There are lots of ways to spy out a competitor’s moves in the internet marketing world. All websites are public. All websites are visible. Therefore all public activities of a website can be studied. One of those things are the backlinks of any website. And since you and your competitors are on the same playing field, why not try a little competition backlink trolling?
Getting a Sneak Peak
Of course, your competitors are competitors for a reason – you both have the same target market, the same niche, the same kind of business, perhaps even the same product. Knowing that, you can either lag behind your competition – or you can lead it. But let’s face it, there’s always something you’re competitors have that you don’t and vice versa. There are links that you have that he doesn’t have and vice versa.
Isn’t it easier to just get your link prospects from good ones in your competition’s backlinks?
Yahoo Site Explorer
Free is always good. Yahoo Site Explorer is shutting down on 2012 – but as of now it’s one of the most powerful, comprehensive free backlink explorer tool that’s easily available. You only need to put in the desired site URL in the text area and the tool will automatically feed you with all the backlinks that the specific webpage/website has.
From there, you can follow the backlinks to check if it really is a good website to get a link from. It has its own limitations though – Yahoo Site Explorer can only check out up to 1,000 results. But I’m sure you’ll already be smothered up with a handful of prospects with that list alone.
Advanced Search operators
You can use advanced search queries such as link:relatedsite.com -site:relatedsite.com
link:relatedsite.com – This will tell you all the backlinks of that specific website as a search engine results page
-site:relatedsite.com – This should narrow the result to the website only however the ‘-‘ sign before the ‘site:’ operator will do the opposite. So all results will exclude the website you put in.
If you combine these two operators, it will reveal a result that would show all the links pointing to relatedsite.com excluding internal links from relatedsite.com
Open Site Explorer
Among all the paid backlink explorers, I think this is the one that I would advice you to go for (when Yahoo Site Explorer shuts down on 2010). SEOMoz’s Open Site Explorer features a very detailed set of data that they extract from their Linkscape crawler.
Open Site Explorer lets you view all the things you need to know about a website – from backlinks, to domain authority, page authority, Facebook shares, Facebook likes, Tweets, and just recently, Google +1’s.
You can check out a more in-depth review about Open Site Explorer by Search Engine Land’s Debra Mastaler.
Tips for Keeps: Just keep yourself updated with the latest links your competitors are acquiring. Perhaps you could get some of those – then go deeper. Check out the backlinks of the websites that link to your competitors too.