Among zillions of websites, good and bad, old and new, exciting and boring, your target users’ chance to find you online is really tiny. So, how to help people who might be potentially interested in your products and services finally land on your site, read your texts, or buy what you offer?
How to make that happen? The only way you can get to the top-X of Google is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. We’re not speaking about the top-10 right now; SEO is about overall online business survival and visibility. But if your efforts are consistent, you’re sure to get to top-10 and even top-3 of search engine results, outperforming your competitors and attracting your target audience.
There are many SEO techniques for improving your strategy. It’s hard to prioritize one of the many SEO methods as all of them matter much for your business’s success. But today, we’ll talk about backlinks and how smart backlink analytics can boost your SEO outcomes.
What Is a Backlink?
A backlink also referred to as an inbound link, is a link to your website published on an external website. In this way, people who attend that website and have never heard about your resource get an active URL linked to some thematic anchor, able to proceed to your resource to get more information on the subject of their interest.
Let’s consider some examples of how this works. Suppose you are a chef with experience; you want to develop a cooking blog with a monetization potential – selling cooking video-courses to users. So, you can create a promotion strategy for your brand-new website with a handful of followers by publishing free or paid guest posts on famous websites, forums, or online magazines dedicated to food, cooking, and nutrition. While your website is new, attended by less than a dozen new visitors every day, the platforms you choose may have millions of attendees every day. In this way, you receive a great chance to be noticed by new visitors following an external backlink and visiting your website. Many of them can get interested and remain on your website, becoming your loyal customers sometime soon.
How Can Backlink Analytics Help?
Now that you’ve decided to expand your outreach with backlinks, it’s time to choose the sources for your publishing. The first decision may be to Google websites or forums operating in your niche. Still, with the immense number of web resources existing today, you’re likely to spend months on the development of your backlink strategy. Besides, there is no guarantee that the resources you see in the top-10 of Google deliver excellent results for guest posters. They might have got to the top by other means, and you have no time to find that out at the expense of your time and marketing budget.
A more ingenious method of developing your backlink strategy is to look at one of your competitors. Some well-developed, mature websites might have already gone a long way from the start to their current competitive position online. Thus, you can use their gains to follow their path and outperform them by doing the same things, but better.
Using the backlinks of your competitors may be an easy way to get the initial standing online. Once you see what websites refer to your competitors’ web pages, you can contact these platforms to order content there as well. The likelihood of having target users on these websites potentially interested in your resource as well is higher. But to maximize the value of backlink analytics, make sure to follow these pro tips.
1. Identify Your Competitors
No backlink analysis is possible without understanding who your competitors are. Pointing at a couple of websites you know will do no good as it’s not a systemic approach. To get a comprehensive understanding of your niche’s competitor landscape, you need to search for domain-level and page-level competitors first.
The search gets more manageable if you use professional SEO tools at this stage. For instance, ahrefs.com enables a quick and easy search of domain-level competitors. All you need to do is enter your website name in the corresponding tab and search for competing domains. The tool will exhibit the results, sorting them by volume and country, allowing greater customization as well. Ahrefs also shows the number of common keywords your website has with each identified competitor.
The search for page-level competitors is much more labor-intensive as you need to identify a different strategy for every page you want to promote online. Returning to our example of a cooking blog, let’s say, you have composed a star long-read on the subject of top cooking techniques of Italian chefs and want to attract target visitors with its help. In this case, you will need to define a set of target keywords you’ll use for page promotion, search for competitors who have already published content on this subject, and looking at the websites on which they have backlinks sending unique visitors to their page. By the way, this can also be done with Ahrefs – use the Keyword Explorer feature for this.
2. Choose a Tool for Backlink Analysis
Though we’ve already spoken a bit about Ahrefs, it’s not the only tool for backlink analytics you can use. Other tools are also quite useful, equipped with different sets of features you can try in backlink strategy development.
SEMRush is a super-popular tool among SEO specialists. The system crawls over 17 billion URLs every day to inform you about your competitors’ link-building progress, report new backlinks, and indicate which backlinks got deleted. The comprehensive audit works both for your domain and for target competitors you watch, enabling you to stay ahead of the competition.
MarketMuse is an app reaping the benefits of AI content intelligence to deliver precise, robust analytical results. It powers content research, creation, and optimization by detecting high-opportunity pages with your business interest topics. This software solution also enables the quick creation of content briefs for writers so that you’re 100% sure the published content complies with your backlink strategy goals.
Raven Tools delivers white-label SEO reports and helps you build detailed competitor profiles in terms of their ad copy and keyword choices. Built-in features simplify backlinking and enable user-friendly rank tracking for your SEO needs. You can get a complete report of your competitor’s backlink use by only entering their domain. Analytical features also help create a list of potentially toxic links to avoid.
3. Use Google to Spy on Your Competitors’ Guest Posts
It may sound too simple to be true, but it still is – with Advanced Search inquiries in Google, you can quickly locate your competitors’ guest posts. But before this strategy works, you need to do some due diligence. First, make sure to identify the names of journalists writing guest posts for your competitors.
For example, you skim through some guest posts and home posts of a Japanese cooking website and see that Kevin Hall writes most texts there. Use this name + “guest post,” exclude your competitor’s home website from the search, and here you go with the guest posts’ links!
Another brilliant Google search formula is to use the author’s name: “author.” Many websites include the author’s name into a URL, so if you’re lucky, you can get some valuable findings here as well.
4. Find Hubs Most of Your Competitors Like
Getting back to the Ahrefs backlink analytics tool, you can reap maximum advantage from exploring its Link Intersect Tool. This feature allows you to collect super-valuable data about where MOST of your competitors publish their guest posts. Besides giving you a clear direction in the choice of guest posting platforms, this search will reveal the guest posting’s suggested value. If several well-established websites with considerable SEO budgets choose one platform, again and again, there must be something of value in it.
5. Make Friends with Influencers in Your Industry
Last but not least is the tip about launching an influencer campaign for your new business online. It’s a dream of every startup owner to have their business talked about all over the Web. But we have good news – you can make it happen if you choose influencers correctly and approach them smartly. Of course, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which, let’s say, Gordon Ramsay would tell about your new website in one of his new YouTube videos. But you start with smaller-scale influencers, offering them some unique value and establishing mutually interesting partnerships. Little by little, your outreach is bound to grow.
Want More Backlinks? Create Gorgeous Content!
Even after applying all the tips mentioned above, you can’t rest assured that your backlink strategy is unbeatable. At the end of the day, there are hundreds of new competitors bombarding every niche of online business every day, and getting to the top (as well as staying there) is a process, not an outcome. To beat the competitors and remain popular among your target audience, make sure to deliver exceptional content day by day. The only bulletproof strategy to be the best is to do things better than others. So, if you choose to publish on the same websites where your competitors did, always write better content.
About the Author
Jilian Woods is a freelance journalist and a contributing writer with more than 4 years of writing experience. Being a team member of the essay writer service at Grademiners, she sees her purpose in producing and sharing relevant content with people who are willing to expand their knowledge base and learn something new.