Finally, seek pages that have dofollow connections to your competitor’s website. Dofollow links aid in the authority of your website. The more link juice a website transmits down to your website, the greater DR you can achieve. 

Lookup Referring Domains

If you want a more calculated approach to creating connections to your web pages, you can look for backlinks on a page level. This tactic is fantastic if you want to rank your page for a particular keyword.

Use Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer to enter the target keyword you want to rank for.

On the following page, scroll down to the SERP overview section, which lists the top 10 pages based on Ahrefs data. Among the indicators, you want to look at here, concentrate on the UR (URL Rating) and Domains columns.

The number and caliber of referring domains leading to this page are used to determine the URL Rating, representing the page’s authority. As a result, a higher UR suggests that a page’s backlinks are more reliable.

Because of this, you should favor domains with high UR and related domains. On search results, these pages have the best referring domains from which you want links.

When obtaining links, you can make the most of your link-building efforts by using the anchor text options provided in the Keyword and Top Keywords columns.

Identify a Method for Getting Links From These Websites

You must figure out how to obtain these connections from these referring domains once you have identified the domains from which you need links. When examining the referral domains of a website or page on Ahrefs, the Links to Target column should be discernible.

This shows the number of links your rivals have and a drop-down menu for each linked domain. You will see the following when you select the menu:

  • The referring domain’s page where the link appears.
  • The anchor text used to link to your competitor’s website.
  • More information on the referring domain (DR, domain and page traffic, ranking keywords, etc.).

You can also find out what kind of backlinks your rivals have on the domain by visiting the link. You’ll need to learn more about getting a backlink from websites that point to your rivals.

Let’s say you find the competitor link in the body of the blog article. If so, your competitor may have written a guest post or acquired the link by changing the niche or inserting a link.

All you have to do is negotiate a link placement with the website editor.

By learning the strategy used by competitors to obtain the link, you should be able to duplicate it and receive a backlink from the same domain to your website.

Alternative Strategies for Backlink Generation

All of the software discussed above assist you in monitoring your backlink profile and identifying gaps where you may produce more leads for your organization. But how do you go about creating those links? PBN is a form of backlink that you may or may not have heard about. 

What Are PBN Backlinks? 

PBN or Private Blog Network backlinks are hyperlinks created from a network of linked sites and blogs known as a private blog network. PBN backlinks are used to direct authority to a particular website in order to manipulate search engine rankings.

How To Build PBNs 

To create PBN backlinks, you must first acquire expired domains with existing authority and clean backlink profiles free of malicious connections. 

Then, on those PBN sites, you create a blog and write high-quality content that contains a hyperlink to your website, with each domain containing only one PBN backlink.

To pass internal PageRank, the web page containing your backlink should have several internal connections pointing to it. You should also aggressively seek backlinks to that page from other high-authority sites to help boost page authority even further.

This PBN backlink approach increases the PageRank value that is passed to your website via the backlink to improve search ranks for its target keywords.

Some people just send PBN backlinks to a website’s homepage to boost its domain authority, whereas other SEO strategists recommend linking to the homepage and various web pages to spread PageRank throughout the entire site.

Final Thoughts 

Competitor backlink analysis doesn’t solve all the issues you have with link building. It will supply you with critical information to help direct your link-building efforts on the appropriate path.

You can employ several methods and tools for backlinks on your website. However, knowing which domains to obtain links from would assist your site rank higher and faster in organic search results. Do well to follow the steps outlined in this post to maximize your results.

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