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Competitor Backlink Research

Backlinks are a major key in the search engine's ranking factor. Finding your competitors' backlinks is one of the most important aspects of competitor analysis in any SEO campaign.

Finding Competitors Backlinks

For people that are new to SEO, they might have no idea how to do some competition analysis. How do you find your competitors backlinks?

The most popular command for finding backlinks is the 'link:' command, which you can use in both Google and Yahoo! Site Explorer. For better in-depth backlink analysis, more people tend to use Yahoo! Site Explorer because it lists more backlinks, whereas Google will only list a small percent.

In addition to the 'link:' command, you can use many other queries and commands to find references to your competitor links. The following commands may be helpful:

  • "www.competitorURL.com"
  • inurl:www.competitorURL.com
  • inanchor:www.competitorURL.com
  • intitle:www.competitorURL.com
  • allintitle:www.competitorURL.com
  • allintitle:www.competitorURL.com site:.org
  • site:.edu inanchor:www.competitorURL.com
  • site:.gov inanchor:www.competitorURL.com

You can also use variations of these commands. Although some of these commands may not yield backlinks per se, you will at least be able to see where these competitors are mentioned. The more you know about your competition, the better.

Free Backlink Checkers

To expedite the process of finding your competitors' backlinks, you can use the following free backlink checker tools:

  • Yahoo! Site Explorer - Provides a robust interface with the ability to export the first 1,000 backlinks to a spreadsheet

  • Alexa - Provides a backlink interface with up to 100 backlinks displayed. Enter the URL into the Site Lookup area, then click on the 'Sites Linking In' at the top.

  • Link Diagnosis - Provides an online backlink report; allows CSV export

  • Backlink Watch- Provides an online backlink report with several additional features including outbound link counts

  • Backlink Checker - Provides basic backlink checker functionality with associated Google PageRank values

Free backlink tools are nice and easy to use and may be sufficient for what you are looking for. However, no tool will be perfect, especially for low-volume keywords.

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