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Have you ever performed a competitive analysis to assess your competitors’ backlink profile? Among other things, it’s great for determining new opportunities for acquiring links. However, once presented with the wealth of information that comes from the detailed report it can be a bit overwhelming. What are you even looking at? What do you do next with the data provided?  In order to best understand the results of your competitive analysis you should ask yourself these 5 questions as you read through and examine the results.

  1. How many of my competitors have this link? When you run your analysis the links that are shown at the top of your excel sheet will be the ones that a majority of your competitors have. Examine these links first. How many of your competitors have a link on this specific website? If all of your competitors have a link on the same website then it’s probably for a reason. It could be an industry periodical, a highly relevant directory of providers like yourself, or it could be coming from some curated “Top 10 Businesses in This Space In Our Area” list – you’re going to want to be included most likely.  Always look for ways to build links on the high-quality websites that rank the highest on your competitive analysis first.
  2. How was the link obtained and where is it located? Take the time to go to the individual page where your competitor’s links originate on the specified websites. Look at how and where the link appears. For example, many of your competitors may have a link on While placing a link on this website via a blog comment may seem like an easy option, it may not be the most beneficial strategy. If your competitors obtained a link through an article that was published on the website, quickly scan through it and examine what type of post it was. Was it a press release, a guest post, or an advertisement? Knowing how your competitors are obtaining links is just as valuable as knowing where the links are. For example, if a majority of your competitors are gaining links through press releases, then it may be a sign that your business should invest more time in its PR efforts.
  3. Is the website of quality? Many times when I perform a competitor backlink analysis for a client I feel like I’m looking into a crystal ball showing me portents of penalties to come. So often the majority of a competitor’s backlinks come from low-quality domains including spammy article directories and other strange websites. Even if all of your competitors have a link on a low-quality website it does not mean you should seek to obtain this same link. Only build links on websites that will offer value to your brand. Always check the domain authority and do a quick scan to ensure that the site looks clean, is easy to navigate, and appears reputable. Obtaining a backlink to a low-quality website where your competitors are may seem like a good idea at the time, but when Google starts dishing out penalties for these poor quality links, you’ll be glad you passed on the opportunity.
  4. What keywords were used in building the link? Look at words used in the hyperlink for your competitor’s backlinks. Did they use a specific set of keywords, and if so, which ones did they use? Knowing which keywords your competitors are using will help you when conducting your own keyword research. For example, if all of your competitors are using geo-specific keywords then that means that maybe your business should look for ways to rank locally using the same or similar keywords and through building strong regional business directory listings.
  5. Is there a general trend or pattern for where your competitors are building links? Look for patterns in the competitive analysis. Are your competitor’s backlinks varied or do they create any kind of pattern or trend? For instance, if everyone in your space is building links through content curation sites, and you currently don’t, then that strategy might be worth exploring.

So if you’ve run your competitive analysis report and have questions about the results – links, the D&B insights, or otherwise – why not put the experts at to the test and see if they can help you get the most return on the intelligence you’ve just uncovered.