Fraud Blocker

A Step-By-Step Guide to Running a Competitor Backlink Analysis in 2023

In today’s digital world, having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any business. A big part of your online presence is determined by the number and quality of backlinks your website has.

The highly competitive digital landscape means you must keep an eye on your competitors and understand their backlink strategies. Understanding your competitors’ backlink strategies can give you valuable insights into their strengths and weaknesses and help you identify opportunities to improve your link-building efforts.

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of running a competitor backlink analysis, so you can stay ahead of the competition and achieve your online goals.

What Is a Competitor Backlink Analysis?

A competitor backlink analysis is a process of researching and analyzing your competitors’ backlinks to gain insight into their link-building strategies and identify opportunities for improving your backlink profile.

Backlinks, also known as inbound links, link from other websites to your website. They are like digital referrals and play a vital role in determining your website’s search engine ranking and visibility, as well as its credibility and authority.

This is why staying ahead of the game and regularly monitoring your backlinks and competitors is important.

Why Should You Conduct a Competitor Backlink Analysis?

Why Should You Conduct a Competitor Backlink Analysis?

A backlink analysis aims to understand how your competitors are acquiring backlinks and identify opportunities for improvement in your link-building efforts.

By conducting a competitor backlink analysis, you can:

  • Identify high-quality backlink sources and potentially target those sources for your backlinks.
  • Evaluate the quality of competitor backlinks and understand which links drive the most traffic and provide the most value.
  • Understand your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and help determine where your link-building efforts should focus.
  • Develop a link-building strategy that leverages your strengths and addresses your weaknesses.
  • Tap into your SEO strategy and improve your rankings in the top search engines.

By regularly conducting competitor backlink analysis, you can stay ahead of the competition and ensure that your website has a strong online presence

Best Backlink Analysis Tools You Should Be Using

1. Ahrefs


Ahrefs is a popular and highly regarded SEO tool with a competitor backlink analysis tool that digital marketers and website owners widely use. It provides an extensive backlinks database and data on the quality and source of these links.

Some of the key features of Ahrefs that make it an excellent tool for competitor link analysis include the following:

  1. Extensive Backlink Database: Ahrefs has one of the largest databases of backlinks on the web, making it an excellent resource for competitor backlink analysis.
  2. Quality Metrics: Ahrefs provides detailed information on the quality of backlinks, including the Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) scores. This data can help you understand the strength and value of your competitors’ backlinks and target similar sources for your link-building efforts.
  3. Competitor Analysis: Ahrefs provides a comprehensive competitor analysis tool that allows you to compare the backlink profiles of multiple websites and determine where your link-building efforts should be focused.
  4. Link Intersect: This feature allows you to identify the backlinks your competitors have in common, giving you insight into the websites linking to multiple competitors in your industry.
  5. Historical Data: Ahrefs stores historical data on backlinks, allowing you to see changes in your competitors’ backlink profiles over time and understand their link-building strategies.

2. SEMrush

SEMrush- Backlink analysis tool

SEMrush is a comprehensive digital marketing tool widely used for competitor backlink analysis. It offers a variety of backlink analysis features that make it one of the best tools for this purpose, including:

  1. Backlink analysis: SEMrush allows you to analyze the backlink profiles of any website, including your competitors. You can see the number of backlinks, the quality of those links, and the sources of those links.
  2. Link-building opportunities: SEMrush can help you identify new opportunities by showing you where your competitors are acquiring their backlinks.
  3. Link quality analysis: SEMrush offers a link quality score that helps you determine the quality of backlinks. This information can be used to prioritize your link-building efforts and focus on acquiring high-quality links.
  4. Competitor analysis: In addition to backlink analysis, SEMrush provides a wealth of information about your competitors, including their organic traffic, paid search ads, and social media presence.
  5. Reports: SEMrush provides detailed reports and visualizations that make it easy to understand and communicate your competitor’s backlink analysis results.

3. Google Search Console

Google Search Console

Google Search Console, also known as Google Webmaster Tools, is a free tool offered by Google that provides valuable insights into a website’s search engine performance. Here are a few features of Google Search Console that can be used for competitor backlink analysis:

  1. Backlink data: Google Search Console provides a list of all the websites linking to your site, including the number of links, the page linking to your site, and the anchor text used.
  2. Evaluating link quality: Google Search Console provides information about the quality of a website’s backlinks, including which links drive the most traffic and which links may be harmful to your website.
  3. Monitoring competitor performance: Google Search Console allows you to monitor the performance of your competitors’ websites over time, including changes in the number of backlinks, search engine traffic, and keyword rankings.

4. Moz

Moz is a leading digital marketing software company that offers a variety of tools for website optimization, including a powerful competitor backlink tool.

Moz’s Link Explorer allows you to analyze the backlink profiles of any website, including your competitors, to gain valuable insights into their link-building strategies.

Moz's Link Explorer- Backlink analysis tool

Some key features of Moz’s Link Explorer include:

  1. Comprehensive backlink analysis: Moz’s tool provides a comprehensive analysis of a website’s backlink profile, including the number of links, the types of links, and the quality of the links.
  2. Link quality score: Moz uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the quality of a website’s backlinks and assigns each link a “Link Authority” score. This score provides a quick and easy way to determine the quality of a website’s backlinks.
  3. Domain Authority Metric: Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) metric provides a quick and easy way to compare the strength of different websites. The DA score is a predictive metric that measures the likelihood of a website ranking for relevant keywords in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  4. Link-Building Opportunities: Moz’s Link Explorer also provides suggestions for link-building opportunities, including broken links and unlinked mentions, which can help you identify potential sources for new backlinks.

Step-By-Step Guide to Running a Competitor Backlink Analysis

1. Define Your Competitor Set

This step involves identifying the websites you consider your direct competitors in terms of your products or services and the target audience you are trying to reach.

To define your competitor set, consider the following tips:

  • Look at your target audience’s demographics, needs, and interests, and consider which websites they may visit for similar products or services.
  • Look for websites that offer similar products or services as you do and consider them as potential competitors.
  • You can use Google search, industry forums, and other relevant sources to gather information on your competitors.

According to Ahrefs, there are two main types of competitors;

a). Domain-Level Competitors

Domain-level competitors refer to websites that compete with yours for traffic and search engine rankings. Regarding competitor backlink analysis, domain-level competitors are the most relevant websites to consider, as they are most likely to have backlinks that could also be valuable for your website.

Here is how to identify them with Ahrefs.

Visit Site explorer-Enter your domain-Click on competing domains

Domain level competitors

Image Source:

B). Page Level Competitors

Page-level competitors are websites or web pages competing with a specific page on your website for ranking in search engine results for the same or similar keywords.

Here is how to identify the page-level competitors with Ahrefs;

Choose a page on your website-Paste the target keyword into Keyword Explorer-Scroll down to SERP overview.

Page Level Competitors

Image Source:

2. Gather Competitor Information

Gathering competitor information is the second step in conducting a competitor backlink analysis. This step involves collecting data on your competitor set, including their backlink profiles, to help you better understand their link-building strategies.

To gather competitor information, consider the following tips:

  • Gather information on the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA).
  • Determine the total number of backlinks, referring domains, and top-linked pages.
  • Look for common link sources, types of links, and link placements that you can target for your website.
  • Find common links

Utilize backlink analysis tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Google Search Console to gather data on your competitor’s backlinks.

3. Analyze Competitor Backlinks

In this step, you will use various tools to evaluate the information you gathered in the previous steps quality of those links.

To analyze competitor backlinks, consider the following tips:

  • Higher DA and PA scores indicate higher-quality links.
  • Look at the anchor text used in your competitors’ backlinks to understand their link-building strategies. Identify the types of anchor text used most frequently.
  • Analyze the sources of your competitors’ backlinks to determine which websites are linking to them. This information can help you to identify potential sources for your backlinks and develop a targeted link-building strategy.
  • Check information about the referring domain, including the Domain Rating(DR), domain and page traffic, ranking keywords, etc.

4. Understanding the Competitive Landscape

Best by links report by Ahref's site explorer

Image Source:

In this step, you will use the information gathered from analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles to better understand your industry’s competitive landscape.

You can use the Ahrefs site explorer to generate the Best by links reports. As a result, you can see some content marketing links that your competitors may not find.

By understanding the competitive landscape, you can:

  • Look at the referring or linking domains of the websites that outrank you.
  • Identify your link-building strengths and weaknesses and understand where you can improve.
  • Get an idea of the industry standards for link building and what you need to do to keep up.
  • Stay ahead of the competition by staying informed about their tactics and making changes to your link-building strategy as needed.

5. Identifying Link-Building Opportunities

This step aims to identify areas where your website can acquire new backlinks, improve the quality of existing backlinks, or remove low-quality links. Discover new and innovative link-building opportunities that you can leverage for your website.

Here are some key steps in identifying link-building opportunities:

  • Check your competitors’ websites for broken links.
  • Check your competitors’ websites for unlinked mentions.
  • Find your competitor’s guest posts
  • Find sites that link to more than one of your competitors and replicate them. You can use the Ahrefs link intersect tool.
  • Track any new backlinks from your competitors and consider those new opportunities

6. Develop a Backlink Strategy

Develop a Backlink Strategy

This step aims to take the information gathered in the previous steps and use it to create a targeted and effective plan for acquiring new backlinks and improving the quality of existing links.

Here are some key tips for developing a link-building strategy:

  • Determine what you hope to achieve through your link-building efforts, such as improving your search engine ranking or increasing your website’s visibility.
  • Based on your competitor backlink analysis, identify the websites and types of links most valuable for your website and that you can realistically target.
  • Develop a plan to reach out to relevant websites and acquire new links. This may involve creating content, improving SEO keyword strategy, building relationships, or offering incentives.
  • Produce high-quality, relevant content that will attract backlinks from other websites. Consider creating blog posts, videos, infographics, and other content to engage your target audience and encourage linking.
  • Monitor your link-building efforts to assess their effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary. This may involve changing your approach, targeting different websites, or fine-tuning your content strategy.


Conducting a competitor backlink analysis is crucial in improving your website’s SEO ranking and visibility in 2023. Following our step-by-step guide in this article, you can gather information on your competitors, analyze your backlink profile, and identify link-building opportunities to improve your backlink profile.

It’s important to regularly conduct competitor backlink analyses to stay on top of industry trends and developments. By taking the time to understand your competitors’ strategies and applying the insights gained from your analysis, you can develop a targeted and effective link-building strategy to help you achieve your online goals.