Ian Lurie // Apr 8 2009
This is part 3 of my 5-part series on link building. Yesterday, we talked about competitive link research. If you used any of the tools I listed then you now have a huge list of links from at least one of your competitors.
Today, we’ll take those tools, grab more links, then figure out which links you don’t yet have.
I’m definitely partial to SEOMOZ’s Linkscape as my primary research tool. So we’ll use that for this example. Note, though, that you can use Yahoo! Site Explorer or any other tools that can tell you whose linking to your competitors. You can read yesterday’s post to find out why I like Linkscape so much.
I’ll start as if you haven’t done any research yet.
First, grab the competitor’s links:
You can repeat this for other competitors if you want. I find one list of links is enough to drive me batty, but if you’re a glutton for punishment, go for it.
Next, repeat the process for your own site.
Now you have at least two lists of links, along with MozRank and other data. The data’s a good indicator of link value, but I find one way or another I end up going after every link. So for now, don’t worry about anything except the links themselves. We’ll worry about the MozRank stuff in Part 4 of this series.
Now you have a choice: You can grab the links on a page-by-page basis, or domain-by-domain.
Glutton for Punishment option: Page-by-page is more difficult because it means you’ll get a list of every individual link that points at the competing site, including multiple links from each web site. That’s a lot of links. But it gives you the most complete list. If you’re going to do that, copy the entire ‘URL’ column and paste it into another Excel worksheet.
Lazybones Option: If you’re a lazybones like me, cut-and-paste the ‘root domain’ column into another Excel worksheet.
Regardless, name the tab in that worksheet ‘competitors’ or something else easy to remember.
Then do the same thing for your own site. Paste your list into the file that has the ‘competitors’ tab, but use a different tab. Name that tab ‘mysite’ or something easy to remember.
You now have a single worksheet with 2 tabs named ‘competitors’ and ‘mysite’.
Don’t worry, you can download my sample worksheet here. No strings attached, just remember me at Christmas.
If you went with the lazybones option in 2, above, you’ll need to remove duplicates. To do that using Excel:
Voila – you now have a list of unique domains that provide links to your competitor. Do the same thing for your own link list, too.
The opportunity gap consists of all the links that your competitor has but you don’t. Somewhere in those links are the ones responsible for them kicking your fanny all over the rankings.
So, you need to create a list that shows those links that your competitor has but you don’t.
I know, I know. Excel – why are you doing this to me?! But once you get the hang of using ‘match’ it gets easier. You can download my sample spreadsheet here, if you want to get a head start.
Now it’s time to go get those links. Read Part 4, tomorrow.
Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More