The answer is always on the first page of Google.
Google decided to rank your competitors on the top of the Search Engines Results Pages (SERPs) for a reason — they're doing something right!
So why not just replicate what's already working?
After all, you don't need to create the best page ever to outrank your competitors.
You just need to make your page a little better than theirs.
One way to do this is by conducting a competitor backlink analysis.
And this is exactly what this guide is about.
I've been building links professionally for the past 5 years — during which I've analyzed thousands of pages.
And in this guide, I'll share with you my fool-proof competitor backlink analysis blueprint.
A competitor backlink analysis is the process of analyzing your competitors' backlink profiles in order to get an estimation of the number and quality of links you need to rank.
There are two types of competitor backlink analysis:
In the following sections, I'll show you how to conduct each type of analysis step by step.
Just Google search your main keyword, get the top 3-5 ranking pages, and you're done — right?
Well, not really.
Browsers, such as Chrome, Edge, Safari, etc. collect a lot of data about your recent search history to “personalize” your experience.
This means that the article ranking #1 for you, can be ranking #3 for me.
For this reason, it's important to use a tool to tell you exactly what pages are ranking at the top.
If you use ahrefs, search using Keyword Explorer.
For semrush users, navigate to the Keyword Overview tab from the left menu.
If you don't have a paid link-building tool, I recommend using Ahrefs Free SERP Checker
Just plug in your keyword, choose your target country from the dropdown menu, and click Check SERP.
Now, sometimes the tool may not have data for this keyword.
In this case, I recommend using the incognito mode.
Note: Make sure to use Google Search. If you use Microsoft Edge, just search for Google and use their search engine.
Now, let's say we're trying to rank an article by Aquaradise for the keyword angelfish care.
They have quality content, good on-page optimization, and a similar domain rating to the top-ranking pages.
However, they're currently ranking in the 9th position according to ahrefs.
This tells us that this is a backlink issue.
With just a few links, they could get their page to the top of search engine rankings.
So, let's pick the top 5 pages to conduct our competitor backlink analysis.
In this case, they are:
Disclaimer: We're not associated with any of the websites listed above. It just happens that I was thinking of building a home aquarium :D
You can conduct a competitor backlink analysis using any link-building tool.
Whether you're using semrush, majestic, Moz, or any backlink checker tool, the steps are almost identical.
So don't stress about it.
For the purpose of this guide, I'll use ahrefs.
I'll head to Site Explorer, paste my first competing page URL, and choose Exact URL from the dropdown menu.
Next, I’ll click on Backlinks from the left sidebar.
This will show a list of all the backlinks pointing to this page.
However, as you know, not all backlinks are created equal.
That's why we need to filter our results.
And I'll show you how to do it in the next section.
The internet is filled with spam.
Many low-quality websites just scrape the web and give useless backlinks that don't have any SEO value.
That's why we need to filter out the noise to conduct an accurate backlink analysis and not waste our link-building efforts by building more links than we actually need.
And here's the criteria I use to filter the backlinks:
I applied my filters, and to my surprise, this page only has 3 links pointing to it.
That's pretty low considering how this page gets over 10,000 visitors per month.
We categorize the backlinks based on 2 factors:
In our example, we have 3 backlinks in the 60+ bracket.
For the anchor, we have 1 branded, 1 exact match, and 1 naked URL.
So let's add that to our sheet.
Now, let’s look at our 2nd competitor.
They have 11 links.
However, upon further investigation, we found that 2 of these links were removed.
So let's only count the 9 active ones.
We have 7 links in the 20–45 bracket, 1 link in the 45–60 bracket, and 1 link in the 60+ bracket.
The anchors are:
So this means we have 1 Branded, 1 URL, 2 Exact Match, 3 Partial Match, and 2 Generic anchors.
Adding the data to our sheet.
Our third competitor is PetVet Care — which has a DR of 69 and only a DR 14 backlink.
Since they have a much higher domain rating than ours, I’ll count this link.
Now, I want you to repeat the steps for the remaining competitors.
Here is what my sheet looks like at the end.
Just add up all the links in one bracket, divide it by the number of competitors, and then round the result to the closest number.
I added a calculator at the end of the sheet to automatically calculate it for you.
So to rank, we need two DR 30+ links, one DR 45+ link, and one DR60+ link.
Now, the anchor text distribution is a little more complicated to calculate.
You need to figure out the percentage of each anchor type for every page, then aggregate the data across all pages.
Luckily, I made a chart to help you calculate it.
Right next to the calculator, you'll find the average anchor text distribution based on your competitors.
We just need to do something similar to that to be safe.
And since we only need 4 links, our anchor text types should be:
One Generic, one Exact Match, one Partial Match, and one Branded or Naked anchor.
The final step is to make a link gap analysis — where we compare the links we already have to the result of our analysis to know exactly how many backlinks to build.
Our page happens to have one DR 29 backlink.
This means that we only need to build three links.
One DR 35+, one DR 45+, and one 60+ link.
And that's it!
Just make a copy of our Competitor Backlink Analysis Tool, pick your competitors, fill in the data, and you'll get a pretty accurate link analysis.
There are 3 reasons to conduct a domain-wide backlink analysis:
In this section, I'll share with you the best way to conduct each type of backlink analysis.
You can analyze competitors' backlinks by plugging your competitor's website into your favorite tool, heading to the backlinks tab, and looking for link patterns.
Alternatively, you can head to the best pages by links report to see what pages attract the most links, so you can replicate their strategies.
You analyze competitors in SEO by looking at their top-performing content, the number and quality of backlinks they have, and the keywords they're ranking for. This all can be done using an SEO tool.
You steal your competitor's backlinks by spying on the content that attracts them the most links, creating a much better version of it, and then emailing to the websites linking to your competitors asking them to link to your page instead.
You can also find the websites where your competitors publish guest posts and ask them to publish your posts.
Doing a competitor link analysis is really easy.
It's a lot of work.
But it's easier than coming up with your own link-building strategy.
If you don't want to go through the hassle of all these steps, I have a surprise for you!
Here at Get Me Links, we offer free competitor backlink analysis reports for our customers.
And not only that!
You can schedule a free consultation call with one of your experienced link builders to walk you through the report and the most effective link-building strategies for your website.
So give it a try.
It's completely free!