Link Building Based on Competition

One of the traditional ways to improve the profile of inbound links is called link building based on competition. The idea is simple: try to get the links that your competitor has previously achieved. When we talk about competition, we should understand two concepts of competition:

– Those you generally know to be your largest competitors

– Those competitors that appear in the top positions for the keywords that you want to be positioned for (although those might not strictly be your competitors).



The theory behind this type of tactic is based on the following premises:

– Try to get links from higher quality than your competitors have achieved.

– Use the links that have helped certain websites to get top positions for keywords that are of interest to you.

There are many factors that influence search engine rankings, which is why we must be aware that even if your website gets all the links pointing to your competitors, it does not automatically ensure the top positions . Nevertheless, it is a technique that gives good results.



Your goal is not to reproduce all links of your competition (which is often physically impossible), but you will use the following criteria for selection:

– Clearly, you must first concentrate on “achievable” links. Your competitors may have inbound links which you do not have access to (e.g. links to other websites owned by competition, links from websites associations you are not a member of, etc).

– Let’s focus on the links of higher quality, as we shall later see, you will use Open Site Explorer for this purpose.

In most cases, we must be aware that achieving these quality links is not an easy task; that means that we will have to contact each of the owners of the sites where the links are concerned and also convince them that your link should be on their page. For this reason we always insist that the starting point is to have high quality content on your website, as this will facilitate your goal.

We will establish an individualized and personalized communication with each of these webmasters, without sending automated spam solutions.




Logically, the first thing we do is identify competitors that we want to monitor. As mentioned above, we can distinguish between:

– Those we know indeed are our competitors.

– Those results that appear in the top positions when searching for keywords that we are interested in being positioned for. In the latter case, as we go creating new pieces of content on our blog, we will see new “competitors”. Take an example, our website is specialized in tourism in Chicago, for example, if we wrote a blog post called “The best tourist routes in Chicago,” we must consider the results displayed in the search engines for the term “tourist routes Chicago “.

With that information. we see three types of pages:

– The homepage of competitors (e.g.

– The individual pages that appear in the top results (e.g.

– Additionally, if we look for even further, other pages of competitors that are well-positioned and / or have high “page authority”. To look at the site use the following command: Using Mozbar, you will see the following:

linkbuildingFollowing the above example, let’s say that one of your competitors is We will see all its pages indexed sorted by the pages that has most “page authority”. Those are the ones we monitor.

With the final list of URLs, we can use two tools. On one hand we have ahrefs, a tool that gives us valuable information about the links of the pages to be monitored.

For example:

The links that point to those pages ordered by their “page authority” and other relevant metrics.

ahrefs-link-backA division of the links according to type (follow, nofollow, .edu …).


All that information can be exported for further analysis.


You can supplement the information obtained with another free tool, Open Site Explorer, which offers similar information.


Now that we have all the relevant information, we will:

– Select the potential links that have greater value.

– Discard those links that we do not have access to.

In this way we will have our final list of potential sites which we can contact to get them  to link to us. There is no doubt this part will take the longest. Here are some guidelines to act upon it.



One of the most direct ways to contact those responsible for the pages is by email. It is not always easy to obtain this information. Sometimes the email address is available on the same page, or sometimes on the About us page, but sometimes there is no email address. An alternative way to look this up is by using services such as that give us the basic data about the owner of a website.

Alternatively (or in addition) we can obtain accounts in social networks listed on the website we want to contact, and thus we have an additional means of contact.


Once we have obtained the above data, we contact the head of the website (previously we make sure it is a specific person who is really in charge of that website, because sometimes we get just a general email contact and we have to ask who is specifically responsible for the content of that page).

When you contact them you want to approach them in a personalized way, and avoid spam at all costs. Let’s look at several ways to do so:

– Use a template to serve as your base general contact form. In this post we can see some templates that can give you some ideas.


This other post gives us more ideas.


– Find a way to contact the head of the page. It is about finding a common interest that will help you with establishing communication. Do we share some contacts? Any common hobby? Can we help you? … These are some of the ways to establish a good relationship with them.

– “Do ut des” (I give you in order for you to give me). This way you win favor of the recipient to be more favorable and include your link on their page. We can notify them about some failure on their website, any grammatical error, provide a sample of our product … Anything that will serve us as a reason to contact them and gain their predisposition.

– A variation of the prior action is finding the “broken links”. In this way you find broken links within their page and alert the webmaster of this fact and offer the possibility of linking to a page on your website containing similar content. A good tool to find broken links is Xenu.


Once you have downloaded the tool, proceed as follows:

–  Save your list of URLs as a .txt file.

– We will use the “check URL list” option (alternatively we can enter the URLs dynamically).


– We will configure the options, according to the following settings:


From there we will see broken links (if there are any) of the pages that we have entered.

Tip for demanding users

Once we have found a broken link, we can use ahrefs again, to see what other sites pointing to it and repeat the process.


Additional Resources

This is an interesting video to see a complementary idea about the link building based on competition:


If you are interested in the art of broken links, we recommend this video presentation:

If you prefer PowerPoints, we recommend the following:

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