Competitor Link Analysis
Backlinks pay a very important role in gaining high rankings for any website.
This post shows how you can analyse current links from your competitors to gain you an advantage.
Google in recent years has limited the amount of backlinks they show, simply to reduce or make it harder for you to keep an eye on what your competitors are upto.
In order to view some of the links, simply use the link: (link command) in Google, for example:
The only true way to view the majority of backlinks within Google is to use the Google Webmaster Tools: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
This is a great tool, which not only shows backlinks, but also gives you an insight into potential SEO issues on the site, from 404 error pages to a faulty robots.txt file.
However, we are talking about links, so going back on topic the links can be found within the category ‘Your Site on the Web’, then click on ‘Links to your Site’. The list of internal URLs will be listed, along with the link count next to each URL, clicking on the number will give you a breakdown of each external link.
Unfortunately, you can only use Google Webmaster Tools on your own websites, so you cannot analyse your competitor backlinks. Although this is still a great tool, as it clearly shows which deep URLs within your site require more linking weight, it will almost certainly display URL which you were not aware were linking to you.
Yahoo Site Explorer:
In my opinion, this is one of the better tools for showing the majority of links: http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/
Just insert your, or your competitors URL in the top search box and view the ‘Inlinks’ button, this figure displays all links, both internal and external. To show only the backlinks into a site, just click on the ‘Inlinks’ button and select ‘except from this domain’ from Show Inlinks drop down box. YOu now have a list of all external link coming into the website. This can be used to view competitor backlinks too!
http://www.linkdiagnosis.com/ is a great little tool. It gets its data from Yahoo Site Explorer, but reports back:
If the site was unavailable to check for link, any missing links, good links and if the link uses a ‘nofollow’ tag, which basically means for SEO purposes the link isn’t much use.
Link diagnosis will only report back one link per domain, unlike Yahoo which will show all links (sitewide) there are both advantages and disadvantages to accessing this data, depending the task to are trying to perform.
There are other tools which I’ll add to shortly, however if you know of any better ones please advise within the comments.