Hope you are doing fine. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a race. And in any kind of race, the best thing you need to do is to learn more about your competitors. Even when you’re running first it’s sometimes good to look back and check the runner-ups. Its all about trying for something innovative, while at the same time learning from your competitors. The most important ingredient which makes up a leader is concerned the links.
Whether you like it or not SEO is still pretty much about links. Good link structure to your website/blog can make up for almost any lack of optimized content and other on-page flaws which we tend to add into our pages on a daily basis. Love It or simply hate it, the best thing you can do about it is embrace the fact and run with it to stay in the race.
In this post, I would discuss some of the tricks that will enable to search deeper into your competitor’s link strategies while granting your access to some restricted areas i.e., their personal rooms, washroom, locker room, dirty laundry and even their meeting rooms where they are planning their link building strategies right at this very moment.
Sounds interesting!! Isn’t it ?
Okay!! Let’s Talk Competitive Link Research
I know we are pretty much familiar by this term these days. Each and every project you plan to work starts off with a competitive link research.
Its all about finding out where your competitors’ links come from is not all that hard. You just go to Yahoo! or Google and type in link:www.your-competitors-website.com to get a list of inbound links to the site.
Yahoo’s results are much better compared to Google in that respect as it tends to give more extensive and accurate data. The problem here is that there’s a limit of 1,000 links per website which is often not enough as the fattest link sources get left behind the limit fence. Here’re some tips to break through to the other side.
Trick 1: Search for Links to Particular Web Pages of a Competing Site
Alongside with link:www.your-competitors-website.com search for
link:www.your-competitors-website.com /products.html or
and so on.
Trick 2: Exclude Internal Links
Its better to examine the internal linking structure of your competition if you want to gain some insight on their navigation and marketing steps. But as we want to find more external links, let’s exclude the internal ones.
You can do this by simply adding -site:site.com operator to your search query.
link:http://www.your-competitors-website.com -site:your-competitors-website.com or
and you’ll get a list of external backlinks only.
There’s a dropdown option in Yahoo! site explorer that does the same. I love that one..
Trick 3: Exclude Links Coming from Certain Domains
The -site: modifier lets you exclude links coming from specific sites. So, whenever you see a large chunk of links coming from the same domain add -site:thisdomain.com modifier to your query and the links from this site will get replaced with new ones.
Isnt that Interesting??
You can add -site: multiple times in one query so that you have something like this one below:
link:http://www.bbc.co.uk -site:bbc.co.uk -site:en.wikipedia.org
Trick 4: Check Links Coming from Certain TLDs
This is a little known trick. The site: modifier actually lets you get a list of links coming from domains with certain TLDs: .com, .org, .edu, .co.uk and so on. Just type in
link:http://www.your-competitors-website.com site:.gov or
and you’ll get a list of .gov sites linking to your rival. I tried it in some of my projects. Works great for me!!
Note: Do this in Yahoo! regular search i.e, http://search.yahoo.com/ , not site explorer
Trick 5: Exclude Links Coming from Certain TLDs
This is an even lesser known trick. You can exclude certain TLDs from the results with the -site:.tld modifier. Usually the biggest chunk of links comes from .com’s so add a -site.com modifier and you’ll get a hell lot of new link data.
Trick 6: Use Different Combinations of the First 5 Tricks
Try link:http://www.your-competitors-website.com /page.html -site:your-competitors-website.com -site:.com
Or link:http://www.your-competitors-website.com site:.org -site:wikipedia.org
Give it a thought and I’m sure you’ll come up with lots of ideas. Feel free to share your findings in the comments.
Trick 7: Use the Above 6 Tricks in Different Search Engines
Don’t limit your searches to Yahoo! and Google, go to AltaVista, Alexa, (Bing doesn’t give you link data, so forget about it) but then there’re Exalead, Excite and tons of regional search engines. Search them, get rid of the the duplicates and you’ll have a detailed report of your competitor’s links to study.
Note: Some search engines have a different set of operators so you’ll need to type domain: instead of link:. You need to check them out first before you try those extensive advanced search.