Competitor Backlink Analysis – The Easy Way To Build Backlinks

Building backlinks is a fundamental part of any SEO strategy. 

There are lots of different methods in which to do this however there is one method that stands out from the rest and has stood the test of time.

Competitor backlink analysis.

With this method you are essentially analysing your competitors backlinks and figuring out exactly how they built their best ones. Then… you do it too.

You are taking the hard work that competitors have done and using it to create your link building strategy.

What Is Competitor Backlink Analysis?

Your competitors are more than likely bigger and have better funding than you. They will probably have teams that are dedicated to building links with a huge budget. So can you really compete with them?

Instead you can use their research against them to build the same links they have.

For example, I can run a competitor through the Ahrefs tool and I can see a list of all their backlinks and where they are coming from:

I can figure out how that link was won, whether it was a guest post or an expert roundup etc… then I can reach out to those sites with my pitch. But just make sure it’s a great pitch.

This can be done for your competitor’s whole link profile or just specific URLs you would like to outrank in the SERPs.

How To Steal Your Competitors Backlinks

There are a couple of really good backlink checker tools you can choose from and I will also give you access to my free backlink analysis spreadsheet which will tell you exactly which backlinks you should go after.

  • Ahrefs 
  • SEMRush 
  • SEO Spyglass 
  • Matthew Woodward’s Intelligent Spreadsheet

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

#1 Find Your Competitors

The first thing you need to do is find your competitors for the keyword you are wishing to rank. Just head to Google and enter your keyword:

Then make a note of the top 10 URLs of your competitors.

#2 Research Your Competitors

Now you have a list of competitors you need to find their best backlinks by using a backlink checker tool.


Ahrefs is a fantastic SEO tool and has become known as one of the best backlink checkers on the market. You can see a lot of data and they have a database that is usually the most often updated so you’ll be as near to realtime data as available.

Enter the first competitor URL into the search bar and once loaded, click ‘Backlinks’

Then you will see a comprehensive list of all the links that are currently pointing to that URL.

You can either use the filters to find the best backlinks to replicate or use my intelligent backlink analysis spreadsheet that will do all this for you.

#3 Analysing The Data

Ahrefs has some great filters that you can play around with to see the strongest backlinks pointing to that URL.

You can filter by:

  • Link type
  • Platform
  • Language
  • Traffic
  • Specific keywords or phrases

And even order the results to your priority. This could be:

  • Domain rating
  • URL rating
  • Referring domains
  • Linked domains
  • External links of referring page
  • Traffic
  • Keywords ranked in the top 100

Or you can load the data into my backlink analysis spreadsheet and it will do all this work for you.

Just download my spreadsheet and follow the instructions to get started. You will then have a list of the best backlinks that you should target and in what format.

This could be:

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

#4 Creating Better Content

Leaving blog comments and contributing to forum posts are quick easy wins but for a lot of high authority links you are going to need to put in some extra effort.

So you have a list of websites to reach out to and what format you need to pitch them with…

It’s time to create some awesome content that is going to win over the website owner and add along side or even replace your competitors link.

If you already have the perfect content you can skip this step.

If not, I find the “Skyscraper” method to be particularly effective here. All you gotta do is take your competitors existing content and make something even better.

For example

  • If they have a list blog post, you can add more items and more information.
  • If they have a how to post, you can go even more in depth with lots of examples.
  • If they have a case study, you can do your own with more relevant and up to date data.

Once you have golden content ready to go – it’s time to pitch your content.

#5 Pitch The Website Owner

The way you pitch your content is really important. 

You need to grab their attention and get them to view your content without sending your email straight to the trash bin. You can guarantee that these websites receive requests like this all the time. So you need to stand out!

You can use tools like and Find That Lead to get the right email address to reach out to…

You will then want to create a pitch that shows them exactly why they should be linking to your content. 

Remember, people respond well to humour and they like to know they are receiving and email from another human being, not an automated program. 

So find the right balance between professional, polite and humorous.

And if you want them to even open your email you must grab their attention with an awesome subject line.

#6 Wash, Rinse & Repeat

The more you do the better the process will become as you get a good feel for each step.

You will see what kind of content gets the most attention and can use this information when creating your content strategy.

Once you have exhausted all opportunities for one keyword, you can then move onto another and start this process again.

Wrapping It Up

Taking a peek at how your competitors are building their backlinks and replicating them is an easy technique which wins you those links that are currently responsible for ranking your competitors highly in the SERPs.

Just follow the steps above and then repeat for each keyword you wish to rank for.

mattWriter: Matthew Woodward owns an award winning marketing blog which publishes SEO tutorials & case studies that help people improve their online business. He began this blog in 2012 and has been able to reach thousands of people across the world who need help with their websites.’ 

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