How to Do a Basic Backlink Analysis on Your Competitors
If you’re an experienced SEO, what I’mabout to share with you in the next few minutes may seem somewhat basic, but there will betwo follow-up videos with advanced techniques that you’re going to love and I promiseyou this.
By the end of this series, there are two thingsyou’ll be able to do.
The first is to be able to analyze any websiteand uncover potentially thousands of link prospects.
And the second thing is that we’re going tospeed up your link building efficiency using some really, really cool hacks that you maynot be using yet.
So, let’s jump right in.
First, we’ll go to Site Explorer and enterin a domain or URL that you want to analyze.
So, I’ll use the domain, contentmarketinginstitute.
Comfor our example.
Here, you’ll see a top level view of thewebsite you’re analyzing.
And since we’re just focusing on backlinkanalysis and link building throughout this series, we’re just going to talk about thesetwo metrics here.
Backlinks and referring domains.
You can see that Content Marketing Institutehas almost 2 million backlinks with almost 23,000 referring domains.
But you might have noticed that right below,there’s mention of “recent” and “historical.
” These 3 numbers represent our 3 backlink indexes.
The Live Index contains all links that werelive on our last recrawl, which tells you that they’re almost certainly live right now.
Our recent index contains all live links pluslost backlinks that were removed within the past 90 days or so.
So this could mean anything from the websitehaving temporary downtime when we last crawled it or the website no longer existing at all.
Finally, is the historical index.
And these contain the history of all links,dead or alive.
This is the reason why each link index isbigger than the next.
If we scroll down a bit, then you’ll seea few interactive graphs that shows you the dynamics of link acquisition over time, both for the number of referring domains and referring pages.
And there are a few filters you can use here too.
By default, you’ll see the growth over thelast year, but you can narrow this down to the last 30 days, or look at an all time viewto see how each website has done over time.
These graphs are the most useful when youcompare another website to it side by side.
This will reveal the site or URL that’smore effective at acquiring backlinks.
So if I go back to Site Explorer, we can doan apples to apples comparison of another website in the content marketing industry.
I’ll use copyblogger.
Com as our comparison site.
If we look at these side-by-side, you’llnotice that CMI has had consistent year-to-year link growth, while Copyblogger’s link acquisitionhas been a little bit stagnant, especially in the past couple of years.
When you find websites that seem to acquirelinks at a fast pace, these are totally worth deeper analysis, which is exactly what we’llbe doing in the next couple of videos.
In this graph, we’re looking at an overalldomain comparison, but if you compare URLs of two pieces of content on a similar topic,you’ll instantly see which page is more popular with link acquisition.
This is a quick 5 – 10 second analysis you cando before you actually jump into the individual backlinks reports.
So I highly recommend doing this.
Alright, the last graphs on this page thatwe’ll be covering today, are the new and lost referring domains and backlinks graphs.
These graphs show you a non-cumulative viewof a website or a URL’s backlink growth.
The cool thing with this graph is that youcan quickly scan for spikes that will help you identify new link worthy pages that yourcompetitors are creating, and it’s going to help you reverse engineer link building strategiesor campaigns that were implemented over a specific period of time.
I’ll have a really cool example for youof two titans fighting for the keyword “SEO” in the next video.
The last thing that I want to show you inthis basic backlinks analysis is the referring domains report.
If you look to the sidebar, and click on “ReferringDomains”, you’ll see a table that shows you all of the unique linking websites tothis target domain that we’re analyzing, right now.
Now, if the site has a ton of referring domains,manually reviewing it will be near impossible.
So in this case, you’d need to use someof the filters in this report to narrow down the results.
So, the first thing I would do when I hitthis table is to set the link type filter to ‘dofollow’ to find only the domains thatare passing link equity.
All of these columns are sortable, so if wesort by the number of dofollow links in descending order, you’ll notice some websites linkto CMI hundreds of thousands of times.
Normally, when you see a ton of backlinksfrom a single referring domain, it means that they’re sitewide links.
If we click the number of backlinks from informationweek.
Com, you can see all of the pages, some key metrics, and the anchor/backlink that was created.
And right away, we can tell that this is asitewide link without even clicking through to a page since the anchor text and the backlinkURL are all the same.
Finally is this cool search filter.
You can just type in a domain and see if it’slinking to the target website or URL.
So I’ll type in Ahrefs.
Com and you’llsee that we have linked to CMI 11 times.
And if we click on the number of backlinkswe’ve created for them, you can get more details on where the backlinks are coming from andwhere they are pointing.
With a website as popular as Content MarketingInstitute, that has a good number of backlinks and referring domains, it’s tough to geta ton of value here.
But I’ll finish off by showing you how easyit is to filter through small websites using the Referring Domains report.
So I’m going to enter in a very unpopulardomain in Site Explorer, moneyjournal.
Com, ya, it’s mine.
Now, I’ll click on the referringdomains report in the left sidebar.
Then I’ll filter it down to just the dofollow links.
And you can see that there are a few decentlinks in here from some high DR websites which tells us that I’m not blatantly using anyshady link building tactics.
And we can click on this number here besideentrepreneur.
Com, which again, will show me some more details on the backlinks and linking pages.
So, I could even reach out to these peopleto start building a relationship with them, right? Now, I’ll open this one up in a new tab.
Oh… it’s just me… But you get the point.
With smaller websites, you can quickly usethe referring domains report to see whether a website’s link building strategies arelegit and worth replicating, or if you should just move on to your next backlink analysis.
That’s it for part one of our backlink analysisand link building series.
Make sure to hit the thumbs up button andsubscribe to our channel for more actionable videos on SEO and marketing.
If you have any questions, make sure to leavea comment, otherwise, it’s time to move on to part two, where we’ll be taking thisbacklink analysis a step deeper and getting into some actionable insights.