Linking is crucial for both SEO and profit.
Competitive Linking Intelligence:
One of the ways we create value for our clients is by looking at competitors’ links to gain insight on areas, industries, or verticals that our client may be missing out on. One of the tools I use to see my competitors’ links is with the Open Site Explorer tool from SEOmoz. OSE allows you to see your competitors’ inbound links, the value of these links, and where you need to focus more of your linking strategy.
5 steps to see where you’re competitors are getting their links
- Lookup yours and your competitors’ inbound links using Open Site Explorer and filter by:
- Show “Followed+301” links from “only external” pages to “pages on this root domain” and “group by domain”.
- Then download the CSV
- Combine the data from each of the CSV exports onto one single worksheet. Make an extra column and put the competitor’s name next to each link. I like to hide all of the columns except: (1)Company, (2)URL, (3)Page Authority, (4)Domain Authority, and (5)Target URL.
- Create a pivot table- Set:
- “URL” as the row labels.
- “Company” as column labels
- “Domain Authority” as the values. Make sure to then go into “Value field settings” and Summarize value field by Max.
- Format: Copy and paste this pivot table into a new tab. Then replace the blanks with zeros. Then format the zeros in red and any cell with a domain authority in green.
- Insert Domain Authority: Then make a column with just domain authority by doing a vlookup for each URL. This allows you to sort by competitor or by domain authority with ease.
This final product gives you a much more expansive look at your competitors’ inbound links. From this you can see:
- Missed opportunities from both an economic and SEO perspective: Are there sites my competitors got a link from that I should also be getting? In the example above, Sam Ash is the only competitor that isn’t getting a link from this site. If I was Sam Ash, I would reach out to the people/webmaster at Tascam.com to make sure my URL is shown beside all of my major competitors’ URLs.
Sam Ash could potentially be missing out on:
- Customers and sales from Tascam products
- A high value link from Tascam that tells search engines you are relevant and authoritative in this space, and which could lead to higher rankings.
- Competitive Intelligence: Are my competitors gaining links from sources that signal they are moving into a new territory? Or new horizontal or vertical industry?
- Partnerships or Associations: Are my competitors in relationships with trade associations or local organizations that I may also be in that I should be gaining a link? Or are there ones that I may want to get involved with that my competitors are taking advantage of?
I’m sure you can think of many more things you can do with this kind of page level inbound link data that could help you increase sales, improve rankings, spot new opportunities, and see what types of business your competition might be moving into.