How to Do Competitor Backlink Analysis: A Comprehensive Guide[2024]

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How to Do Competitor Backlink Analysis: A Comprehensive Guide[2024]

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Competitor backlink analysis is a crucial aspect of SEO strategy. By analyzing the link profiles of your major competitors, you can gain valuable insights into their link building strategies and leverage those strategies to improve your own website’s rankings on search engines. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of performing a competitor backlink analysis using popular SEO tools like Ahrefs. By the end of this article, you will have the knowledge and tools to conduct a deep dive into your competitors’ backlink profiles and uncover link building opportunities for your own website.

Why Perform Competitor Backlink Analysis?

Before we dive into the process of competitor backlink analysis, let’s understand why it is important and how it can benefit your website’s SEO efforts. Here are a few key reasons to perform competitor backlink analysis:

  • Insights into Link Building Strategies: By analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles, you can gain insights into the strategies they are using to build links. This information can help you identify new link building opportunities and refine your own link building tactics.
  • Identify Common Link Sources: Competitor backlink analysis allows you to identify websites that commonly link to websites similar to yours. If you find that multiple well-ranking competitors have links from the same websites, those links may be instrumental in their high rankings. By identifying these common link sources, you can target them for your own link building efforts
  • Discover Untapped Link Opportunities: Competitor backlink analysis can reveal link opportunities that you may have missed. By examining your competitors’ backlinks, you can uncover websites that are relevant to your niche and may be willing to link to your website as well.

Now that we understand the importance of competitor backlink analysis, let’s move on to the step-by-step process of conducting a thorough analysis.

  1. Identify Your Competitors

The first step in competitor backlink analysis is to identify your main competitors. You may already have a list of competitors in mind, but if not, you can use tools like Ahrefs’ Organic Competitors report in Site Explorer to find websites that are ranking for the same keywords as your website. This report will provide you with a list of websites that you can consider as your competitors.

To access the Organic Competitors report, simply enter your website’s URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and navigate to the report. It will display a list of websites that are competing with you for organic search traffic.

Organic competitors report

Once you have identified your competitors, make a note of their website URLs as you will need them in the next steps of the analysis.

  1. Find Common Links

Now that you have a list of your competitors, it’s time to find the common links they share. This step will help you identify the websites that are linking to multiple competitors, as these websites may be valuable for your own link building efforts.

To find common links, you can use the Link Intersect report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Enter the URLs of your competitors into the report, and it will provide you with a list of referring domains that link to all of the entered URLs.

Link intersect report

By clicking on the numbers under each domain, you can explore the individual links that each website has from the common referring domains.

Individual links from a common domain

Make a note of the common referring domains and explore the links to understand how your competitors are being linked from these websites.

  1.  Analyze Competitor Strategies

Once you have identified the common links, it’s time to analyze your competitors’ strategies. There are two approaches you can take:

  • Identify Missing Links: Look for common links that your competitors have but you don’t. These links may be opportunities for you to acquire backlinks from relevant websites. Analyze the content and context of these links to understand why they are valuable for your competitors.
  • Identify Link Patterns: Look for patterns in the data to identify the types of websites where your competitors are getting links. You may find niche sites, local listings, or other local websites that are valuable for backlinks. Analyze the link patterns to understand the strategies your competitors are using to build links.

By analyzing your competitors’ strategies, you can gain valuable insights into the types of websites that are linking to them and the content that attracts backlinks. This information can help you refine your own link building strategies and target similar websites for link acquisition.

Congratulations! You have completed a basic competitor backlink analysis. Now, let’s explore how you can scale this process to gather even more data and uncover additional opportunities.

Bonus Tip: Check Competitors’ Most Linked Content

In addition to analyzing the common links between your competitors, it is also beneficial to examine their most linked content. By doing so, you may discover interesting content pieces that are driving a significant number of backlinks to your competitors’ websites.

To find your competitors’ most linked content, you can use Ahrefs’ Best by Links report in Site Explorer. Enter your competitors’ URLs into the report, and it will display the content pieces that are attracting the most backlinks.

Best by links report

By analyzing the content that is driving backlinks to your competitors, you can gain inspiration for creating similar types of content that may attract backlinks to your own website.

Scaled Competitor Backlink Analysis

If you have more time and want to gather even more data and opportunities, you can scale the competitor backlink analysis process. This scalable process involves analyzing niche-specific links and local links.

  1. Niche Links

To analyze niche-specific links, you can follow a similar process to the basic analysis but expand it to include more competitors. If you have more than 10 direct competitors, you can use a larger list from Ahrefs’ Competing Domains report in Site Explorer.

By analyzing the backlink profiles of multiple competitors in your niche, you can identify niche-specific websites and directories that may be valuable for acquiring backlinks. Look for patterns in the linking behavior of these websites and understand how your competitors are leveraging these opportunities.

  1. Local Links

For companies focused on local SEO, analyzing local links can provide valuable insights and opportunities. Start by creating a list of popular cities in your country or area of focus. Then, use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to explore keywords related to your niche in these cities.

Export the search results with the SERPs to identify the top websites in each city. Filter out irrelevant websites and focus on the top sites that are relevant to your niche. Export the referring domains of these websites using Ahrefs’ Referring Domains report in Site Explorer.

Export referring domains

Combine all the exported files into one and remove duplicates. You will be left with a list of top referring sites in your niche from different cities. Categorize these sites based on relevance and analyze how they link to other websites in your niche. Look for patterns and opportunities to acquire backlinks from these local websites.

By scaling the competitor backlink analysis process, you can gather more data and uncover unique insights and opportunities for your own link building efforts.

Final Thoughts 

Competitor backlink analysis is a powerful strategy for improving your website’s SEO performance. By analyzing your competitors’ link profiles, you can gain insights into their link building strategies, identify common link sources, and discover untapped link opportunities.

In this comprehensive guide, we have walked you through the step-by-step process of performing a competitor backlink analysis. From identifying your competitors to finding common links and analyzing competitor strategies, you now have the knowledge and tools to conduct a deep dive into your competitors’ backlink profiles.

Remember to regularly analyze your competitors’ backlink profiles and adapt your link building strategies accordingly. SEO is a dynamic field, and staying updated with your competitors’ link building tactics can give you a competitive edge in the search rankings.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us. Happy link building!

Written By

Sarthak Goriya
Sarthak Goriya
Strategic Leader | Head of Link Building & Operations | Driving SEO Excellence and Digital Growth 🚀

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