Are you lagging behind your competitors when it comes to your search rank with Google? Search algorithms are constantly evolving, and keeping up with them can be difficult. In fact, search engine optimization can pose a challenge for any company, necessitating knowledge of keywords, tags, content creation, and backlinks.
One of the best things you can do to boost your search ranking is to build backlinks to your site. In this article, we will explore how to shortcut the process by stealing backlinks from your competitors.
Why Backlinks Matter
Backlinks are one of the key metrics that Google and other search engines use to rank web pages. Google’s search algorithms are proprietary, but they do make certain information available to the public. One of the things that has a big impact on a site’s search rank is its authority – a measurement of how much value the page contains. When a reputable website links back to your page, it works like an endorsement. Google assumes your page has credibility when you have high-quality backlinks.
According to SEO authority Moz, the best kinds of links are those that happen organically. Editorial links – the kind that happen when an authority website or publication discovers your content and links back to it without being asked – carry a lot of weight with Google. However, links that you ask for can be almost as effective if you handle them in the right way.
Method #1: Analyzing Your Competitors’ Backlinks
A good way to build up quality backlinks in a hurry is to steal them from your competitors. That might sound nefarious, but it’s actually not. The word “stealing” does not refer to any wrongdoing. Rather, it is a description of a way to find opportunities for backlinks by analyzing what your competitors are doing and capitalizing on the data you find.
The first step to analyzing backlinks is to do a simple Google search for an important keyword. For the purposes of this exercise, you should start by writing down the URLs of the top ten websites that appear in response to your search.
Analyzing backlinks is relatively easy. One of the best free tools available is Mondovo. It allows you to plug in the URL of your competitor and view their top backlinks, anchor texts and broken links. It also gives you the option to filter by countries, IPs, C-class Ips etc.
Once you have a list of sites, you can check them out manually and consider asking those sites for a link. It can be helpful to visit the site and see what kinds of things they are linking to so you can suggest a page of your own.
Method #2: Evaluating Broken Links
One alternative is to take your analysis of the backlinks to the next level, and look for broken links. You can accomplish that by using the same backlink report that you generated previously. Just select all the displayed URLs and at the bottom of the screen, there’s a green button titled ‘Check Link Status’. Click on that and wait for the report to get generated.
Once the report is generated, go to the same backlinks tab and click on ‘Filters’. Then under ‘Filter By’, enter ‘Link Status’ under Select the Field, ‘=’ (without quotes) under Type of Search and ‘Not Found’ under Criteria and then click on ‘Add Criteria’. Lastly, click on ‘Filter’.
Upon clicking on Filter, you will see the list of pages that have broken links.
Broken links to your competitors’ sites represent a golden opportunity for you. Once you have a list of broken links, you need to figure out what content used to be on those pages so you can replace it with new content of your own. To do that, you need to use a tool like the WayBack Machine – a website that stores archives of web pages.
Links can break for many different reasons. If a competitor changed their URL or moved their content, the link might be broken. They might also have removed the content, thus rendering the link unusable. Whatever the reason, the broken link is something you can use to your advantage.
For each broken link, follow these steps:
1. Look up the link in the Wayback Machine and read the content.
2. Decide whether the content is relevant to your website. Not every article you find is going to be something that you would want to have on your website. Remember, SEO is not just about keywords anymore. The quality of your content has a huge impact in your Google rank, so don’t take this step lightly.
3. If the content is relevant, decide whether it is something you can improve upon. It’s not enough simply to rewrite your competitor’s content. Your goal should always be to improve upon the original content. That means adding something new and unique. Examples might include:
a. Updating outdated content
b. Adding your unique perspective
c. Approaching the topic from a new angle
4. If the content is both relevant and something you feel you can make better, then go ahead and rewrite it and put it up on your website. It is very important to do this step first, before you reach out to the site that linked to your competitor’s page.
5. Email the webmaster of the page with the broken link and propose your new material as a replacement for the broken link. Include a link to your new content – this is why you need to write the new content first – and politely request a link to your page.
6. You may sometimes find that more than one backlink leads to your competitors’ defunct page. If that is the case, then it’s a good idea to email all of the sites with a request for a backlink. You can expect to get a decent success rate with this tactic, probably between 10% and 20%.
Method #3: Google Alerts
The third method you can use to replicate backlinks is to use Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your competitors online.
To set up an alert, go to Google Alerts. At the top of the page, you will see a search box. You can enter anything you want, including:
-The name of your competitor
-A chosen keyword
-A product name
Whichever option you choose, Google will sweep the internet and send you an email whenever the search term you have entered is mentioned. You can then visit the site where the mention was posted and determine whether it poses an opportunity for you to obtain a new backlink.
Not every backlink needs to be to an article or a piece of content. Using these methods may also help you find opportunities to be listed in industry directories and publications. Any link from an authoritative website in your industry can help improve your search rank.
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