How to Win Links and Leap Through Rankings With Competitor Analysis

How to Win Links and Leap Through Rankings With Competitor Analysis
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In this guest post, Helvijs Smoteks from Linkody explains how to assess your comeptitors’ backlinks and grab them for yourself.

“It is nice to have a valid competitor, it pushes you to do better” – Gianni Versace

Competition is a great thing in business. Examining someone else’s strategies can drive motivation and deliver powerful insights. Piggybacking off of your competitors’ successes and weaknesses can catapult you into the top ranking.

But how do you get this information? You could spend time every day checking rankings and analyzing the competition, but this just isn’t realistic for most businesses and agencies.

That’s where a host of powerful competitor analysis tools can help. In this post, I’ll explain how to analyse rankings on Google Maps, and how to monitor your competitor’s citations. By the end of this post, you’ll have in your arsenal the know-how to develop a successful local optimization strategy.

Leverage Information from Google Maps to Improve Business Website Rankings

Seeing which competitors are ranking on Google Maps’ top spots is one of the first critical elements of competitor analysis. It’s important to track your rankings on Google Maps, and you’ll want to use a tool that can check your website’s ranking and show you its position, in real time, for your targeted locations. Fortunately, there are several online tools that can simplify the process and save time!

Let’s examine three tools which can make a huge difference to your local SEO strategy:

GeoRanker’s Local Rank Checker

When it comes to tracking competitor progress, GeoRanker lets you automatically see all of the position changes and provides you with a report on how well your competition stacked up in the past.

Whitespark Local Rank Tracker

With Whitespark, you can move beyond basic rank tracking, geo-locating your searches at the zip code level. You can also track multiple locations to find out how you rank across different areas of your city. Critically, this feature can also be used to scope out how the competition is doing.

BrightLocal Google My Business Audit

BrightLocal has a useful tool that you can use to examine important local ranking signals in a single report, which helps you to prioritize tasks that will boost your local search engine ranking.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be using BrightLocal to investigate Google Maps data.

How to Analzye Google Maps Rankings with BrightLocal

Let’s get down to it! Say we own a pastry shop selling cupcakes in London. Naturally, we’ll want to check if people looking for our cupcakes can find them online.

Just by searching on Google Maps for “cupcakes in London”, we can see that our competitor, Crumbs and Doilies appears to rank above us:

Cupcakes in London Google Maps search

If we enter our business details into BrightLocal, the tool will crawl the web to find where the site actually ranks in Local SERPs:

Business Details setup in BrightLocal

After 1-2 minutes of simple setup, we’ll be able to compare the two cupcake shops. We just have to navigate to Rankings (1), head over to the Competitor section (2), and click on Google Maps (3).

BrightLocal Search Rankings

With this information, we’re able to see that Lola’s Cupcakes actually ranks in the first spot, overall, with proximity likely being the only factor pushing Crumbs & Doilies ahead.

Boosting rankings on Google Maps is very similar to ranking websites on Google. The most important part is getting backlinks and Local Citations, which are things like mentions in local directories and on review sites. Let’s take a look at some tools which can monitor competitor citations.

Monitoring Your Competitors’ Local Citations

You of course want to be visible to prospects, but citations can impact local search engine rankings both positively (if the citations are accurate) and negatively (if they’re not).

Luckily, there are tools that can gauge where your citations are, help you spot new opportunities, and see how your competitors are doing.

Moz’s Local Citations Tracker

The Local Citations Tracker from Moz helps local business owners to track and manage their citations. You can enter your business data, and then that data is automatically pushed out to a set number of platforms with no further effort.

BrightLocal’s Citation Tracker

With BrightLocal’s Citation Tracker you can find incorrect NAP issues and duplicate citations so that you can improve on your local optimization efforts. Citation Tracker exposes your competitors’ local and niche citations that you can use to boost your authority.

How to Monitor and Accrue Your Competitors’ BackLinks

Whether you are in an ultra-competitive industry or simply selling cupcakes, keeping your competitors within sight and monitoring their backlinks is of the utmost importance. The following tools can help you do exactly that.

SEMRush Backlink Management Tool

SEMRush can help you compare your backlink profile with your competitors to help you spot hidden backlink opportunities. With the Backlink Management Tool, you can benchmark your backlink profile against up to six competitors – to discover strengths and weaknesses, and find successful ideas.

Cognitive SEO

You can use Cognitive SEO to put your competitors’ homepages in the Instant Backlink Explorer Tool and download the report of their latest links.

Linkody Online Tool

With Linkody you can become aware of when you are gaining or losing links and analyze your link profile with a myriad metrics. This tool can be used to monitor your backlinks as well as your competitors and help you gain a competitive advantage.

How to Take Your Competitors’ Backlinks

All three of the above-mentioned tools will help you to find your competitors’ backlinks. The only thing you need to know is your competitor’s website and these tools will do the rest.

If you followed through the first part of the guide, then this part is exactly the same. You need to sign up to one of the live backlink checkers, add the competitor’s websites you want to track and the tool will pull a report containing all their backlinks.

Once that’s done you’ll be able to see how many backlinks your site has compared to the one of competitors’. Most of these tools allow you to filter the backlinks and select the ones that the competitor site has but yours doesn’t.

So, after using a backlink checker we found that Lola’s Cupcakes has 216 backlinks while Crumbs and Doilies has 225. Therefore, just by getting few more backlinks it should be theoretically possible to surpass Doilies’ pastry shop.

So what’s next?

Once you have a list of all the backlinks, you can do one of two things:

  1. Paste the website into hunter.io, find the relevant email and manually contact each website asking if they would be interested in adding any additional resources that link back to your site.
  2. Add these URLs to an outreach tool and automatically contact all of them.

Over to You!

If you follow this strategy, everyone in your neighborhood will know about your business. That’s (almost) guaranteed.

At first it might seem a bit complicated, but once you get a hold of this strategy you will be surprised how quick it will be to:

  • Monitor your rankings on Google Maps
  • Add additional citations
  • Win your competitor’s backlinks

This could easily become a monthly habit of every successful local business owner.

Good luck, and I hope this helps!

Helvijs Smoteks is an SEO-mastering, content-smithing marketer who spends his days at Linkody helping SEOs monitor their backlink data.

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