5 Ways to Steal Your Competitors’ Backlinks (and Traffic)
Google has stated again and again that backlinks are [one of] the most important ranking factors it uses to rank web pages on its search engine. That's why backlinks are important, and that's why you need them… a lot.Now when looking to build backlinks, you can decide to conduct your own unique link building campaign, run a strategy that's been proven to get results, or… you can decide to just “steal” your competitors’ backlinks, which brings us to today's topic.First off, “stealing your competitors’ backlinks” is no illegal activity. In short, all the strategies we'll share with you today are legal ways of building backlinks.To build backlinks, you'll first need to be able to identify them. Without identifying your competitors’ backlinks, you won't be able to take them. Thankfully, this is where software like Ahrefs comes in extremely handy.For the record, Ahrefs is a platform that allows you to audit and explore your competitor’s SEO strategy in areas like keywords, backlinks, and content. It is a pretty handy tool powered by seriously big data and trusted by top SEOs around the world.
So if you're ready to go “rob” your competitors of their backlinks and use the loot to rank high and rake in some extra income, then here are the strategies:
1. SEIZE AND REPURPOSE YOUR COMPETITORS’ BROKEN LINKS
Most definitely, your competitors have dead links pointing to their sites. Say the page that was linked to no longer exists or the URL got changed. Your tactic is now to identify those type of links and then plunder them for yourself.How? Simply find broken pages with a ton of links in your niche and replicate the content (if you don’t have similar content on your site already). Then reach out and let the site owner know they got themselves a broken link and present your own content.The result? Link successfully stolen!So how do you find competitors’ broken links? A good place to start is to go to our freemium Broken Link Checker. It's a tool that lets you find broken links on any website (yours or your competitors’) by simply entering the URL.
Ahrefs also offer a similarly great broken link finder. On there, go to Site Explorer, enter a competitor's domain, go to Pages, select “Best by Links” and add a 404 filter.
The “404 filter” is the real deal here. It'll let you see the most linked‐to broken pages on the site. A click on the number of referring domains will show you which websites link to these broken pages.
2. OUTSMART YOUR PAGE‐LEVEL COMPETITORS
When it comes to online competition, you have two set of competitors: domain-level and page-level competitors.Domain-level competitors are those whose WHOLE website compete with you in the SERPs (search engine results pages). They have a website very similar to your own, are likely publishing content on the same topic as you, and might even be offering the same type of product or service as you. Page-level competitors are those who have similar web pages as there are on your website. It could be content covering the same subject and may be similar in length and otherwise.Usually, beating your page-level competitors to the top of search engine results pages is easier than doing same to domain-level competitors.One strategy for getting ahead of page-level competitors — in terms of looting their backlinks, ranking higher, and taking the traffic — is to apply what is called the “Skyscraper Technique.”How does it work? It's pretty easy.
Step #1: Find your competitor’s biggest, most linked‐to content piece
Step #2: Create something better (or improve on an existing content of the same topic already sitting on your site)
Step #3: Steal their links by reaching out to sites that linked to the competitor's content and explaining how your content is better (implying that it is much more deserving of their link).
But hey, your content must actually be better though, otherwise don’t even bother reaching out.
To find your competitor’s most popular content with Ahrefs, go to Site Explorer >> enter a domain‐level competitor >> Pages >> Best by links.
3. WRITE GUEST POSTS FOR THE SAME SITES AS YOUR COMPETITORS
With guest blogging being one of the simplest and most effective ways to build high‐quality backlinks, it's highly likely that your competitors are using this strategy.To steal their backlinks and traffic gotten through guest blogging, what you'll simply have to do is find their guest posts and then write for the same sites they've written for. The idea is that if your competitor has already had a guest post accepted on a particular site, then there is a good chance you can get published there, too.How can you find competitors’ guest posts?Google search is probably the best place to start. To heighten your chances of finding a competitor's guest posts, use advanced search queries like “[author name] guest post"You can also try entering the competitor's URL into our Backlink Competitors Checker tool to find sites that they got links from through guest blogging.
Another effective method is to use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer. Just like Google, this tool has a bunch of advanced search operators and can even show you posts written by a certain author. Simply add the appropriate filters when running your search.
4. GET LINKS FROM SITES THAT LINK TO MORE THAN ONE COMPETITOR
Here's the trick:
If a site is linking to more than one of your competitors, it means you can more easily replicate a link from the same site for yourself.Whether it's a blog, forum, news site, industry‐specific portal, social community, industry-specific directory, these are all online places where your potential customers are likely hanging out at. It only makes sense to get links from these places.How to find sites that link to more than one competitor? Ahrefs’ Link Intersect Tool is great for this. Simply go to the Link Intersect tool >> enter all your domain‐level competitors >> select “all of the below targets” >> Show link opportunities.
You can also widen the search further by running the search with the Link Intersect Tool set to show sites linking to *any* of the domains.
To do this, go to Tools » Link Intersect >> Enter domains >> Set to “any of the below targets” >> Show link opportunities.
This time, you'll get a lot more results, sorted by the number of intersects.
5. TRACK AND TAKE YOUR COMPETITORS’ NEW LINKING OPPORTUNITIES
If you want to be stealing competitors’ backlinks, you need to know when they are getting new links and from where. To keep up with the competition, you should try to replicate their new links so that you're sure they aren't gaining any edge over you.Again, if a website links out to your competitor, they're more likely to link out to you, too.How to track new links? Our Backlink Checker can help. It allows you to find your competitors’ most valuable backlinks and examine their backlink profile to spot patterns and possible link building opportunities.You can also set up alerts using tools like Google Alerts or even Ahrefs Alerts.On Ahrefs in particular, go to Alerts >> Backlinks >> Add Alert. On there, add the URL that you want to be getting alerts for.
To avoid getting thousands of alerts you won't be able to handle (pretty common if you're tracking a popular website that gets thousands of backlinks every week), we recommend tracking only the most relevant pages on the website.As soon as you receive alerts for a new link, reach out to the linking website and talk them into linking to your content (which has to be better than the content of your competitor). Try reaching out ASAP after getting an alert as it is easier for a publisher to modify newly‐published content.
With this strategy, you will have an almost endless list of link building opportunities delivered straight to your inbox at regular intervals.
Although we use the term “steal” on this post, these strategies are all actually legitimate and can in fact be effective tactics for improving your online business’ backlink profile.Using these five strategies we've covered here, you'll be able to generate umpteen relevant links while improving your rankings and growing your business. Remember, the results come only by taking action; so don't just read and then do nothing!If you need help with well-built backlink analysis tools to give you a comprehensive inside view of your link profile or that of your competitors, you can go to the Backlink Tools section of our SEO Tools page. On there, you'll find Backlink Checker, Backlink Maker, Backlink Competitor Tracker, and numerous others.You can also join the conversation on our Facebook page and share your thoughts and experiences.