Have you ever wondered why your rankings suddenly drop? Everyone is scurrying over to Google News trying to figure out if it is an update, but usually, it is something completely unrelated. We learned this first-hand. Recently, we had a drop on one of our pages for a “magento SEO” related keyword phrase. We said, what gives? Why did this page just randomly drop, while the rest remained steady, or even increased? Well, we figured it out eventually. We had lost an important link to that page. We’ve said it before, and we will say it again – all links are not equal. In this case, the link that we lost was a good do-follow link and was a big part of the increases that we had gained for that keyword phrase over the course of a couple years. When this happened, we realized monitoring your backlinks and your competitor’s backlinks are very important. Here is why:
1. Make Sure You Keep Your Value
First and foremost, you want to maintain your SEO value, and losing your hard earned backlinks can be detrimental. I am not saying that you need to constantly monitor all 10,000 links in your Google Webmaster tools. You just want to make sure that you monitor all of your high-quality links with do-follow authority to your key pages. After all, this is what brings in the goods, aka search traffic.
So, how do you find these good links? Well, first you need to record all good links that you have earned from editorial content or other tactics you have used. Second, you can monitor backlinks for your links and sort them based on the criteria you use. For instance, you can sort by the “spam filter” and use the good ones with a good spam score.
Some of this links may not be as good, as every system might not be perfect, but it gives you a good idea of what links are your best ones based on the criteria. You can also look at the external links (column “ext”) and social media metrics (“social”). Generally, the more social links, less external links, and good domain authority – the better the link.
Once you have your list, you can import it into Monitor Backlinks and get updates when a link disappears. Sometimes, you might find that you get a notification that a link has disappeared, but it really hasn’t. Occasionally it happens, but it is better to be aware. You want to be on top of your links like white on rice and make sure that nothing happens to them. If a link disappears, here are the steps that you need to take in order to not lose value:
- Reach out to the webmaster and try to figure out what happened – either with your link or the URL where your link was. Generally, no one strips a link and the article was just deleted. Try to get the article or link reinstated on the website. This is normally the easiest way.
- If they do not answer or don’t do anything, try to get a similar link on a similar site with the same article. If it was a DA 40 website that was talking about social media, then you want to find another similar social media site and get the same link with the same anchor text to the same page.
- If it is a resource, you can try to find another resource similar to it. Since it has gone, there might be new opportunities that you may not have ever known.
- If it is a very unique placement, possibly a white hat link that popped out of nowhere, you need to focus your efforts, in a hurry, on this page. I like running some social ads to the page in order to give it some social signals, but you can also interlink to it form some of your higher authority inter pages. Lastly, you can also focus some of your like efforts on that page to regain some of the loss value that you occurred.
2. Monitor Your Competitors
One thing that is extremely underrated is monitoring your competitors. Generally, we reverse engineer our competitors in the first month of an SEO service, but we generally do not do ongoing monitoring. Why? Well, for one it is extremely time-consuming and might not be the best use of resources for an agency billing out $150 an hour. However, if you have an internal team, are an SEO professional, or are an agency with a smaller hourly rate, then monitoring your competitors regularly is a great strategy. We aren’t going to lie about it – it is time-consuming, but it can be very well worth it.
First, you just put your competitors into Monitor Backlinks. I put ROI Revolution & CPC Strategy in there just because I like their content ☺. I wouldn’t really say they are competitors if they are reading this.
Now, we can set up email alerts when they get new links (after our initial reverse engineer) and reverse engineer them on the fly. How do you do that? Well, whenever you see a new link, you can try to get something similar (like above) or try to get the same one. Say they are running a great campaign, but all of their links are no-follow. You can try to set similar niches with similar articles but look for websites that allow do-follow links. Or you can get no-follow links as well. Either way, you want to replicate their best campaigns. If they are using GIFs in their content, then put in videos in yours. Just do whatever you can to blow their content out of the water.
If you are like me and use no-follow links for more thought leadership and want the juicy do-follow links, then click the “send email when the competitors has no follow links.”
From there, it requires you to be intuitive and use your SEO skills to get the same links as them. If you are wondering how to get links, check out our other post on unique white hat link building or check out our SEO guide with zillions of different link building tactics.