Quality link building services
First, sign up for a free account at ahrefs.com. ahrefs is a service that specializes in backlink analysis and much like SEOmoz and Majestic SEO, they use their own index of the Internet to do so. This is important to know, because the backlink numbers that you’ll get from each of these services are going to be different. Each of them have their own, individual index and none of them have the entire Internet in their database, so the numbers vary.
Once you’ve signed up for a free account, go to the Site Explorer tab and enter the URL of a site you want to analyse:
In this example, I’m looking at the backlink profile for the top ranking site for one of the fitness-related terms I’m going after. You can do the same by just doing a standard Google search for your target keyword and then analysing the top listed sites in ahrefs.
In the resulting overview, there are three factors that are particularly interesting to us:
A) Total Number of Backlinks The lower this number, the better for us.
B) Referring IP Addresses and Class C Subnets These numbers tell us how many different servers the links are coming from. Since you can theoretically just build a lot of sites of your own on a shared hosting account and use them all to build backlinks to one of your sites, IP addresses/IP blocks of backlinks are something that Google pays attention to and there’s a stronger correlation between referring IP blocks and high rankings than between just the total number of backlinks and high rankings.
C) Backlink Trend The blue line shows how many new links ahrefs picked up in the past 30 days and the red line indicates how many previously found links were removed. In this example, I’m in luck, because we can see that this competitor is not actively and consistently building links. Check this graph for your competitors’ sites to see if you are up against “moving targets” or not.
This is great competitive intelligence to have, before you enter a niche or go after a keyword. But the next bit is where things get very interesting for link building:
In the “Backlinks” tab (1), you’ll see a list of all the backlinks ahrefs could find, sorted by a “Page Rating” value. Unfortunately, I could not find any exact explanation of how this Page Rating is calculated, but I assume that it’s based on factors such as PageRank, number of outgoing links and more.
If this is a competitor’s site you are looking at, look through the list of backlinks (especially the first few pages with the highest-value backlinks) to see if there are any you can replicate for yourself. For example, if you see that there are blog comment links, go leave a comment on those same blogs. If there are links from site profiles, go register to those sites and create your own profile. Even if they are in-text links on blogs or other websites, you can consider approaching those site owners and finding a way to get your link in there as well. If you are promoting and selling your own product or service, you often have added leverage for this, as you can ask people to review your service, if they’ve already reviewed a competing one, you can cut them a better deal, if they are affiliates for your competitors etc.
What’s important to keep in mind is a good return on the time and effort you invest. If you find a really high-value link-opportunity, using ahrefs, then it’s worth making the extra effort to see if you can secure that backlink for yourself (from a high PageRank, high traffic site, for example). Don’t waste your time chasing after low-quality links, though. We can build more than enough of those using the various automated steps in Backlink Battleplan 2.0.
In the “Anchors” tab (2), you’ll see what anchor texts are used in the backlinks to the site you are analysing. This is another interesting factor for competitive analysis, as you can figure out whether a competing site is really mainly optimizing for your target
keyword. If most of their links have an anchor text other than your main keyword, that will make it easier for you to rank.
Finally, note that you can export this data (3). You’ll get a nice excel spread sheet including a list of all the linking pages. You can use this as a link-mining method to find backlinks to your site and use the top listed URLS (the ones with the highest Page Rating) to create link hubs.