Should You Research Your Competitors’ Backlinks?

Backlink Analysis

Many aspects go into the ranking factors of Google’s search engine results, and linking domains are among the largest contributors to a website’s authority and trustworthiness.

As such, new website owners often try to get as many high-quality inbound links as possible. One of the methods they utilize while building backlinks is researching their competitors.

But should you research your competitors’ backlinks?

The short answer is yes. Not only should you research your competitors’ websites, but you should also spend a considerable amount of time and/or use a site explorer tool to help you do so effectively.

This guide will show you the benefits of researching your competitors and how you can make the most out of the information you find.

Benefits of Competitor Backlink Analysis

Link analysis is a meticulous and potentially time-consuming process, but it has heaps of benefits:

Find New Link-Building Opportunities

Analyzing your competitors’ backlinks can help you identify new link-building opportunities that you may have overlooked. Examining the websites and pages linking to your competitors allows you to discover potential sources for acquiring valuable backlinks for your own site

Link-Building Opportunities

Such sources can include industry-related blogs, online directories, resource pages, or other authoritative sites within your niche.

In other words, instead of starting from scratch, you can make use of the research done by your competitors and focus your link-building efforts on the most promising prospects.

Improve Your Backlink Profile

Studying your competitors’ backlink profiles can provide valuable insights into how to improve your own backlink strategy and overall SEO.

For starters. you can analyze the types and number of backlinks they have acquired, the anchor text used, and the quality of the linking websites.

When you identify the strengths and weaknesses of their backlink profiles, you can prioritize obtaining high-quality links from authoritative and relevant sources while avoiding spammy or low-value links that could harm your search engine rankings.

This competitive analysis allows you to refine your approach and build a stronger backlink profile that aligns with search engine best practices.

Expand Link-Building Strategies

Another benefit of researching competitors’ backlinks is revealing link-building tactics and strategies that you may not have considered before.

For example, they may be utilizing guest posting opportunities, creating shareable infographics, or partnering with influencers in your industry.

Whichever their approaches are, you can study and try their successful link-building methods. This allows you to expand your own arsenal of techniques and diversify your approach.

Find and Bridge Link Gaps

A little digging into your competitor’s link profile can help you identify referring domains or website categories that are linking to them but not to your site.

Link Gaps

These “link gaps” represent potential opportunities to acquire new backlinks and level the playing field.

Once you pinpoint these gaps, you can develop targeted strategies to pursue those untapped link sources, whether through outreach, content creation, or other tactics.

Bridging these link gaps can help strengthen your overall backlink profile and ensure you maintain a competitive advantage in search engine rankings.

How to Find Your Competitors?

With all that talk about researching your competitors’ backlinks and the benefits of doing so, one question remains unanswered: How to find a competitor’s website?

backlink analytics

Your first step is to identify up to four relevant competitors in your industry and niche.

You can do so manually by looking for a competitor’s site through a Google search. While doing so, consider factors like the types of products/services they offer, their target audience, and the quality of their backlink profiles.

The manual approach is free and can be useful in getting backlink opportunities. However, you’ll take a considerable amount of time while searching through the SERP.

If you’d rather spend your time doing something more productive, SEO tools like SEMrush or Moz can help with this process.

backlink gap

SEMrush is essentially a backlink checker that, upon entering your own website/domain, will show you websites with similar backlink profiles under the “Competitors” tab.

Take your time checking if these sites operate in the same niche and have a decent authority score (a higher score is better).

A domain authority score or domain rating (DR) is a metric established by AHREFS that gives domains a score from 0-100 based on how trustworthy they are.

High-quality backlinks often have a score of 70 or more. 50-60 is acceptable, and going below 40 is considered low quality.

Analyzing the Backlink Gap

Once you’ve selected your competitors, use the Backlink Gap tool. Enter your domain and those of your competitors. This will generate a report showing:

  • “Best” tab: Websites linking to your competitors but not you. These are great link-building opportunities.
  • “Weak” tab: Sites linking to both you and competitors, but more often to them. You can try to strengthen these existing relationships.
  • “Unique” tab: Sites linking to only one domain (yours or a competitor’s). Getting links from these can give you an advantage.

The tool also contains filters that allow you to refine the results by authority score, location, and other criteria. Explore the linking pages to understand the type of content these sites may be interested in.

Initiating Outreach

Finally, from the Backlink Gap report, select promising websites and initiate outreach directly through the tool. This saves the prospects for your link-building campaign and allows you to start contacting them.


Remember, the goal is to find authoritative and relevant sites linking to your competitors that could potentially link to you as well. As such, analyze the gap carefully, and develop strategies to acquire those valuable backlinks.

The Verdict

Researching a competitor’s domain and having a competitive backlink profile are but a fraction of digital marketing. Unless you have a dedicated in-house team, developing the ideal SEO strategy can be frustratingly difficult.

In almost all cases, you’re better off handling the content marketing to a specialized SEO agency like SEOnorth. Our team of experts has a deep understanding of Google’s algorithm and can perform a meticulous backlink audit to identify your direct competitors.

We provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to increase their domain level and provide various strategies on how to find potential backlink opportunities while publishing new content.

Unlike other agencies that claim an all-inclusive service, we specialize only in search engine optimization. By collaborating with us, your search rankings and organic traffic will be taken to the next level.


  • Can you do SEO without backlinks?
Posted in SEO

Published on: 2024-05-07
Updated on: 2024-05-07

Avatar for Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. As an SEO Professional, Isaac has considerable expertise in On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, which gives him a leg up against the competition.