If you have ever done any link building, you are likely aware that link building is hard work. It takes time and patience to build relevant links that make sense. While this type of manual link building can be difficult, these kinds of links are becoming more and more valuable as Google continues to devalue the automated junk that is polluting the web. Although manual link building does take more work, there are worthwhile tactics and strategies that can help with your link building efforts. Oddly enough, the best place to start is with your competitors.
Basic Backlink Analysis
The best way to increase your link building efficiency is to study where your competitors are receiving valuable links. This requires learning how to conduct a backlink analysis. A backlink analysis consists of examining all the different websites linking to your (or your competitor’s) website. This includes looking at data such as the page linking, the manner in which they’re linking, the number of overall links, the relevance of the links, and the authority of the linking site.
To gather this data, there are a number of tools to choose from:
The data gained from a backlink analysis has a variety of uses, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on competitor analysis. For a more in-depth look into how to conduct a backlink analysis, check out this article from Search Engine Watch.
Once you feel comfortable running a backlink analysis and fully understand the implications of the data they provide, you can begin to run these analyses on your competitors. The information you can gain from these analyses can be quite valuable and really boost the efficacy of your own link building campaign.
Better Understanding of Competitive Environment
One way a competitor analysis can increase the effectiveness of your link building efforts is by giving you a better understanding of the online competitive environment within your niche.
You can use the data from a competitor analysis to discover which of your competitors has the most links pointing to them from unique domains. You can also look at the average number of links per competitor to get a feel for the competitive landscape within your industry in regards to links.
You can use this information to help determine the appropriate scope and size of your own link building project. It is always helpful to know what you’re up against when beginning a link building campaign.
Find Successful Strategies
Competitor analysis can also be used to find specific strategies that are successful within your industry. Using the data you gather from a competitor analysis, you can see which particular strategies garnered the most links for your competitors. Since you have the same target audience as your competitors, you can implement similar strategies in your own link building campaign to achieve similar success.
You should also consider which pages on your competitors’ sites are attracting the most links. This can give you an idea of whether you will be more successful linking to your home page or deep linking to another page.
Find Linking Opportunities
Along with discovering strategies that have been successful for your competitors, you can also find the sites where they are acquiring their links.
These make for excellent linking opportunities for your own site. The fact that your competitor already has a link on these sites means the chances of you being able to get a link as well are high.
Rather than going through the work of locating these quality linking opportunities yourself, you can often find them easily through a competitor analysis, where your competitors have already done the work for you.
Although typically most of the links in your competitors’ backlink profiles should be relevant to your site, it is still worth checking the quality of each individual site before pursuing a link there.
Link building is hard work and building quality links that are relevant takes time. However, there are some places you can look for help with your link building efforts. By conducting a competitor analysis, you can actually get link building help from your competitors.