As promised in our last article on “Why it really pays off to monitor your backlinks”, we’re coming back to tips and tricks related to your competitors and how their backlinks can become one of the most valuable sources of knowledge!
When we think about backlinks monitoring, the most obvious way of doing it is to analyse those leading to your website. But there is actually nothing holding you back from doing the same with your competition – just run the analysis for their website instead of yours. And how exactly can you use the results?
Compare the list of positive websites to your own list.
This will give you a sense of what important websites you’re missing and how you can improve your position and visibility. There is probably plenty of places where you’re not yet featured but are a perfect match for you. Perhaps your competitors are members of trade associations worth joining or are present in brand catalogues and datasets that you’re not yet familiar with. Check your competitors to see how they are acquiring valuable links and use this knowledge to improve your business.
Visit and study the websites that don’t seem to fit your profile directly.
This way you can get some insights on how your competitors acquire positive links. Maybe they always sign their projects with their link, so when the client is using the service or the product, the link is there and serves as a high quality reference. Maybe they are sponsoring some events or charity organizations and are listed on those websites. Your backlinks don’t always need to be strictly related to your branch of business as long as they are valuable. So get inspirations from whatever your competitors are doing better than you and never miss a chance to excel.
Get PR ideas.
Being present in the media can definitely bring you publicity and great advertising (if you’re written about in a positive way of course) but it’s also another source of backlinks. However, not everyone can be just spontaneously written about – check what your competition is doing in this matter.
Have they prepared a case study or a report that is a part of a bigger series?
Was there an interview with the board member in one of the trade magazines?
Have they accomplished something worth mentioning in your business?
Think how you can convert your knowledge of the field into a publishable material.
Taking a look on how PR is used to get positive links will not only improve your SEO but may do great things for your company. You will be better informed about any events you should take part in, you may get good ideas on how to promote your brand and you are less likely to miss important trade contests fitting your profile.
Treat analysing your competitors’ backlinks as a study of your business sector. Look for solutions you haven’t thought of before. Get knowledge about what new marketing ideas are being implemented and in what directions your competition is developing. Finally, never fear using the doors that someone else has already opened for you, no shame in that because for sure this will lead you to thousands of undiscovered brand new solutions.
Search Engine Watch has posted an interesting case study recently. It is an in-depth analysis of a large website being punished by Google’s Panda algorithm update. The site lost about 30 percent of Google organic traffic, which can be shown here:
SEW’s post is a great read, so we strongly recommend you to read it. From WebDNA’s point of view the most important are the blog’s recommendations on how to avoid similar situations in the future. The main hint is to “continually audit the website”. We fully agree with this conclusion:
Initial audits can be extremely powerful, but once they are completed, they can’t help you analyze future releases. To combat this situation, I recommend scheduling audits throughout the year. That includes a mixture of crawl audits, manual analysis, and auditing webmaster tools reporting.
Continually auditing the site can help nip problems in the bud versus uncovering them after the damage has been done.
We couldn’t have agreed more. Having similar experience myself, that is why I have decided to create a tool that is able to run a quick audit, that points to potential ban and penalty threats. The goal for WebDNA.io is to learn to understand the search engine’s algorithms and provide you with specific advice.
Feel free to join our beta testers here. Organizations that participate in it gain an opportunity to win a special feature of our app dedicated to their needs.
In-depth backlinks analysis can not only help you optimize search engine traffic. It can tell you much more interesting information about your site.
John Ball from “Search Engine Journal” points at four main uses of backlink analysis:
1. Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis can provide you with wide range of useful information. You will learn what keywords are most useful, which pages of competitor’s site are most linked, which content proves to be most effective, which sites are linking to it.
2. Link prospecting
It’s a very important element of link building process. First you should start with queries most important for your clients. Then you’ll need to additionally filter the results, deciding, which of them are most useful, and of the highest quality. Once you’ve done it start building the relation with the website owners (bloggers, publishers) by contacting them. Here are some useful tips on link prospecting.
3. Backlink Audit
This is a very important part of link building. Toxic links can be as harmful to your search engine visibility and business to overshadow all backlink building process. Google may decide to penalize your site or even ban it because of toxic links. Sites that used to be considered high quality at a time, may be treated as spammers by new search engine algorithms.
Some of the linking pages may not respond. Some of the links may point at redesigned or removed parts of your site.
It’s also not recommended to over optimize the backlinks net. While auditing your backlinks, go through all the points we’ve mentioned here.
4. Link Reclamation
The final result of the analysis is link reclamation. You may contact the linking site’s owner to change a wrong URL or inform him about his page not responding. In case you decide it’s not possible or simply not worth it, you can disavow a link, using Google’s dedicated tool.
Remember, according to new search engine standards, it’s often better if some sites aren’t linking to yours.
image by mterraza via sxc.hu
Register free beta version now! Get discount on future plans
Incoming links to your site are one of the most common reasons for a site to be penalized or even banned by Google. In such case the first thing you should do is to download a list of links to your site from Google Webmasters Tools. Once you do it, you can prepare a list of toxic links you can disavow in order to bring you search engine traffic back to previous levels.
We’ll walk you through this step by step.
1. Log in Google Webmasters Tools and chose the site you need the file for. You should verify both www and non www addresses (www.webdna.io and webdna.io), since they are different things for Google.
2. Under “Search Traffic” go to “Links to Your Site”.
3. Click “More” under “Who links the most” list.
4. Download “Click “Download more sample links” and chose CSV Format.
Now, when you have the file with links, you can use it to create a “disavow file” – a list of backlinks you want Google to ignore. You can edit the file you have just downloaded, removing some links, that according to you are toxic, and then upload it using Google’s disavow links tool.