Competitive link research is one of the common yet powerful techniques to understand how your competitors build links and to identify gaps (content/links) that you can take advantage of for your brand.
It is very important to see first the market to understand the competition as well as how responsive bloggers/webmasters to outreach/partnership activities.
For newly established brands, competitive link research would help you become more ready to compete with bigger brands and set straight your approaches and methods from the very start of your link development campaigns.
In this post, I’d like to share other benefits competitive link research could provide for your link development campaigns.
Identify referring link domains
The number of referring link domains of a site could help you gauge the influence of your competitor and how its content assets were perceived by your industry’s community. Given that the higher the number of referring link domains, the higher the authority the site is.
When looking at linking domains of your competitors, it is essential that you identify patterns that helped them achieved their authorities. A few patterns you can consider are:
- Type of websites they get mentions from
- Communities that they were able to participate in
- Authority blogs that they penetrated for content placement
- Profile pages they created for easy but high quality backlinks
These patterns could help you set a link building plan for your brand. You’ll be able to consider easy link opportunities you can easily grab in the first week of the campaign, and plan ahead for content creation that will attract contextual links from relevant blogs, which of course will take time to execute.
Continuous monitoring of backlinks
Backlink monitoring is important for your website to identify blogs/sites that mentioned your site’s pages. Once you have monitored them, you can start emailing these people, thanking them for what they’ve done and provide incentives if you can, to get them attach to your brand and become your brand loyalists.
Building relationships with these people would help you create a small but solid brand community which will lead to future partnerships, and which, will benefit both parties as well.
On the other hand, monitoring the backlinks of your competitors’ domains could ease your work of finding high quality link opportunities that you may not aware of. Instead of regularly checking the link profiles of your competitors, you can easily have a regular of list of their backlinks through link monitoring.
Tips to maximize your link monitoring activity
- Identify news sites that cover the stories of your competitors and think of ways on how you can pitch journalists from those sites.
- Discover blogs that are new in your industry and try to become the first few persons to interact with the owners of those blogs and build new links from their domains (look if those blogs have potential to bring you targeted traffic once they start to grow as brands).
Discover social mentions of your competitors
Social media platforms are where most users normally interact with like-minded people. This is where they normally ask for tips/insights about certain topics and the place where they would want to be engaged by brand owners.
For me, Twitter is by far the most interactive web place that you, as a brand should never miss out for engagement and partnership opportunities.
You will always see several social mentions of brands from users who had been interested to their offerings (products/services) and to their content (their sites’ internal pages).
You can start leveraging this approach for your own brand’s link development campaign.
To get started, you can use Mentions to monitor social mentions of your competitors.
Spend at least 30 minutes of your time to monitor weekly citations of your competitors from their social followers.
Check out the Twitter profiles of those social followers and see if they have their own websites/blogs.
Once you identified those profiles with associated URLs of their domains, you can now start engaging them and do any of the following:
- Offer content pieces to their blogs that haven’t been covered on other industry blogs, to attract more visits to those blogs and potentially bring you referred visits as well.
- Find any resource pages on those websites and identify broken links in those pages. Reach out to site owners and ask if they would want to remove dead links, then suggest your content as a replacement to those broken links.
- Invite bloggers to write guest articles for your blog in exchange for incentives that your brand is able to offer (e.g. monetary incentives or free access to your premium tools).
There are so many other ways you can think of to spark conversations with bloggers in your list. You just need to focus on the value that you can offer to them to get their attention and follow your brand eventually.
Venchito Tampon is the SEO consultant and blogger at DigitalPhilippines.net, a link building blog that provides actionable link building strategies and tips that online marketers can immediately use for their own websites. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.