Your SEO strategy is segmented into optimizing onsite SEO and off-site SEO. In off-site SEO, you're trying to earn backlinks for your site. But on the internet, you're always competing with someone else for your search engine ranking. What you need to do is a proper competitive backlink analysis. This video covers how to do a proper backlink analysis, what link analysis tools you can use, and how to get ahead of your competitors and win the SEO game.


Hello, and welcome to our video on competitor link analysis. I'm Chad Hill, and I have Adam Stetzer with me.

Good afternoon, Chad. When people jump into SEO, they start researching it. They do the typical onsite SEO makeover. But they pretty quickly get into off-site SEO, where they need to earn backlinks to their site. And they pretty much get obsessed with gaining backlinks. Often, as fast as possible, which is not a great move. Particularly with the updates this year. So I want to get into the subtleties today of building your backlink analysis profile the right way. And I think the foundation there is probably talking a little bit about backlink tools, looking at competitors, the competitive backlink analysis you mentioned. And other kinds of intelligence that can tell you the right links to get, and go for quality over quantity.

We talked many times about how there are just a lot of different ways to broadcast, or get your message out. All with the idea of creating great, useful information that, in turn, will attract. Or you'll earn links back to your website. But today we want to talk about another side of that, which is that when you're in a sort of a head-to-head competition with another company out there. It sometimes is important to actually look at where their links are coming from. And especially where their powerful links are coming from. So there are a number of link analysis tools, as you mentioned, Adam, that you can use to do that.

One that we use often is Open Site Explorer, which is a link analysis tool product. And what that allows you to do, is to essentially plug in a competitor's URL. And then get a list of their top inbound links, that will show you things like domain authority of where those links are coming from. If you do that with your website and a couple other websites, and you mash those up in an Excel spreadsheet, you can pretty quickly find out where do you have links that they don't. Or where do they have links that you don't. And then start to do a competitive backlink analysis to see if there might be opportunities for you to earn a competitive backlink on that site.

Right, and let's help put this in perspective. Because I know a lot of people, when they start to think about competitive backlink analysis, earning backlinks to their site. They get a little overwhelmed, because they think the numbers are going to be so large. And this is one of the reasons we like to focus in on root domain links rather than total links. Root domain links only counting a link from a unique domain once, even if you might have 10 different links or be in a footer 1,000 times. Because it really boils it down when you look at the average site. The number of root domain links might be 50 to 60, or even under 100.

And so when you look at two sites, you really can start to overlap. Oh, I have these 100 links, and you have these 87 root domain links. Let's see where the overlap is, and let's start talking about strategically trying to earn links from the same place that your competitor did. So I guess my question from your first intro there, Chad, is that what is the benefit of doing that? Why is that better than seeking new places to earn backlinks?

Well if you think about it from a root domain perspective-- and let's just say each person has 100 root domains-- what you want to do is, you want to ideally find places through a competitive link analysis to see where your competitor has a good link that's helping their ranking. And if you get your link on that same website, then you kind of cancel each other out. And there's probably some technicalities about how long their link has been there, and a few other things. But on average, if you can find a way to earn a competitive backlink on that website as well, then you're going to cancel out. So now what happens is-- basically the links you have that they don't are going to count more. And ultimately, that should help improve your ability to rank in the search engine.

I love this idea of link neutralization, because it really helps you understand the mathematics that are probably going on at Google. And if they were getting link juice from this domain, you can too. Some people will probably push back from that a bit though. Particularly with the warnings coming from Matt Cutts saying, come on. We're not supposed to be linked to schemers here. So I think another way to look at it would be, well, from a PR angle, they're getting some play there. And they've got exposure.

So if you saw a competitor putting up a billboard along the highway, you'd probably be wanting to put your billboard right next to them-- or down a little bit, closer to the exit. They want a radio spot at a popular station, you probably want to do the same thing. So I think you can look at link neutralization in the same way there, that there's a place that they are that they've been recognized. They've done some content marketing, they've earned that link. You should be able to as well, to be competitive.

Yeah, exactly. That's a great point. And sometimes you-- depending on how you're looking at things, you can miss the forest for the trees there. But definitely the idea is that-- just like what you said in a traditional advertising, if you believe that a customer or competitor is reaching a good audience through their marketing channel, you might want to try to match that. And have your own points of differentiation.

But you're absolutely right. This is ultimately about finding great places to put your information, your content, earning links back. And the competitive analysis, and the link neutralization is just another way of identifying new ways to spread your word.