Finding Link Building Opportunities with Competitive Link Research


Finding Link Building Opportunities with Competitive Link Research

Link build­ing can be tough at the best of times, so if there are any ways to shorten this process and find some quick wins then I’m always happy to try them out. I thought I would share some meth­ods that can be used to find rel­e­vant link tar­gets for your web­site. This involves some­thing that any link builder should be aware of: com­pet­i­tive link research.

Com­pet­i­tive link research essen­tially involves look­ing at the link pro­files of your com­peti­tors in order to find oppor­tu­ni­ties for you to build links. In a nut­shell, you’re look­ing at where your com­peti­tors have built links and then tar­get­ing these sites your­self whilst avoid­ing all the hard work that went into acquir­ing them. This could be through find­ing blogs  rel­e­vant to your niche that are tak­ing on guest posts, iden­ti­fy­ing higher qual­ity, rel­e­vant direc­to­ries to sub­mit your site to or by dis­cov­er­ing some really orig­i­nal, unique link build­ing ideas.

Analysing Your Com­peti­tors’ Back Links

There are a num­ber of tools that you can use to scout out the links that are point­ing to your com­peti­tors’ web­sites, but I am going to focus on Majes­tic SEO’s, Site Explorer tool and SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer tool. Both of these tools need to be paid for in order to get the best out of them but they will def­i­nitely prove their worth over time.

Majes­tic SEO

Majes­tic SEO has to be my favourite link analy­sis tool and it has helped me to both iden­tify new oppor­tu­ni­ties for links as well as find­ing poten­tial issues with links com­ing into my sites. I have taken a snap­shot of the links to the Web Design Galway web­site that I have been work­ing on through Majes­tic SEO’s Site Explorer, which we can look at in a bit more detail.

Majestic SEO Links

The first thing I always do is down­load this list to a .csv file so that I can fil­ter through the list of URLs that are link­ing back to the Wow Inter­net web­site. What I’m look­ing for is some sites that are bring­ing in par­tic­u­larly pow­er­ful links and ways in which I could pos­si­bly take advan­tage of this.

Remove NoFollows

Once the .csv file has been down­loaded I will need to fil­ter through a few parts of the results. Firstly, I’ll hide all of the links that have been flagged as deleted and then also hide the nofol­low links so that I am only focus­ing on links that are pass­ing PageR­ank through to the web­site. If I then fil­ter the SourceCita­tion­Flow (this is a met­ric used show the qual­ity of the link­ing URL) col­umn in descend­ing order, I can see the higher qual­ity links at the top of the list.

Top Links for Wow Internet

Instantly I can see some poten­tial link­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that com­peti­tors of Wow Inter­net could take advan­tage of. The top link is from a blog arti­cle on the SEO­moz web­site and then the next is from the pro­file link on my SEO­moz account that points back to the Wow Inter­net website.

A guest post on the SEO­moz blog can pro­vide a web­site within my indus­try with one of the most valu­able links pos­si­ble. Now this is old news to many of you within the online mar­ket­ing indus­try but when you look at the sec­ond link (the pro­file link on my SEO­moz account) you will see that the ‘nofol­low’ has been removed from the link. The rea­son for this is that I have over 200 ‘Moz­Points’ on my account, which I gained by sim­ply answer­ing ques­tions on the forum and com­ment­ing on the blogs, etc. This could be a quick win toward your link build­ing if you are already pay­ing for your SEO­moz sub­scrip­tion. You will find that there are many instances of this in other niches among high pro­file com­mu­nity sites.

The third link is from a tes­ti­mo­nial that I wrote on the Word­Stream web­site after using their prod­uct. This rep­re­sents one of the best links going back to the Wow Inter­net web­site and can be a great strat­egy toward devel­op­ing links to any web­site. At the end of the day, every­one wants to good PR for their busi­ness. Just from a quick cou­ple of min­utes of scan­ning through the link­ing pro­file of the site it is clear to see that there are many oppor­tu­ni­ties that can arise from car­ry­ing this research out.

Open Site Explorer

For those of you who pre­fer SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer then you are able to do a sim­i­lar task. If I take a look at a com­peti­tor of the Wow Inter­net web­site then I can see this same type of analy­sis from a dif­fer­ent point of view.

Open Site Explorer Filters

Open Site Explorer has some handy fil­ter­ing options that mean you don’t always need to down­load to a .csv to get the best from the results; how­ever, I would rec­om­mend doing so. Through the fil­ter­ing options within OSE I’m able to drill down on only fol­lowed links from exter­nal sites and it’s also pos­si­ble to group the links by domain, which is a par­tic­u­larly handy option. We can then sort the results by domain/page author­ity to see the high­est qual­ity links going to the site.

Open Site Explorer

Tak­ing an instant look at some of the links that this web­site has, I have noticed that the top result goes to an open source SEO tool project where you can donate money toward the project and receive a list­ing on the ‘dona­tions’ page. This page has a page author­ity of 63 and a domain author­ity of 62 so it could be a quick and valu­able link prospect that would only need me to donate a bit of cash toward a good project. Win!

Another link that I have noticed is an SEO/web design-specific online direc­tory that I could add the Wow Inter­net web­site to in order to get an extra back link from a related web­site. Online direc­to­ries shouldn’t be relied on for links, but if they are niche rel­e­vant then they can cer­tainly be quite helpful.

What You Should Be Look­ing For

Hav­ing access to all of this data is invalu­able toward build­ing an effec­tive link build­ing cam­paign, like if we are try to build links for Web Designers Ireland. It allows you to under­stand what your com­peti­tors are doing and gain some quick insights into how to build some extra links. Hav­ing said this, just because your com­peti­tors are flood­ing blogs with spammy com­ments, doesn’t mean you should be doing it as well. Try to look for guest blog­ging oppor­tu­ni­ties by find­ing links that your com­peti­tors have gained by doing all the ini­tial out­reach ground­work and you’re sure to reap the rewards. Also, try and look for some of the more orig­i­nal ideas for back links, such as the Word­Stream review that the Wow Inter­net site had and the dona­tion page link that one of the com­peti­tors had. This is where you will find some real gold.

Also, keep in mind that your com­peti­tors may well be doing the same as you so keep ahead of the game and always be on the look­out for orig­i­nal link build­ing ideas. On top of this, try to focus on build­ing links that are hard to repli­cate by build­ing social com­mu­ni­ties or tak­ing advan­tage of offline rela­tion­ships. Either way, always keep an eye on your competition!

Rebranding Joey Barton

There is something slightly amiss with the shift in Joey Barton’s personality  in the eyes of both the media and the  general public.

Barton’s perception has gone from that of an irrational thug to, in the words of the twittersphere:

“An intelligent, thoughtful young man more than most footballers on here (Twitter).”

At this moment in time, comments of this ilk about Barton are not difficult to find. This seems odd, especially when you consider this brief overview of Barton’s disciplinary record and his once infamous bad boy image.

Some choice moments from Barton’s past have involved:

  • Stubbing a lit cigar out in a youth player’s eye at the MCFC Christmas party
  • Being sent home from a tour of Thailand for assaulting a 15 year old Everton supporter
  • Exposing his backside to Everton fans following an injury time equaliser
  • Being fined for assaulting teammate Ousmane Dabo during training
  • Serving 77 days in prison for assaulting a man outside McDonald’s at five in the morning

Now read two of Barton’s most recent tweets:

And this:

Without being flippant, Barton’s activity on Twitter and his previous reputation simply don’t add up. It is bizarre to imagine the person retweeting quotes from a 19th century German philosopher, is the same involved in this vicious attack on the streets of Liverpool.

Immediately then, it would appear fair to argue one of three things:

(1) For years, Joey Barton has being a misunderstood and somewhat tormented genius

(2) Barton has matured into a responsible, level-headed professional

(3) Joey Barton has enlisted professionals to help rebuild an almost ruined reputation

If we are to assume the latter, then it would be interesting to observe how they have pulled off this coup in shaping public opinion.

And, given this, it is interesting to speculate on how much autonomy they have over Barton in his rebranding.

It seems there have been three key points in the campaign; the growing of his moustasche, his sudden affinity with British popular music and his civility on the social media platform Twitter.

The Moustache

The earliest point public opinion on Barton began to shift was tash-gate, which he began sporting post-Newcastle’s exile from the Premier League.

The moustache cast Barton in a mischievous, scamp-like light; a far cry from the cigar-wielding hot-head of years gone bye. It demontrated Barton had matured and was perhaps was no longer prone to going loco on an opponent/a teammate/a member of the public at any given moment.

The tash could only go some way to rebranding Barton, who still courted controversy by punching Mortem Ganmst Petersen and allegedly directing homophobic remarks at Fernando Torres.


The genius in the campaign may be the way Barton has aligned himself with icons of popular music. Barton, or the powers-that-be, have been all too aware of the way we project ourselves through popular culture and in particular, icons of popular music.

Prior to this year it is fair to say that many would not have had Barton down as a card-carrying Morrisey fan, nor a bastion of underground popular music.

His affinity for The Smiths itself seems a carefully selected choice. Morrissey has long been the poster-boy of those who perceive themselves to be alienated intellectuals. One could understand why Joseph may want to align himself with this image.


All of Barton’s day-to-day Twitter activity is used to reinforce the repositioning of his image and contribute significantly to his overall rebranding.

From the use of his full name (Joseph Barton), to the quasi-patriotic Smiths lyric in place of his Bio.

More interesting than this though, is how throughout the current turmoil surrounding the Magpies, the once irrational thug has become a pillar of diplomacy, as well as oddly philosophical.

Forgive me then for being suspicious that there may being underhand tactics being employed in the Barton camp.

Everything about Barton at the minute is just a little bit too perfect.

Regardless of whether there are PR consultants pulling the strings, one has to acknowledge a shrewdness on Barton’s part to recognise his old self wasn’t making any friends and was detrimenting his career.

At best, his change in image could we attributed to him trying to engineer a move to a top four club. At worst it has gone some way to make him somewhat more palatable to the general public.

*Disclaimer* This post is essentially, merely speculation. In no way do I want to state as fact that Barton has had his reputation managed professionally, nor am I saying he does not have the right to.