Spy On Your Competitors (Maybe) For Great Backlinks!

Do or do not, there is no try.

Yoda by andy54321Hopefully everyone understands (if not, you will shortly) that the major search engines use links from other websites to judge your website’s authority and trust profile.

For example, if a website that Google knows to be a high authority website (like maybe a local media outlet) links to your site, it can be interpreted as a pseudo-endorsement or trusted link. The more trusted links you have, the better your trust profile appears and the more authority you should receive and thus (arguably) the higher you should rank, all other things being equal.

Always, always, always be on the lookout for great linking opportunities

There are as many ways to develop awesome links as there are to find new clients. Each is different, has it’s own set of challenges and rewards. You can pretty much assume though the more trusted the website you want a link from, the more difficult it will be to get it. (And by the way, most of the search engines frown on buying links that pass authority even to the point of letting you report them.)

So where can you find these opportunities?  Do you have a bio on a website anywhere?  Do you serve on a charitable board with a website?  Has the local media written a story about you?  Do you have friends with websites?  Do you know real estate professionals in other non-competing areas who would link to you?  Think outside the box!  Sometimes the best linking opportunities are hidden in plain site.

Do you have a good linking suggestion?  Leave it in the comments below and share with your fellow AgentGenius readers!

Which schmo outranks you locally? Where do they get their links?

There are a ton of resources out there for spying…I mean, examining your competitors’ back link profile(s). I’m only going to talk about a couple of them. (And if you’re so good you don’t have any competitors, you could alternatively, pick a random big city, let’s say Seattle and see who ranks well there and where their back links look like, ie: search Google or Yahoo for “Seattle homes for sale” or “Seattle realtor” or “Seattle Eco Broker”)

One great tool is Yahoo’s Site Explorer. Visit the site and enter in the web address of your competition, and Shaazam! What you see initially are the websites “Pages”. We don’t want that. Click on the button at the top of the results called “Inlinks”. Now you’re cooking.

Now this will show ALL the incoming links, even from the site itself. Those aren’t particularly useful, so you can filter them out using the “Show Inlinks” drop boxes. I recommend “Except from this domain” and “Entire Site”. That’ll give you a good idea of where their links are coming from. Start poking around those sites and find out how you can get a link for your own self.

Another great tool for this same sort of research is Open Site Explorer. It’ll give you up to 1,000 links (you have to register but it’s worth it and you *can* get more if you pay) plus lots of other juicy information such as page and domain authority of the incoming link, the anchor text used in the link and the full URI of the page with the incoming link. You can also do the same sort of filtering as mentioned above. Very handy stuff.

Wow, this is a lot of information and will probably take me a long time to finish…

Yes. You should consider building your back link profile a task that has no end date because, in my opinion, you can never have too many good incoming links. And besides, you know your competition is reading this and is going to do the same thing now so you better get cracking.

It’s also a great task for business or PR interns, support staff, skilled teenagers or Yoda.

Should all my links point to my home page?

Definitely not, no.

Create links to your sub-pages, blog post entries, whatever. I may get further into why in a future post, but for now, spread out the link love.

Now get out there and build some links!

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. TheRECoach

    March 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Great article, and very helpful. Thanks for the excellent advice! 🙂

    @CBRELongBeach

  2. cjbirk

    March 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Indeed, it’s excellent information and essential for targeting content creation and guest posts.

  3. Rick @ Resell Rights Ebook Store

    March 30, 2010 at 11:11 am

    There are a lot of people within the internet marketing forums suggesting to only post on sites that allow dofollow links rather then nofollow. But what they don’t realize is the nofollow link is just as important as the dofollow link. Only difference is a dofollow link will pass on page rank from the page.

    But are we really targeting the search engines for traffic? No. We are targeting an audience of real people who are reading the page we posted our link to in hopes they will click through and find something useful on our own site.

    Google counts all links back to your site whether they are dofollow or nofollow. Simply set up a Google alert for “link:yoursite.com” and/or “link:www.yoursite.com” without the quotes and when you receive notice of new links found you will find Google is reporting nofollow links in addition to dofollow links.

  4. Brian Rutledge

    March 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Marty, I especially like “You should consider building your back link profile a task that has no end date because, in my opinion, you can never have too many good incoming links”. Too many people think SEO is a one time thing. If you don’t keep working on your back link profile and keep adding good, fresh content on your site, you will be unhappy with your SEO results. This is great advice, thanks for the post!

    • Marty Martin

      March 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Brian for the comment and retweet! You’re absolutely right in agreeing with me of course! 😀

      Seriously though, you are right. SEO is definitely not a one time love affair with your website. It has to be nurtured and given special attention regularly to keep those results coming in.

      Good content is key. Once you learn the basic tenets of SEO and apply it to fresh content, a lot of work is already done.

  5. Phil Boren

    April 13, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Marty: Good advice here, thanks. In your opinion, are nofollow links as important (or maybe even better) than 2-way links?

    • Marty Martin

      April 14, 2010 at 9:06 am

      Hi Phil,

      Good, thoughtful question.

      In general, I would recommend you stay away from 2-way, or as we more commonly refer to them “reciprocal links”. The major engines (read: Google) discount those links heavily (most search pros would agree with me) and there was some evidence in the past that Google slammed a lot of real estate reciprocal linking as it was/is a heavy practice.

      Now, that being said, my understanding would be to keep reciprocal links low and be choosy about them. Keep your reciprocal links less than 5% of your total back link profile and you should be okay, you just don’t want to be spammy about it. Natural-looking, organic one way links are always best.

      And that probably answers your question too. No-followed, one way links are better in my opinion. And some studies I have participated in show that, in fact, no-follow links do carry some authority.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Jonathan Benya

    April 19, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    excellent post, thank you for sharing. Being able to stay on top of your SEO and avoiding the mentality of “SEO only needs to be done once” is critical. lots of people think it’s a one time thing, but google is smarter than that, and fresh content rules!

    I’m constantly using site explorer and such to make sure I’m continuing to grow my links, and other realtors should be doing the same!

  7. Ken White

    May 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Marty,

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I’ve focused a lot on content but looking into back linking… but not overwhelming crazy stuff… only links that add value to my readers and would help to move closer to the top of the engine for my key words with out getting punished for cheating.

    Thanks again.

    Ken White
    Licensed Real Estate Agent, Web Programmer in Training.

  8. The Confessant

    June 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    This is very useful. I usually just use google or yahoo to check on my competitors backlinks. I will try out the other one Open Site Explorer..

  9. PLR

    September 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    You wanna take over? Find the biggest guy in town and knock him out. Or in this context do what your competitors doing but better. Follow them catch up then sprint for the finish line. I can say that your competitors will get lazy and lonley once at the top.

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