In this video, I’m going to show you how
to do a basic backlink analysis on your competitors’
What’s up guys.
Sam Oh here with Ahrefs.
So today’s video is about analyzing your
competitors’ websites and webpages to uncover
actionable link building opportunities for
your own site.
If you’re an experienced SEO, what I’m
about to share with you in the next few minutes
may seem somewhat basic, but there will be
two follow-up videos with advanced techniques
that you’re going to love and I promise
By the end of this series, there are two things
you’ll be able to do.
The first is to be able to analyze any website
and uncover potentially thousands of link
And the second thing is that we’re going to
speed up your link building efficiency using
some really, really cool hacks that you may
not be using yet.
So, let’s jump right in.
First, we’ll go to Site Explorer and enter
in a domain or URL that you want to analyze.
So, I’ll use the domain, contentmarketinginstitute.com
for our example.
Here, you’ll see a top level view of the
website you’re analyzing.
And since we’re just focusing on backlink
analysis and link building throughout this
series, we’re just going to talk about these
two metrics here.
Backlinks and referring domains.
You can see that Content Marketing Institute
has almost 2 million backlinks with almost
23,000 referring domains.
But you might have noticed that right below,
there’s mention of “recent” and “historical.”
These 3 numbers represent our 3 backlink indexes.
The Live Index contains all links that were
live on our last recrawl, which tells you
that they’re almost certainly live right now.
Our recent index contains all live links plus
lost backlinks that were removed within the
past 90 days or so.
So this could mean anything from the website
having temporary downtime when we last crawled
it or the website no longer existing at all.
Finally, is the historical index.
And these contain the history of all links,
dead or alive.
This is the reason why each link index is
bigger than the next.
If we scroll down a bit, then you’ll see
a few interactive graphs that shows you the
dynamics of link acquisition over time, both for the number of referring domains and referring pages.
And there are a few filters you can use here too.
By default, you’ll see the growth over the
last year, but you can narrow this down to
the last 30 days, or look at an all time view
to see how each website has done over time.
These graphs are the most useful when you
compare another website to it side by side.
This will reveal the site or URL that’s
more effective at acquiring backlinks.
So if I go back to Site Explorer, we can do
an apples to apples comparison of another
website in the content marketing industry.
I’ll use copyblogger.com as our comparison site.
If we look at these side-by-side, you’ll
notice that CMI has had consistent year-to-year
link growth, while Copyblogger’s link acquisition
has been a little bit stagnant, especially
in the past couple of years.
When you find websites that seem to acquire
links at a fast pace, these are totally worth
deeper analysis, which is exactly what we’ll
be doing in the next couple of videos.
In this graph, we’re looking at an overall
domain comparison, but if you compare URLs
of two pieces of content on a similar topic,
you’ll instantly see which page is more
popular with link acquisition.
This is a quick 5 – 10 second analysis you can
do before you actually jump into the individual
backlinks reports. So I highly recommend doing this.
Alright, the last graphs on this page that
we’ll be covering today, are the new and
lost referring domains and backlinks graphs.
These graphs show you a non-cumulative view
of a website or a URL’s backlink growth.
The cool thing with this graph is that you
can quickly scan for spikes that will help
you identify new link worthy pages that your
competitors are creating, and it’s going to
help you reverse engineer link building strategies
or campaigns that were implemented over a
specific period of time.
I’ll have a really cool example for you
of two titans fighting for the keyword “SEO”
in the next video.
The last thing that I want to show you in
this basic backlinks analysis is the referring
If you look to the sidebar, and click on “Referring
Domains”, you’ll see a table that shows
you all of the unique linking websites to
this target domain that we’re analyzing,
Now, if the site has a ton of referring domains,
manually reviewing it will be near impossible.
So in this case, you’d need to use some
of the filters in this report to narrow down
So, the first thing I would do when I hit
this table is to set the link type filter
to ‘dofollow’ to find only the domains that
are passing link equity.
All of these columns are sortable, so if we
sort by the number of dofollow links in descending
order, you’ll notice some websites link
to CMI hundreds of thousands of times.
Normally, when you see a ton of backlinks
from a single referring domain, it means that
they’re sitewide links.
If we click the number of backlinks from informationweek.com,
you can see all of the pages, some key metrics,
and the anchor/backlink that was created.
And right away, we can tell that this is a
sitewide link without even clicking through
to a page since the anchor text and the backlink
URL are all the same.
Finally is this cool search filter.
You can just type in a domain and see if it’s
linking to the target website or URL.
So I’ll type in Ahrefs.com and you’ll
see that we have linked to CMI 11 times.
And if we click on the number of backlinks
we’ve created for them, you can get more details
on where the backlinks are coming from and
where they are pointing.
With a website as popular as Content Marketing
Institute, that has a good number of backlinks
and referring domains, it’s tough to get
a ton of value here.
But I’ll finish off by showing you how easy
it is to filter through small websites using
the Referring Domains report.
So I’m going to enter in a very unpopular
domain in Site Explorer, moneyjournal.com,
ya, it’s mine.
Now, I’ll click on the referring
domains report in the left sidebar.
Then I’ll filter it down to just the dofollow links.
And you can see that there are a few decent
links in here from some high DR websites which
tells us that I’m not blatantly using any
shady link building tactics.
And we can click on this number here beside
entrepreneur.com, which again, will show me
some more details on the backlinks and linking pages.
So, I could even reach out to these people
to start building a relationship
with them, right?
Now, I’ll open this one up in a new tab.
Oh… it’s just me…
But you get the point.
With smaller websites, you can quickly use
the referring domains report to see whether
a website’s link building strategies are
legit and worth replicating, or if you should
just move on to your next backlink analysis.
That’s it for part one of our backlink analysis
and link building series.
Make sure to hit the thumbs up button and
subscribe to our channel for more actionable
videos on SEO and marketing.
If you have any questions, make sure to leave
a comment, otherwise, it’s time to move
on to part two, where we’ll be taking this
backlink analysis a step deeper and getting
into some actionable insights.
I’ll see you in the next video.
In this video, we are going down the rabbit
hole of endless link building opportunities.
Hey guys, Sam Oh here with Ahrefs and today,
we’re going to be building onto our basic
backlink analysis from the last video.
So, if you haven’t seen that yet, then I
highly recommend taking a few minutes to watch
that video and then come back to this one right after.
And now, it’s time to get into an advanced
backlink analysis tutorial and find tons of
new link prospects.
Let’s jump right in.
If we go to Google and search for the keyword,
“SEO”, you’ll see that Search Engine
Land’s “What is SEO” guide is ranking
in the number one organic position.
Scrolling down, you’ll see Kissmetrics’
“SEO for Beginners” guide.
Let’s compare these two pages that rank
for the same keyword and analyze their
Since we know that quality backlinks can significantly
help a website rank in Google, the first thing
we’ll look at are the number of referring
domains to each page.
I’ve already loaded up two different searches
here in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool and looking
at them side by side, it’s pretty clear
why Search Engine Land is ranking much better
They have 10 times more referring domains
or unique websites linking to their page.
I’ll scroll down a touch and here, you can
see the “New and Lost Referring Domains” report.
And if we compare them side-by-side, you’ll
notice that SEL has been acquiring backlinks
of up to 100 referring domains in a week compared
to Kissmetrics who is usually acquiring them
at around less than 10 per week.
And this makes sense.
If we scroll back up to the top, you’ll
see that Search Engine Land gets more than
10 times the organic search visitors from Google alone!
10 times more free exposure which leads to more links.
If we wanted to dig deeper we can look for
large spikes in the graph and make a note
of these dates.
Like here, you’ll see SEL’s biggest spike
back in August of 2017 where they had 107
new referring domains link to their guide.
But looking at these graphs now, I kind of
want to analyze the more dramatic spike of
new referring domains that
Kissmetrics has recently gotten.
You can see that in March of 2018, they acquired
significantly more new referring domains than
they had previously earned.
So we’ll take note of the dates: March 11th
– March 31st of 2018.
Next, if we scroll back up, we can click on
“New” under the backlinks category.
And then you’ll choose the start and end
dates on these calendars.
So I’ll set my start date to March 11th,
and the end date to March 31st to see how
Kissmetrics more than doubled their usual
link acquisition rate for this post.
Finally, I’ll click “Show New Backlinks”
to load up our list.
If we scroll down a bit, you’ll see the
new backlinks that were acquired in the set
The first thing that you’ll notice is that
they’re consolidating some of their older
content by using redirects.
And I’m assuming that these were slightly
less popular blog posts.
So passing the link equity through 301 redirects
is probably a smart move on their part.
Now, I could spend hours going through each
spike, but I think this one example shows
you how you can quickly find what
your competitors are doing.
And this can be a big time help because as
you look at different spikes from different
websites, you’re going to notice that the
way websites acquire backlinks today, might
be very, very different from what they did
2 years ago, especially if they’ve been
around for a while like these two sites.
So when you’re doing your backlink analysis,
focus your energy on identifying patterns
to decipher how your competitors are getting
their good links.
Some common patterns off the top of my head
that you might find are guest posting campaigns,
directory listings, resource page link building,
forum links, PR stunts, redirects, and links
that seem like natural editorial placements.
From there, you can pick and choose the different
strategies that are worth your time and resources
as you plan your link building strategy.
You can also use the New Referring Domains
report to quickly assess whether a website’s
link building efforts were legit or just junk.
Just click “New” under the Referring Domains
category in the sidebar.
And then we’ll set our dates to
the same as we did before.
Finally, I’ll run the search.
From here, you can take a quick peek at the
referring domain alongside the domain rating
and you’ll have a rough idea of whether
the links are good or not.
And when in doubt, just click on the backlinks
dropdown to see the linking pages.
It’s important to note that this report
only shows links from new domains.
So you won’t be able to see websites that
had linked to the target URL or domain before
or in the past.
But this actually gives unique insights into
how a site is building or acquiring links
over a specific period, which adds an interesting
layer to your backlink analysis.
Alright, onto a super cool report that’s
a favorite to a lot of Ahrefs users, and that’s
the “Best by Links” report.
For our example, I’ll open up a new instance
of Site Explorer and we’ll be examining
the Ahrefs blog.
Next, I’ll click on “best by links”
in the left sidebar.
This report ranks the pages of the subfolder,
/blog/, based on their total number of backlinks,
which you can sort by clicking any of these columns.
The one filter I’d recommend setting is
to set the HTTP code to 200.
And this will weed out some of the 301 redirects
as well as the broken 404 pages, which by
the way, we’ll cover in the next video where
we’ll talk more about link building.
So now that the filter is set, I’m going
to sort the table by the number of referring
domains in descending order.
From here, we can start analyzing these pages
to see what topics and types of content are
attracting a ton of links for Ahrefs’ Blog.
As expected, you can see that our main blog
URL, ahrefs.com/blog/ is our most linked to page.
And the rest of our top pages are
individual posts from our blog.
Just by looking at the top 10 pages here,
you’ll notice a pattern on the type of content
that generates backlinks for us.
Half of our most linked to pages
are unique research studies!
And the other half are super actionable guides
on big topics like keyword research, seo tips,
link building, and outreach.
A key point that we can take from these posts
is that statistics tend to drive links to
our site and that big and actionable guides
resonate well with people in the SEO and marketing
And that’s because with things like stats,
people link to references to show that they’re
not just making up these numbers.
To prove my point, if I click on the caret
here with the featured snippets study, and
then I open up the backlinks report, we can
get a bit of context as to why people link
to these pages by looking at the anchors and
surrounding text column.
Right away, you’ll see that there are numerous
mentions of a specific percentage, which resulted
in a link back to our post.
Stats equal links for this particular page
and a similar anchor text pattern exists for
all of our other studies too.
Now, I’m not telling you to go and create
a unique study on 2 million featured snippets.
Since we have access to a ton of data, we’re
able to create these awesome posts, which
the SEO and marketing industry just happen
to love and link to.
But what works in our industry may not work
in yours and vice versa.
So you’ll need to start digging through
some of your competitors’ top pages, see
which types of content attract backlinks,
and then look at where those links are coming from.
The Best by Links report is similar to the
“Top pages by traffic” report I showed
you in a previous video.
This is a super helpful report to help you understand which pages on a website attract backlinks.
And from there, you can easily research the
backlinks of each individual page.
Next, we have the perfect
complimentary report to this one.
And that’s the “best by links growth” report.
If we click on it here in the sidebar menu,
you can see this table which shows you the
link growth of these pages which you can sort
by the last day, 7 days, or 30 day growth.
And you can click any of these links here,
which will open up the “New Referring Domains”
report where you can see which new websites
linked to this page.
As I mentioned before, the way that a website
builds and earns links today may be completely
different than how they did it 2 years ago.
So this report gives you the extra layer of
timely insight on the best pages by links
Looking at this report, the first thing that
I notice is that the majority of pages here
are recent articles on the Ahrefs blog.
If we click here to open up the new referring
domains report on our White Hat SEO post,
you’ll notice that we’ve acquired links
from 19 new referring domains, which is rather
quick considering the post
wasn’t published too long ago.
And if you investigate a bit further, you’ll
notice that there are certain sites like this
Clicking through to the page, you’ll see
some kind of RSS feeder that curates new posts
from their favorite blogs.
Let’s look at bluleadz.com.
So when I click here to reveal the backlinks,
it shows that they’ve linked from numerous
pages to our post with the same anchor text.
And this is likely a sitewide or some kind
of widget link.
And if we open up one of these pages, you’ll
see that it seems to be someone who loves
our content and included us in
their editor’s picks for April.
Alright, so the last report that we’re going
to look at, which is likely the first report
you went to when you first signed up with
Ahrefs, is the raw backlinks report.
Let’s go back to the best by links page
and and analyze our study on how long it takes
to rank in Google.
I’ll click on caret here and then click
Once the page loads, you can see all of the
websites that are linking to this page.
There are a few key metrics to note.
The first is Domain Rating, or DR, which represents
the overall strength of a backlink profile
of an entire website.
The next 3 columns go hand-in-hand.
The URL rating is one of Ahrefs’ proprietary
metrics that represents how strong a backlink
profile of a target URL is, which is largely
determined by this number here, the total
number of unique domains
pointing to the referring page.
The third factor on this page that plays a
factor in the UR calculation is the Ext. column.
And this column tells you the total number
of external links on the referring page, which
dilutes the URL rating.
Then we have traffic!
We recently added this column to the backlinks
report and it’s an absolutely killer feature
unique to Ahrefs and instantly loved by the
good people in the Ahrefs Insider Facebook group.
Not only are these pages passing link equity
to the page, but there’s a good chance that
they’re sending some quality referral traffic
to the outbound links on their page.
Then we have this column which is going to
help you skim through these reports rather
The surrounding text and anchor text column
is a very cool feature that gives you some
context of a link without ever having to visit
And then there’s the first seen and last
checked column which tells you when Ahrefs
first found the link and when we last recrawled
the page to see if it still existed.
Now, for smaller sites and pages with just
a few backlinks, you can quickly skim through
the titles and URLs in this column, and then
look at the surrounding text and anchor over
here to get context on the backlink.
But with larger websites with a ton of backlinks,
it would take days, weeks, or months to get
through the list.
So the solution?
So here are a few cool hacks you can use to
narrow down your results to a smaller list
of relevant link prospects.
As a basic setup, I would change the link
type to dofollow and set the language to English
or whatever language your website is in.
After setting these two filters, you you should
see the total number of backlinks narrow down
quite a bit here.
The platform filter here is a pretty helpful one too.
You can set this to just WordPress sites,
which further brings down the results and
gives you a pretty clean list of links that
are most likely editorial links.
Alternatively, you could set this to message
boards to find easy to get links, but I should
note that message board links are generally
nofollow and sometimes just pure spam links.
A highly unique filter is to set the link type to ‘content’.
This is going narrow down the results to identify
links that are found within a big chunk of
text, which makes it super easy to discover
quality editorial links.
The last thing I want to leave you with is
a super cool hack that can save you hours
in your link building process.
You may have heard of resource page link building.
Basically, you find pages that have curated
lists of links on a page with helpful resources
related to a topic.
If you’re familiar with this link building
tactic, then you know that scraping through
Google’s search results using search operators
like these, often leads to a ton of irrelevant
results or pages that have zero outbound links.
Well, a cool thing you can do in Site Explorer
is to do a domain search on a website in your
niche that you know has a lot of backlinks.
So I’ll open up a new instance of Site Explorer
and, I’ll type in contentmarketinginstitute.com,
which we all know writes about…
Next, I’ll click on the backlinks report here.
And then I’ll set our basic filters again.
So link type will be dofollow, and
the language will be English.
And then I’ll type in the word, “resources”
in the search bar.
This is going to narrow down the backlinks
results to only ones that have this word in
the titles, URLs, or anchor/surrounding texts.
If we scroll down a bit, you’ll see that
this one here is called, “The essential
list of startup marketing resources.”
And if we click the link and scroll down a
bit, you’ll see that this is literally the
perfect example of a typical resources page.
The best part about using this hack is that
right within Site Explorer, you can quickly
look at the metrics like the number of external
links on the page as well as the organic traffic
numbers to see if the site is worth reaching out to.
You can use this exact prospecting hack with
other keywords like “round ups”, “links”,
or whatever words people in your industry
use to define a ‘resource like’ page with links.
Rinse and repeat for some of the top sites
in your industry, and you can literally find
more than enough link prospects than you’ll
be able to handle.
That’s it for this SEO tutorial.
I’m sure you’re anxious to dig into Site
Explorer and to start using some of these
techniques to find more prospects for your
next link building campaign.
Make sure to give me a thumbs up and let me
know in the comments which prospecting tip
you’ll be adding to your link building strategy.
The third and final video in this series is
all about combining everything that we covered
in the first two videos and turning it into
a workflow full of link building hacks.
So I’ll see you in the next video.
In this video, I’m going to show you how
to turn your backlink analysis into actionable
link building strategies…
Hey everyone, Sam Oh here with Ahrefs.
This is the last video in our 3 part series
on backlink analysis and link building using
just Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool.
Now, in the first two videos, we went pretty
deep into link prospecting and competitor analysis.
But today, you and I we’re going to be focusing
on link building efficiency and cover 5 tactics
that you can execute quickly
from just a single site analysis.
If you haven’t watched the first two videos,
then I highly recommend going back to those
right now so that you can get the most out
of this baller tutorial.
Some of these strategies that I’ll be covering may be very familiar while others may be completely new.
And I’ve got some cool link building tactics
in here for everyone, no matter what stage
I am absolutely pumped, so let’s jump right in.
First, I want to set some context.
So throughout this tutorial, let’s imagine
that I have a new and upcoming content marketing
blog called Content Marketing Hackers and
I’m looking to build links to it.
So with that said, let’s get started with
link building strategy #1:
Piggyback off of your competitors’ homepage links.
Here’s the skinny:
When you’re analyzing a home page’s backlinks,
you’re going to find that the majority of
links will have an anchor text to the company’s
brand name, the domain name, or the founder’s
And with branded anchors like this, it’s
usually a general mention of the company.
So by looking through these ‘general mentions’,
your job is going to be two-fold:
First, we need to find out why your competitor
was mentioned and you weren’t.
And the second thing we need to do is, we
need to find out how to squeeze your way into
So let me show you a few examples:
So I’ll go to Site Explorer and enter in
contentmarketinginstitute.com here and I’ll
set this setting to the exact URL.
Now, if we scroll down to the bottom of the
overview page, you’ll see that over 80%
of their backlinks have branded anchor phrases.
Now, let’s scroll back up and look at the
backlinks report for CMI’s homepage to see
where these links are coming from.
First, I’ll set one filter here for now
to just the dofollow links.
Now, if you look at the first batch of links,
you’ll notice that some of these sites have
linked to CMI’s homepage thousands of times.
This to me, looks like site wide links, so
we’ll skip over these for now.
And as we scroll down, we’ll come down to
this post from Social Media Examiner:
“20 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros.”
In the referring page column, you can see
that it was an expert roundup from the title.
Then looking to the anchors and surrounding
text column, you can see that the anchor text
is on Joe Pulizzi, the founder of CMI.
Just a little bit below that, you’ll see
this link that CMI got from Top Rank Blog’s
“BIGLIST of Marketing Blogs.”
Now the question boils down to this:
Why did they link to Content Marketing Institute,
but not Content Marketing Hackers, which again
is my imaginary blog that I need to build links to?
So, in many cases, it’s because they don’t
know that my awesome and imaginary blog exists.
So as an example, I could reach out to Top
Rank Blog and be like… “Hey!
Noticed your big list of marketing sites doesn’t
include Content Marketing Hackers, but we
seem to fit all of your requirements.
Mind vetting our blog and adding us to your list?”
Now, as you continue to filter through this
list, you’re going to find all sorts of
other opportunities that could be easy and
big wins for you.
So check out this example.
You can see from the anchor and surrounding
text that they interviewed Joe where he spoke
about generating revenue with content.
So I could reach out to this site and ask
to be interviewed in a future podcast episode,
assuming I have something
unique and valuable to offer.
To help narrow down your search, you could
scroll back to the top and then look for specific
So if I wanted to get interviewed more, I
could look for keywords like “podcast”
or “interview” in the search bar here.
A few other common types of links that you
might find by analyzing a competitor’s home
page are testimonials, quotes, and guest posting
opportunities, since the author box almost
always has a link pointing to the writer’s home page.
Once you’ve filtered through the list, you
could start sending your own pitches to these
site owners to have your brand
mentioned alongside your competitor’s.
Onto the second link building strategy:
build links to your existing pages
that need the extra boost.
Now, there’s a good chance that both you
and your competitors have pages with similar
content, products or services.
And that’s probably what makes them
a competitor in the first place, right?
So here’s the skinny on this tactic.
This is a simple 3-step process.
Step 1: pick a page on your site that you
want to build backlinks to.
Step 2: Find a competing page and analyze
the backlink profile to find relevant link prospects.
And step 3: send a unique pitch that shows
how your content, product, or service is different
than the one mentioned.
So let’s say that I have a great post on
my blog about link building, but it’s not
getting the attention it needs.
First, I would change this URL
search to a full domain search.
Next, I’ll click on the “best by links
report” in the sidebar to see the most linked
to pages across the domain.
Lastly, I’ll use the search bar and look
for a relevant keyword.
So I’ll type in “link” and then run the search.
Right away, you’ll see some hyper-relevant
posts that have a solid number of unique linking
And if we were to add up these referring domains,
you could potentially find hundreds of link
prospects almost instantaneously from just
this single competitor.
Next, we can click on the corresponding number
under the “dofollow” column and open up
the individual backlink reports.
Now, we would perform a backlink analysis,
exactly the same way we did in the second
video in this series and send our pitch to
the various site owners.
It’s important to note that when you’re
pitching these sites, you should provide some
kind of unique value in your pitch.
So in this case with link building, are you
sharing new tactics that no one’s talking about?
Do you have a unique case study with your
results or a creative process that you follow?
Do you have unique data or insights you can
provide that the page that they’re currently
linking to doesn’t?
Basically, you need to ask yourself this question:
Why should they take their time,
just to add your link to their post?
And if your only answer is, “out of the
goodness of their hearts,” then you may
want to rework your pitch.
One thing to note is that when you’re looking
through your competitor’s best by links
report, you can look for older outdated posts.
In general, it’s easier to steal your competitor’s
backlinks when you have brand new content
with information that’s relevant today.
In our example, CMI happens to include the
dates in their URL, so it’s really easy
to identify outdated posts with a quick scan.
There are a couple other ways that you can
find competing pages.
The first is to go to Google and type in a
keyword phrase that you want to rank for.
So in this case, if it was “link building”,
then I could go through the top 10 results,
copy and paste each URL into Site Explorer
and analyze the individual backlink profiles
to create an even bigger list of prospects.
Now, the great thing about this tactic is
that it’s not limited to just blog posts.
The exact same logic and principles apply
for product and service pages.
For example, if we were to create a marketing
automation software, then I could simply take
one of my competitors’, so let’s say Mailchimp’s
feature page and then paste the URL into Site Explorer.
And from here, you can see that this URL has
615 referring domains linking to this page.
Now, I can click on the backlinks profile
here in the left sidebar, and then look through
the list of people who are linking to this product page.
Looking at this result here, the anchor and
surrounding text tells us a lot.
It says, “tools such as Mailchimp’s marketing
automation software can help with personalization.”
So the question that comes to mind, is why aren’t
they mentioning my marketing automation software?
And the most probable answer again?
Is that they don’t know it exists.
So in my outreach email, I could offer them
a free account and show them unique value
in how my tool is superior, easier,
and better than Mailchimp’s.
Alright, onto one of my favorite tactics and
that’s because it is one that is easily scaleable.
Seriously! Easily scaleable.
Tactic #3 is broken link building.
Here’s the skinny on broken link building.
You find a dead 404 page from a
competitor’s website that has backlinks.
Next, you recreate that page with your own twist.
And then you email everyone who is still linking
to the broken page and ask them to replace
the dead link with yours.
There are a few ways to find broken pages
with backlinks using Site Explorer.
The quickest way to do it from a domain level
search is again in the “best by links” report.
The only thing we need to change here is this
one filter to find only the 404 – not found pages.
We now have a list of over 23,000 broken pages
from our competitor’s site that has backlinks.
From here, you can click on the referring domains column to sort the list in descending order.
You can see right here that their .aspx version
of the site was never redirected properly.
And this broken link here on “what is content
marketing” has earned over 400 Dofollow
backlinks from 188 unique websites!
The one below, seems to be a list post of
the top 42 content marketing blogs which has
91 referring domains!
And the one below that…
drum roll please…[Drum roll]
Is the same post without a proper redirect,
so that 91 referring domains, now turns into
157 unique linking websites.
A.K.A. 157 new link prospects!
Now, if you already have a solid replacement,
then it’s just a matter of pitching the
owners, editors, and webmasters with your piece.
And you can use the search filter here again
to look for topics that are similar to ones
that you’ve already published.
So let’s say that I have a great post on
content marketing tools.
I can search for the keyword “tool”, and
you’ll see all of the relevant broken pages
with the keyword in the URL.
But if you haven’t created the post yet,
then you can do something cool right here
within this report.
First, I’ll clear the search filter.
And now, let’s look at one of these pages
that seems to lack context.
This one here has a URL permalink that reads:
“repurpose one video” and has 32 unique
What you can do is click on the caret here
and if there are any records inside of Archive.org,
which is a free service that lets you see
what pages looked like in the past, then you’ll
see a shortcut link here.
Click on the link and it will load up the
page and show you what the page looked like
when it was live.
Now we know that this post is a case study
done on their podcast where they repurposed
one video and got X results.
So if you have a similar case study on repurposing
content, then it might be worth creating.
After your content is pitch-ready, you can
click on the number in the dofollow column,
which will open up the backlinks
report with the dofollow filter set.
Now, you can see all of the pages that have
linked to this broken page.
Now, it’s just a matter of reaching out
to each site owner, editor, or webmaster to
let them know about the broken link and to
pitch your post as a replacement.
One side note that I want to make is regarding outreach.
When you’re pitching the different site
owners, you want to make sure that your replacement
article is actually relevant to the context
of why they linked to the broken link.
For example, if we look at this broken page’s
backlink profile, which is on content marketing
spend, then you can see from the anchors/surrounding
text column that the context of these links
is largely because of stats.
So if you were recreating a similar page to
this one, you should be prepared to use your
new and up to date data as part of your pitch.
And if you don’t have the data,
then don’t recreate the post.
Alright, on to link building strategy #4,
which I don’t think many people are using.
And that’s link building from irrelevant 301 redirects.
Here’s the skinny:
When a website decides that they want to consolidate
content, meaning, they’re going to take some
of their less popular posts and then redirect
to ones they want to rank for.
And the result is going to be completely irrelevant
redirects that you can capitalize on.
Within this same report, which is the best
by links report, we can change the 404 filter
to “301 moved permanently.”
And you can see that they have over 6,700
articles that have been permanently redirected.
The one that stands out to me is the blog post here.
It looks like they’ve redirected a post
on headline click through rate to their headline
tips and tools post.
This might seem like they’re completely
relevant, but if we click through to the tips
and tools article and then search for the
word “click”, you’ll see that there
are only 3 occurrences.
The first shows “cheesy click-bait headlines”.
The second reads, “The winner gets the clicks”.
And the third says “most clicks.”
Looking at the archive.org page, you can see
that the original topic was on tips to improve
your headline click-through rate, which the
new article clearly doesn’t help with.
From here, you would go to the backlinks report,
skim through the anchors and surrounding text
column to see the context of the backlink.
And here, we can see that the majority of
links are coming from a stat that was mentioned
related to click-through rate.
And if you look at this one here, it says
that the stat comes from “the folks at Outbrain”
which you could also link to in your post
so that your article is relevant when you’re
pitching these sites.
Pretty neat twist to 404 link building, right?
Alrighty, link building strategy #5:
Guest blogging on sites where your
competitors are posting (with a twist).
And the method that I’m about to show you
is a pretty creative one that I haven’t
seen anyone talk about.
But first, the skinny on guest posting.
First, you find a website you want to write
for, you pitch them with some topic ideas,
and if accepted, write a post that will most
likely lead to a link back to your site.
And I’ve covered a lot of effective ways
to find guest posting sites in my Content
So if you’re using or plan to use guest
posting as a promotion strategy, then I highly
recommend watching that video.
Now, before I teach you this new tactic, let
me start with a story.
It was a dark and stormy night and I was just
sitting at home reading through some of my
favorite blogs, minding my own business.
And for whatever reason, blog
after blog after blog after blog…
This guy’s name and face kept
popping up on my screen.
He seemed to be on some kind of relentless
guest posting blitz.
So I followed him on Twitter and literally
binge read everything he had written.
Well done Ryan…well done.
Here’s the thing: if I was noticing him
everywhere, so were others.
And when it comes to anything
online, there are always footprints.
The main one footprint for guest posts is the author bio.
And in it, you’ll normally get a link to your
website and some links to your social profiles.
So what you can do to find guest posting opportunities
is to open up Site Explorer and search for
a popular guest blogger’s Twitter profile URL.
I’ll put in Ryan’s twitter URL and click submit.
And you’ll see that 128 unique domains have
linked to his twitter profile.
Let’s look at the backlink profile.
If you skim through the referring page as
well as the “anchor and backlink” column,
then you can almost instantly
see why they got a backlink.
For example, this one from an amazing blog
that I absolutely adore was an expert roundup
which you can see from the title.
Then you’ll see this one here on local-seo
that looks like a naked URL.
And if we click through to that article, you’ll
see that Ryan was the guest author.
Now where does this link come from?
So you could skim through this column and
look for naked urls, empty anchors, or even
links from images, which often
suggests that it was a guest post.
By using these 5 link building tactics that
I just showed you, you should be able to build
a large enough list of prospects and get backlinks
to get your pages ranking with the big boys.
And that’s it for this SEO tutorial and
actually this entire backlink analysis and
link building series!
If you haven’t watched the other videos,
then I highly recommend going back and working
through these videos at your own pace.
Make sure to hit the thumbs up button and
subscribe for more actionable SEO tutorials.
In fact, let me know in the comments if there’s
anything that we haven’t covered that you
would like to see in action right here on YouTube.
Now, I’ve got some links that need to be
built and I’m sure you do too.
So until the next video, keep grinding away
SEO friends and I’ll see you soon.