How To Find Competitor Backlinks? Build 5X More Backlinks With These Strategies!

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A blogger and analyst, John Allan, once defined backlinks in layman’s terms – “If you have a website and someone else links to it, that’s a backlink.”

But why are backlinks important? Why do you have to find your competitor’s backlinks, and what do search engines like Google have to say?

Take Hubspot as a case study. This B2B brand offers SaaS (Software as a Service) products to assist business owners in sales and marketing. Currently, Hubspot has approximately 61.8 million backlinks and ranks on Google’s first page for the keyword “marketing,” alongside other websites like Cyberclick and Marketingbusinessnews. 

However, don’t take the numbers for gold.

You can have millions of backlinks and still rank lower than a website with half a million links for the same relevant keyword. 

According to Google’s John Mueller, the uniqueness of each link is more important than numbers. So a website with thousands of low-quality backlinks will rank lower than another with just ten unique backlinks, all things being equal.

This is where finding your competitors’ backlinks comes in. These people have figured out what works and which websites are worth linking to. They implemented their strategy, and their website ranks well for the keywords you should be topping on SERPs. You can scale your brand to Google’s front page and other search engines by simply poaching their high-quality backlinks.

For context, we will explore five simple steps on how to find your competitors’ backlinks. But before that, let’s consider a question.

First off, we’ve answered a part of this question above. Replicating your competitors’ links ensures you work with “quality” only.

Secondly, link-building sounds so simple. After all, is it not just getting another website to link back to yours?

Well, that’s not exactly true. A lot of input and consideration goes into the practice, such as:

  • Doing intensive research to dig out a list of relevant and high-authority website owners willing to link back to you.
  • Sieving out pages with a high spam score.
  • Using link values like “follow” and “nofollow” wherever necessary to avoid getting penalized.
  • High-Quality content for an effective link-building strategy.
  • Building and monitoring links with SEO tools regularly to maintain relevance

So, instead of starting from scratch, why not just take the pie right from your competitor’s hand? Effortless, right?

Taking this shortcut doesn’t make your website substandard. If you do it well, you can rank higher on SERPs than your competitors.

In the remaining sections of this article, you will find the best way to find your competitors’ backlinks. Of course, we will also talk about how to use the reports to build 5X more backlinks.

As we said, replicating your competitors’ backlinks is one of the easiest and most foolproof methods to rank your website higher and even better.

Let’s say you run a CRM business like Hubspot and want more organic leads. Simply type CRM into Google and see what comes up, or see what we found below.

This first image shows Salesforce ranking first for a simple KW like “CRM.” Now imagine replicating Salesforce’s keyword. The outcome is enough to pull your website up some ranks. But that’s not all.

Wikipedia ranks for “CRM” alongside Salesforce and Hubspot. More often than not, you don’t want to ignore the little backlink they have since it must be so unique and relevant if it could push their website up on SERPs.

Now, the next thing is to analyze our domain-level competitors with SE Ranking again.

1. Analyze Domain-Level Competitors

Don’t forget that domain-level competitors have several thousand or even hundreds of thousands of similar keywords to yours. Let’s still use Hubspot as our intended website.

We want to find out Hubspot’s domain-level competitors. With SE Ranking, go to the competitive research section and insert in the URL box. It will show you all the relevant websites with as many keywords as Hubspot ranks. See the result below.

From the image, we can identify websites like Chron, Hootsuite, Wordstream, and NeilPatel. These are all websites that dominate the SERPs with Hubspot, and you should focus on them. 

You can also use other tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush. If you’re using Ahrefs, navigate to Site Explorer and input your domain. Under “Organic Search,” check for competing domains, and there you have your domain-level competitors topping the chart.

Follow the same steps for SEMRush and insert your website name into the analysis box. And when you scroll down to competing domains, you will see how many relevant websites compete with you for several similar keywords. SEMRush has a competition-level segment for easier identification of who your target domains should be.

Another aged method to check for domain-level competitors is by looking up your prized or target keyword on Google. The top five websites are most likely your answer. You might find some domain-level competitors on the second or third result page, but what matters is that you choose from those leading the rank.

2. Find Out Your Page-Level Competitors Too

When it comes to page-level competitors, these are domains that compete with you for a limited number of keywords. For example, googling “CRM” will bring you results from pages like Hubspot and Salesforce, but you’re also likely to see Wikipedia pop up. In this scenario, Wiki is a page-level domain with no direct relationship with keywords like “CRM” and does not compete with websites like Hubspot for a super long list of keywords.

Another easy way to quickly get things sorted is by using the “competitor level” bar on SEMRush. This bar depicts how many relevant keywords a website has in common with yours. SE Ranking also uses a similar feature called “Common Keywords.” Websites with extremely few common keywords might fall into the category of page-level domains.

Once you sift out your page-level competitors, it’s time to get our hands occupied with the steps below.

3. Analyze Top Relevant Websites

Now that we know our domain-level and page-level competitors, it’s time to extract their backlinks. Using SE Ranking, navigate to the backlink checker and insert the website of your top competitors one by one. Then click the “Active” button to show which backlinks are current and functioning.

Viola!!! There we have your ranking competitors’ backlinks.

Let’s put the theory into practice. Remember we got Hootsuite and Chron as two of the top domain-level competitors of Hubspot earlier? Insert Hootsuite in the backlink checker of your preferred tool – SE Ranking or Ahref. If you are using SE Ranking, you will see an “Active” button on the left panel. Click it to see the updated backlinks containing the websites linking to your competitor and their used anchor.

Once that’s done, repeat the same steps for your top-level competitors. Depending on the SEO tool you’re using, export each analysis report and keep it safe for the next step.

One quick tip – if these websites (often called referring domains) can link back to your competitor, then they can also link back to you. That’s why you should pay attention to reports. Look at the anchors that were used to link back or check out the article/post containing the anchor for a better understanding of how to approach these websites when it’s time.

4. Export Your Analysis Into A Spreadsheet

After segmenting your competitors’ backlinks, you can’t just leave it to pile up in the corner. Import your reports into a spreadsheet (easiest to use, except you have an alternative). Preferably, the top five backlinks of each competitor are a good place to start your outreach from.

You can create a separate spreadsheet for each competitor or merge them with proper titles if you know your way around the software. But before you get your tires screeching, we need to assess the quality of the links you exported.

There is a likely possibility that a single website links back to your competitor more than once through different anchors. In such situations, your SEO tool will show two different lines on the exported file. Sort this out by using filters to remove duplicate websites before exporting or by doing manual sieving after importing the analysis to a spreadsheet. This ensures you don’t waste time creating multiple outreach files for duplicate sites.

Also, it’s best to steer clear of links with high spam scores. The spam score represents how much a website has been penalized by search engines for one reason or another. Tools like Moz give you a more precise report for this metric. SE Ranking tool also works magic by showing you the trust level of each page that is linking back to your customer.

5. Start Your Outreach

Since you’ve gotten your “leads” or “list”, it’s time to target the website owners and ask if they could link back to your website. Sometimes, you might need to create a guest post where you get to insert your link and submit it to the target site.

And that’s all about finding your competitor’s backlinks.

We’ve taken you through the steps to find and replicate your competitors’ backlinks healthily, but there are some tips you should know.

1. Prioritize Content Quality

One interesting fact you should remember is that Google uses about 200 ranking factors to determine your position on SERPS, and link-building is just one of them. So while you invest in backlinks, don’t forget to balance other things, such as your content quality. Also, no one wants to link back to a trash article or research.

The same thing goes for guest posts. Invest just as much effort you put into writing ranking content for your website. If your guest post is subpar in quality, the website you’re trying to request a link from might flag your proposal red.

2. Leverage Broken Links

Broken links are links that are no longer available due to multiple reasons, like the website being moved to another domain or problems with previous content. You can always reach out to website owners and ask to replace their broken links with your site or post (most likely a guest post). The win is that your link is inserted in the replacement, and you earn a free backlink through mutual agreement.

Finding broken links is easy. If you’re using SE Ranking, analyze your target website’s backlinks. Then click on “Lost” on the left panel to check for broken links. Other tools like Ahrefs can show broken links through the same process as above.

3. Source Unique Data For Publishers

As an established marketer or business owner, there are some data in your closet that no one else can access. It could be from your private interview with another top marketer or simply a unique survey carried out by your brand.

On the other hand, some publishers need the data that you own. And that’s why HARO (Help a reporter out) was created to connect you, the data source, with publishers. Whenever a publisher uses your data or survey, they also make reference to you. Every reference equals a high-quality and easily earned backlink.

To get started on HARO, create a free account with your active email, and you will start receiving queries from different publishers. One downside is there are several other data sources like you looking for backlinks. So make sure to send your pitch to the publisher as fast as possible for a higher chance of being selected.


Backlinks are more or less gold mines. And a greater number of unique links pointing to your website or pages means a higher ranking on search engine results pages. With that, you can take a share of the approximately 92% of traffic allocated to “front page” sites on search engines.

Follow the steps above to figure out your competitors. Afterward, use your preferred SEO tool to analyze their backlinks and export the result into a spreadsheet. Start segmenting your list and reaching out for link-building. Before you know it, you’d have built tons of high-quality backlinks to rocket your site up various search engines.

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