Competitor Backlink Analysis – Building Backlinks The Easy Way

Competitor Backlink Analysis

When it comes to SEO, building backlinks should be a major part of your strategy.

Once you have built a strong site with solid foundations and top-quality content, then it’s time to turn your attention to developing a robust backlink strategy.

You can think of a backlink as a ‘vote’ for your site. The more ‘votes’ Google sees for your page from high authority websites, the higher it will rank in the SERPs.

There are a bunch of different methods you can use to build backlinks…

Link Building Strategies by MatthewWoodward

But some are more effective than others.

The link building strategy that stands out from the others and achieves great results is…

Competitor backlink analysis.

Simply put, you find out how your competitors built their best backlinks, and you replicate each one.

Essentially, you are letting your competitors do all the hard work, and then you can use their own backlink strategy against them.

How Do You Recognise The Best Backlinks

Before you start analyzing your competitor’s backlinks, you need to understand the basics behind what constitutes a good backlink and how to build a natural-looking backlink profile.

You need to consider a few things:

  • Authority of the referring site
  • Anchor text
  • Dofollow vs Nofollow
  • New content vs existing content

In order to build a link profile that looks natural to the search engines, you need to opt for variety.

For example, if all the backlinks pointing to your page were built using the exact same anchor text, this sends a red flag to Google that the links may have been manipulated.

You need to have a range of anchor texts like…

  • Exact keywords
  • Topic keywords
  • Brand
  • Page URL
  • Misc (e.g click here)

And the best way to find the right balance of anchor text is… Yes, you guessed it, analyze your competitors, which can easily be done with a tool like Ahrefs.

Google will also expect to see a range of dofollow and nofollow links pointing to that page. As your page ranks, it should naturally pick up nofollow links; however, you should still keep an eye on this.

So, whilst finding the backlinks that put your competitors at the top of the search rankings, you need to take into account these factors, too.

What Exactly is Competitor Backlink Analysis?

As we have already touched on, competitor backlink analysis is a strategy that involves taking a close look at how your top competitors are building their strongest backlinks and then replicating them.

Most of your competitors will have invested a lot of time and money into building these links, and they will probably have deep pockets and dedicated teams, so instead of trying to compete with them, you can use their research against them.

This can be done very easily with a few brilliant backlink checkers and analysis tools.

With Ahrefs, I can enter a competitor’s page and then view all the websites that are linking to them. You can see the referring pages’ authority and the anchor text used, as well as some other useful metrics:

Backlink Analysis Tutorial Using Ahrefs by MatthewWoordward

You can use this data to determine how the link was won and use the filter options to determine which are the best backlinks to replicate.

You can use this process on your competitor’s entire link profile or just focus on specific pages you wish to outrank.

Let’s take a closer look at this process and the tools available that make it easy.

Stealing Your Competitor’s Backlinks

You will find a few quick and easy wins, such as posting blog comments or getting involved in forum posts, but for the most part, those high authority links that you need will require a little extra effort.

There are 6 steps to follow to complete this process effectively.

  1. Finding Your Competitors
  2. Researching Your Competitors
  3. Analysing the Data
  4. Creating Content
  5. Pitching the Website Owner
  6. Wash, Rinse & Repeat

There are a few excellent tools on the market that make this strategy quick and easy to execute. I would recommend you choose one of the following tools…

And then to make it even easier, I will give you access to my backlink analysis intelligent spreadsheet. This will analyse the data for you and reveal which backlinks to replicate for the best results.

Let’s take a closer look at the process using Ahrefs.

1. Finding Your Competitors

Firstly you need to find who your competitors are for your chosen keyword.

Enter your keyword into a Google search:

Finding Your Competitor - Tutorial by MatthewWoodward

Then make a list of the top ten organic rankings in the results.

2. Researching Your Competitor

Now it’s time to find the backlinks that are greatly contributing to your competitors sitting in the top positions.

We will look at this using the Ahrefs backlink checker tool, which has consistently performed well and comes out on top in my case studies to find the best backlink checker on the market.


If you don’t already have an Ahrefs account, they offer a pretty good 7-day trial for $7 you can take advantage of.

Once up and running, just enter the first URL from your list into the search. Once loaded up, you’ll see the menu on the left-hand side. Click ‘Backlinks’.

Researching Your Competitor - Tutorial by MatthewWoodward

You’ll see a list of all the backlinks pointing to your competitor’s URLs.

3. Analysing The Data

If you want to spend the time analyzing the backlinks yourself within Ahrefs, you can play around with the filters and figure out which are the strongest links to target.

You can filter by:

Analysing the Data - Tutorial by MatthewWoodward

And then order those results according to your priority:

  • Domain Rating (DR)
  • URL rating (UR)
  • Referring domains
  • Linked domains
  • Number of external links
  • Monthly search traffic
  • Number of ranked keywords
Ahrefs Filter for Enhance Result

Alternatively, you can load up the data found by Ahrefs into my free backlink analysis spreadsheet, which will take care of all the analysis for you.

Sign up to receive this spreadsheet and follow the instructions. Then you will be presented with the best backlinks to target and exactly how to do this.

For example, this could be a:

  • Blog comment
  • Guest post
  • Forum post
  • Expert roundup
  • Infographic
  • Resource page
  • Interview/podcast

Take care of any quick wins, and then move on to the next step.

4. Creating Content

When it comes to creating content that you are going to pitch, it needs to be top quality, interesting and relevant. And perhaps most importantly…, it solves the problems of your (and the website you want linking to your) audience.

If you are already content that ticks these boxes, then move on to the next step.

If not, you can use the “Skyscraper” method here. This means you take a piece of existing content from your competitor and create something better.

5. Pitching The Website Owner

Pitching your content to the website owner is one of the most important steps.

A bad pitch will get sent straight to the trash, whereas a good pitch will grab their attention and get them to read your awesome content and enter into a conversation with you which you can work to your advantage.

Remember, you won’t be the only one reaching out to them trying to get a link; some sites receive hundreds of requests every week, so you need to make your pitch stand out.

Using a tool like Find That Lead, ContactOut, or will help you find the right person to make your pitch to…

Pitching the Website Owner

Then tell them exactly why they should be taking your pitch seriously.

Remember, people like to know they are being emailed by a human and not an automated piece of software, so personalizing your pitch is important, and people usually enjoy and respond well to a bit of humor too.

Just find a good balance between polite, professional and humorous. Put yourself in their shoes, and what would catch your attention?

If you even want your email opened… make sure you have one hell of a subject line.

6. Wash, Rinse & Repeat

Work through each URL and build your backlinks. You will get a feel for what works well and what doesn’t within your niche. The more you do, the better and easier your process will become.

You’ll get a clearer idea of what content attracts the best links, and you can start to account for this within your content strategy.

Once you have finished with all the opportunities for one keyword, get started on the next.

Wrapping It Up

Backlinks are the bread and butter of a website reaching the first page of Google.

First, ensure you build a site worth linking to, then use the competitor backlink analysis strategy to find and replicate the links that are working for the website ranking for your target keyword.

There are some fantastic tools on the market that make analyzing your competitor’s backlinks quick and easy. Take advantage of these, and you’ll have a list of links to target for maximum rewards.

Avatar of Matthew Woodward
Matthew Woodward
Matthew Woodward began his award-winning SEO & marketing blog in 2012. His blog helps anyone with an online business learn how to become successful and exceed their goals by publishing easy to follow case studies & tutorials.

35 thoughts on “Competitor Backlink Analysis – Building Backlinks The Easy Way”

  1. Competitor Analysis is one of the major factors for your win situation though even here at backlinks it carries worth results if you do competitor backlinks. This complete story has improved my knowledge of how to look forward to competitor analysis.

  2. Hey Matthew Woodward,
    Great post. Thanks for sharing these tips for building backlinks . I have been doing seo for 2 months on my own website but i am not getting backlinks. I will utilize the resources that you have given and definitley comeback with the review.

  3. Competitor backlink research is a very important part of SEO. You need to constantly check on your competitors where they are putting their links and where they are posting so as to keep yourself up with their moves. You have written it very well in your blog and have explained it very well.

  4. Great post, thanx for the guide. I have a friend who didn’t understand the concept and importance and i could just send him your post.

  5. Amazing ideas for Link Building Thank you for sharing with us Thank’s, Really Great Article… I love to read your articles because your writing style is too good,
    its is very very helpful for all of us and I never get bored while reading your article because,
    they are becomes a more and more interesting from the starting lines until the end.

  6. Competitor Analysis is one of the major factors for your win situation though even here at backlinks it carries worth results if you do competitor backlinks. This complete story has improved my knowledge of how to look forward to competitor analysis.

  7. Great post, thanx for the guide. I have a friend who didn’t understand the concept and importance and I could just send him your post.

  8. Well written. without quality backlinks, your site would not rank well so it is important to select the quality backlinks from your competitor’s own

  9. I like this post so much and I will share this post with my all friends because all the details are in this post is brilliant. So glad things worked out!

  10. The article is really good quality, the content is also very good, the accompanying images are beautiful, keep promoting, I will follow you.

  11. Competitor backlink research is the best analyzer of your competitor. Through this we can get a perfect idea of how much we have to push our website. It will improve our Seo and we can have an idea of how much time it will take.

  12. From last year I am looking for the backlinks strategy to rank my own website on Google but I didn’t get anything extra-ordinary information about the backlink. But when I see your blog then I feel that this is the best information that I am looking for. Keep sharing advance and updated information about SEO.

  13. I am working on my site and looking for backlink strategy. I am surely working this strategy to rank my website on the web. Thanks for sharing this useful information for us. I really appreciate it and recommend this website to my friends.

  14. That is one of the best information about backlinking i get today. I am facing currently only backlink problem and today I found its solution in your article. Thanks

  15. An excellent article on SEO strategy particularly focusing on competitor backlink analysis. Your process is simple yet effective. Analyzing anchor text, dofollow vs nofollow, new vs existing content makes sense!

  16. This write-up presents a comprehensive guide on competitor backlink analysis. I found your recommendations for engaging tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush helpful. Your 6-step approach to optimize my SEO strategy is quite enlightening.

  17. Your post on competitor backlink analysis is enlightening. It explains succinctly how to utilize competitors’ strategies for personal gain. The detailed steps and tools mentioned make it easy to follow through the process.

  18. Your SEO guide on competitor backlink analysis is comprehensive and informative. The step-by-step process makes the strategy easy to grasp. I had a misunderstanding about balancing anchor texts, but this cleared up my misconceptions.


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