Michael Schwartz: “How do I analyze my competition on the web?”
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Hi, my name is Michael Schwartz, and I am a link builder here at Vertical Measures. Today I’m going to answer a question we get quite often, and it’s this: How do I analyze my competition on the web?
My favorite tool for competitor backlink analysis is Open Site Explorer. Open Site Explorer is an SEOmoz tool that provides a list of all the websites that link to the site at hand. It also offers the PA and DA, the number of linking root domains, and the number of total links for the site itself, so you can kind of see where in the landscape of the web that site fits in. It also offers important information such as the DA and PA as well the linking anchor text for the links to that site as well.
Now, I’m going to talk about how to use Open Site Explorer in your link building efforts. First you want to choose sites to analyze that are at the top of the search engine rankings so that you can get the most choice links available. Essentially, you’re going to be looking at the most powerful backlinks that these sites have to identify opportunities for your own sites.
Have they received great links from the national media or even a nice set of government links? What about some solid EDU sites? Essentially, you want to see what’s worked for them to see if similar ideas may work for you. You can also really see what’s working in a particular niche through this strategy.
Next I’m going to talk about anchor text. You can see the amount of times a competitor is linked to with a certain anchor text through Open Site Explorer. If you find a competitor that has purely natural anchor texts, you’re probably going to want to do that as well. However, if you see a competitor with an overabundance of clearly gamed, unnatural anchor texts, you can know that they probably won’t be at the top of the SERPs for too much longer.
You can also find alternative keywords to go after, because if a competitor gets a lot of anchor texts for a particular keyword you haven’t considered, it might be something you want to go after as well.
In all, you want to use competitor backlink analysis as a guide for all your on-page and off-page SEO efforts. Remember this, if it worked for your competitor, it will likely work for you as well.