When it comes to crafting an SEO strategy for a business in a competitive industry, you’ll need a plan to build authority. One way Google’s algorithm determines the authority of a site is through backlinks, or the number of links directing from external websites back to yours.
Link building strategies aren’t one size fits all, so you’ll have to get creative with the ways you earn those valuable backlinks.
One of the most effective ways to begin a link building campaign is by reviewing competitor backlinks. Using SEO tools, you can browse the backlink profiles of sites with similar products to yours. These sites should rank well for competitive keywords you’d also like to rank for. This allows you to borrow link building strategies that have worked for your competitors and develop insights into why they are ranking for important keywords.
Adapt Your Backlink Strategies to Modern Times
Recently, our backlink research has uncovered more and more competitors with backlinks that cannot be duplicated in today’s environment. These are usually established competitors who obtained their backlinks a decade ago. Back then, email outreach for backlinks was more effective. You could mass email bloggers, college administrators or even government agencies to obtain links. Those days are long gone.
To generate backlinks today and keep your outreach compliant with white-hat link building tactics, your email outreach must be targeted or connected to an overarching marketing campaign that generates links as a by-product — examples include product review campaigns, charitable partnerships and advocacy within your industry.
This means it’s crucial that you select the right competitors to research up front. Find competitors that accelerated their authority growth in the last couple years and look into how they did it. You’ll learn a lot from them.
Here is an example of a startup site that earned the majority of its links in the last year. The chart below was pulled from Ahrefs, a popular tool used to find competitor backlinks. If this was a real competitor to your business, all of these links would be worth looking into because they were generated by strategies that work today, not a decade ago.
How Do You Find Competitor Backlinks?
Checking competitor backlinks is as easy as copying and pasting their URL into a powerful SEO software. Popular SEO tools include Ahrefs and Semrush. These sites will give you a comprehensive list of all the backlinks competitors have earned, and some even break them down by domain authority.
Once you uncover your competitors’ backlinks you can adapt their strategies to work for your company. Here are a few linking opportunities we’ve discovered with careful competitor selection:
- Sites linking to immigration stories
- Rising interest among bloggers for made-in-the-USA products
- An ecosystem that supports veteran owned products
- Low-cost podcast sponsorships for backlinks
Make Your Competitors’ Backlinks Work for You
Competitor backlink research can save you lots of time and resources when deciding what direction to take a link building campaign. If certain strategies worked for your competitors, there’s a good chance they’ll work for you too. Taking inspiration from these campaigns can skyrocket the number of external websites linking back to your site and eventually signal to Google that your business is an authority in your field!
Don’t know where to start when building out your backlinking strategy? Contact Fire&Spark today for custom backlink research and recommendations from top-notch SEO strategists