This is my third post on competitive research here at SEJ; so if you missed the first two, check them out:
Today I will be sharing a quick practical guide to exploring your competitor’s link building techniques. This research should be both helpful for your overall competitive research and for defining your first-stage SEO techniques.
1. Exploring your competitor’s niche link building strategy.
Search Yahoo: [linkdomain:site.com keyword]
Using SEOquake plugin described in the previous post you can also sort the results to find most powerful pages linking to your competitor based on their age, backlink data and PR.
2. Evaluating your competitors’ deep linking strategy.
Search Yahoo: [linkdomain:site.com -site:site.com -link:http://site.com -link:http://www.site.com]
To filter niche related deep backlinks add your keyword to the query: [linkdomain:site.com -site:site.com -link:http://site.com -link:http://www.site.com keyword]
Again, playing with SEOquake extension, you can also sort the results to find most powerful resources linking to your competitors’ inner pages.
3. Looking for your competitor’s targeted anchor text.
This handy “link diagnosis” tool will provide you with the comprehensive information on your competitor’s anchor text usage:
You can choose most popular anchor text (sort by ‘count’) and see all the pages locating the link plus some helpful information for each of them (PR, link type, number of outbound links). It is also wise to check and compare most common anchor text and actual queries your competitor managed to rank for.
What is more you can sort by ‘link type’ and see only ‘dofollow’ (don’t like this word) backlinks.
This type of analysis with each of your competitors’ sites will provide you with sufficient information for a start. An advanced analysis may also include your competitor’s brand penetration and saturation, audience and overall website growth rate analysis. For more inspiration, visit Rand Fishkin’s post on competitive brand analysis.