'Search Engines'

Tracking your competitors' backlinks (Part I)

27 APR 2011 17

In theory, to rank better than your competitors you will need to build more inbound links (quality ones, quantity does not necessarily prevail here), next to some readable and good-flowing content. If you have read my previous articles on Lifeline Design you should know that my experience has taught me magazine-style content doesn’t outrank “normal” writing style and you don’t have to hold a PhD in English literature to hold the top spot for competitive keywords.

There are several tools out there that will help you analyze competitors’ backlinks. I briefly mentioned some of them in the second part of the SEO for newbies tutorial, I will elaborate a bit on them and mention a few more. I will further assume you run an auto repair shop in Hamilton, Ontario and you are competing for the keyphrase car repair services Hamilton.

The first result that pops in the query on Google.CA is this:


Depending on your geographical location, you might get different results, as I explained in the article on local factors that influence search engine ranking placements. Let’s see how you can find out who is linking to Paul’s Automotive Service.

Yahoo Site Explorer

YSE is a free service offered by Yahoo! and you will only need a Yahoo account to use it. Point your browser to https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/. Log in if required. Paste the competitor’s URL in the topmost bar and hit “Explore URL”:


On the “Inlinks” tab select Show Inlinks: except from this domain and to: entire site. And here you go, you have the competitor’s (most relevant) inbound links.


SEO Panel

You will need to download the script from seopanel.in and set it up on your hosting account (drop us a note if you need to host the script and we will help you out). I won’t get into details, the installation is quite straightforward and described on the developer’s website. SEO Panel won’t show the individual links but provide you with total numbers, so you can have a rough estimate on where you’re standing.

Log in, go to Admin Panel then click Website Manager on the left menu. Choose New Website. Fill in the name (an identification you can later refer this site by) and the URL. The other fields are optional and you can click “Crawl Meta Data” to get them filled in automatically.


Once you have saved the new site, get back to the Seo Tools tab and click Keywords manager. Choose New Keyword. Fill in the details and hit Proceed. The free version of SEO Panel only supports Google.com, but if you find the tool useful you can donate $10 or so and receive support for other Google sites.


Next, go to Backlinks Checker and select your website. Hit Proceed, then go to Backlinks Reports. You should get something in the line of this:


The second part of this article will discuss SEO Spyglass together with a few other tricks on how to track your competitors’ backlinks.

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