How to get backlink ideas from your competitors?

Team TypeStack
Team TypeStack ...
Dec 01, 2022  . 7 min read
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Analyzing your competitors' backlink profiles can lead to a goldmine of link building opportunities, which you wouldn't otherwise be able to discover. But some competitors have tens of thousands of backlinks. So there's no way you can review them all manually—it would take too long.

For example, one of Ahrefs blogs competes for search traffic with Brian Dean's They have quite an overlap in the keywords that they're targeting with their articles, so it would make sense for Ahrefs to learn which websites link to So that, they can pitch their own content to them.

But if we put in Site Explorer, you will see that over 11,000 websites are linking to it. That's a lot of backlinks and you certainly don't have time to manually review all of them. So how on earth do you analyze big backlink profiles of your competitors without going crazy?

Well, in this blog we’ll show you three great strategies that will help you to quickly make sense of such a large dataset.

1. Find their "superfans"

Let's continue with an example of which is a competitor to Ahrefs blog. Brian Dean has published quite a few amazing articles over the last few years and he has grown a big army of fans who consistently link to his content. If someone is so eager to link to the content of your competitor, they might be interested in your content too.

So how do you find these superfans?

Using Ahrefs, you could try going to Referring domains report, filtering by dofollow links only and then sorting the results by the number of dofollow links from a domain.

But because the web is full of trash, you're very likely to see a ton of very strange websites there which don't look like websites where you would care to be featured.

So there's a better way! Go to the Best by links report and set the HTTP code filter to 200. This will give you a list of the pages on your competitors' website that have generated the most backlinks.

Now, take up to 10 of these pages and copy/paste them into Ahrefs' Link Intersect tool. Make sure to remove the protocol from each URL and use the Prefix setting. This will give better results. After clicking Show link opportunities, you get a cleaner list of websites that have linked to multiple articles of our competitor.

If you start exploring those, most of them would likely turn out to be legit websites worth getting a link from. And because they link to not one but all multiple articles on a blog that you’re competing with, there should be a very high chance that you can get a link from them too.

But the fun doesn't end there. Maybe some of these websites have already been linked to you? Ahrefs has a unique setting for that in the Link Intersect tool. Just enter your own website there and all sites that already link to you will be excluded

from the results.

So put in your URL and see how many websites link to all the articles at your competitor, but have never linked to any pages on your site. If you get zero results, then it means that all your competitors "superfans" already know about you. But you're not finished yet. You can go back and change this little setting from All to Any.

This will expand our results by including websites that link to any four of articles,

any three of articles, any two of articles and even any single article.

This will give you a list of sites that have linked to articles by our competitor but have never linked to us. Which makes them perfect outreach targets.

Clearly, there will be some trash here too but many legit websites can be easily identified. This might be long as well, but if you look at the intersect column, you will see that the number drops significantly.

Then you can do this with some other competitor as well.

2. Find the "power linkers"

You can find websites that link to a few blogs that you're competing with, but they have never linked to your own blog. You can put in five well-known blogs in your own industry and see how many websites have linked to all five of them but never linked to your site. The results you see will be a real goldmine of link building opportunities.

All these websites have mentioned content from all five of your competitors but have never linked to you. This has to be fixed!

You can send a personal outreach email to all the site owners and introduce them

to your blog, many of them will end up linking to you. And once you're done with all websites in that list you can repeat with five other blogs that you compete with. Or, you can play with that "All/Any" setting to expand the list of results the same way

we did when looking for "superfans."

All in all, with the help of Link Intersect tool in Ahrefs you should be able to discover

a ton of great link opportunities with just a few hours of work.

3. Analyse their latest backlinks

While taking action on the previous two strategies you should always pay attention to the date when each of the linking websites was last updated. Chances are many of the websites who are linking to your competitors probably did so quite a long time ago, but they're not actively updating their website anymore. While there's still a chance to persuade them to link to you, the likelihood drops rather significantly. So why don't you look at the most recently acquired links of your competitors.

In Ahrefs there is a report just for that, it's called New Backlinks. So look at who has linked to your competitors in the last few days. Just skim through a list of backlinks and look for domain names that look good. Then you can do a site: search on Google, to see if they have mentioned you or not. You can also go to the Referring Domains report and look for the linking site among them to verify that they have never linked to our website. If they haven't, that's the kind of a link opportunity that you should be looking for.

If they enjoy articles from your competitor, there is no doubt that you will be able to impress them with our own blog. And they might link to some of your articles later on.

Here's one last tip.

With Ahrefs you can receive email alerts every time your competitors get new backlinks. Just go to the Alerts section of Ahrefs, the Backlinks tab, and click New alert. But most likely your competitors are getting hundreds of new backlinks to their blog every week, or even every day. So if you set up a backlink alert for their entire website, or even entire blog you will quickly get overwhelmed with the amount of backlinks that Ahrefs will be sending via email. What we suggest you do instead is set up alerts for a bunch of individual articles from their blog that you care about the most.

So that's how you mine great link opportunities by researching who links to your competitors. In just a few hours of browsing their latest backlinks you can find enough opportunities to keep you busy for weeks ahead.