If you are serious about ranking high within the search engine result pages and are serious about SEO then you will know that obtaining high authority, quality links from related website is one of the main factors in increasing ranking position.
Links can be achieved through a number of methods. Sourcing high authority blogs with link bait ideas, paid directories (yahoo directory) which offer instant boosts for a fee or article marketing and free directory submissions.
Working within a success SEO company, we are constantly challenge by our clients to ‘beat’ the competition. I am sure the competition are saying the same thing! Regardless, one of the main principles of SEO is ranking high within the serp’s for the keywords chosen by the clients. Achieving this requires back links and where better to start than analysing the back links of your nearest and dearest competitors? Gaining the knowledge of how your competitors rank high for a competitive keyword is a crucial aspect of successful SEO. Once you understand these links you are able to emulate their most valuable links aligned with your own strategy to move ahead in the search result pages.
There are many tools which you can use to analyse competitor back links. The SEO moz open site explorer is a fantastic tool for link popularity and backlink analysis. Alternatively you can explore competitor back links through Yahoo site explorer. Principally these tools are great in sourcing competitor back links but a personal favourite of mine is SEO Spyglass produced by Link Assistant.
The tool is designed to offer user friendly analysis of your competitors back links. What separates this tool from open site explorer and site explorer is the Interface. The tool automatically imports links from a chosen search engine and provides useful information on the quality of the links. This ranges from Alexa rank to the Google page rank and even the anchor text used in the link. Extremely useful information. In a nut shell SEO Spyglass offers a clean, easy to use interface which allows you gain insight into the link building activities of your competitors.
SEO Spyglass in all its glory:
What it tells you:
Here are some of the main features of SEO spyglass which make it one of my must use tools.
: The total number of backlinks your competitor has.(up to 25,000 limit)
Back links aren’t a popularity contest. High amounts of back links doesn’t automatically suggest high ranking positions but having the knowledge of exactly how many back links competitors have is crucial when forming seo competitor analysis.
: The Google PageRank of every backlink
High authority websites typically have a respectable page rank number. SEO Spyglass brings up both the page authority and the domain authority for the competitors back link. This information is crucial for a successful back link strategy as the interface makes sorting by page rank a walk in the park.
: The Alexa Traffic Rank of every backlink
Find out which sites are driving the most traffic to your competitors. Links from high-traffic pages are valuable in SEO terms but also increase the amount of exposure and traffic to the domain.
: The total number of PageRank 0 to PageRank 10 backlinks your competitor has.
Page authority is crucial way to measure the quality of the back link. Essentially the higher the number of page rank the better quality the link is.
: Domain IP & country.
If you are targeting the UK search market then harbouring links from UK based websites will increase your ranking position within country specific search engines ie: google.co.uk.
: The exact anchor texts and anchor URLs your competitors are using.
Anchor text driven link backs provide huge boosts when attempting to rank for a specific keyword. Within Spyglass you can sort the fields by anchor text meaning you can target websites which link back to your competitors using the keyword anchor text you want to rank for. This is a one of my favourite features.
: How many of your competitor’s backlinks come from forums and blogs
Social media is the buzz word at the moment, especially with online content and the social web driving our web activities. This feature will enable you to analyse forums/blogs your competitors are posting on. It may uncover some niche communities within your sector you previously were unaware of.
: How many of your competitor’s backlinks come from homepages of other sites, rather than internal pages.
You will find that paid links will usually appear on the homepage and this aspect of SEO Spyglass will help determine whether your competitors are paying for links. Natural link building will typically involve internal pages within blog posts.
: Whether or not your competitor has backlinks from DMOZ or the Yahoo! Directory.
Some directories carry large levels of authority. Both DMOZ and the Yahoo Directory are two of these directories. SEO Spyglass quickly tells you whether your competitors have their site within these directories.
: The exact link value of every backlink your competitor has.
SEO Spyglass uses its own algorithm to rank and score links based on a variety of different metrics. More valuable links will have a higher score.
: The exact age of every Website linking back to your competitor
Domain age is another of Google’s algorithms which dictates ranking position. Older domains are seen as having strong authority. Old fossil websites are crucial when link building. They have the power. Well in Google’s eyes that is.
SEO Spyglass doesn’t offer you anymore link backs than other software which is available. Yahoo site explorer offers the same information for free. So you may ask, why use SEO Spyglass? The beauty of Spyglass is the interface and the way it displays the information. Bringing all the information together within one program not only saves time but also enables you to be able to quickly sort by different Google algorithm’s to produce a broad range of link opportunities.
Like every program available. SEO Spyglass is not perfect. It does have its limitations. SEO Spyglass is limited to 1,100 links within the free version and 25,000 within the paid version. Although 25,000 is a great number, it doesn’t provide clarity on the total back links for a larger organisation (Topman the retail shop has over 53 thousand back links). This could potentially lead to missed link opportunities.
Another limitation is the link data it uses. This is pulled from Yahoo site explorer. Although the data is accurate it can be out of date. New links sometimes take time to find their way into the Yahoo site explorer index. Essentially the update period may prevent you from discovering new links which Yahoo hasn’t yet shown. These are very minor limitations as the Yahoo link data is the best available and 25,000 links is a huge amount of links. They should keep you busy for some time.
Free to try. Limited to 1,100 back links.
Blue Claw Ryan’s Verdict:
When looking for competitor link opportunities then SEO Spyglass is hard to beat. Instead of trawling through a list of websites who link to your competitors, Spyglass allows you to sort by Google page rank, anchor text and domain age to name a few. This aspect of the software is crucial for successful link building as you are able to disregard the websites with no authority and target those websites which are giving your competitors ranking positions. The interface is excellent and enables you to look at link building from a number of perspectives. You can try before you buy and all data can be saved and projects revisited through the professional and enterprise versions.
What do you use?
We are always keen to know what else is available on the market. What other tools do you use? Do you have any experiences of SEO Spyglass? What are your opinions of the tool?
Thanks for reading,
Blue Claw Ryan