Link Building

How to check backlinks of competitors and get more backlinks to your site

Michael Kuzmin

As confirmed by Google a few years ago, backlinks are among the top considered factors in the search engine rankings. You want your page or site to rank at the top. Well, this article is a great resource explaining in detail how to check competitors' backlinks and eventually replicate them for your own. Does this sound complex? If you think so, wait, let's show you the most straightforward steps around this.

"Work smarter, not harder," perhaps, you're already familiar with this phrase. This article shares tips on how to spy on what your competitor backlinking plans effectively. You will be letting them handle the most challenging parts while you only come in to interpret the results. 

Let's start from here.

Why check your competitors' backlinks?

Whether online or not, a business is all about competition; who is at the top always draws a lot of concern and interest because it means a lot. You would want to snoop into a competitor's links profile to discover their strategies, how they win quality backlinks to their sites, their SEO plans, and so on to dethrone them and assume their ranking positions.

Today, multiple software is ready to assist you to check your competitors’ backlinks in complete analytical procedures. Here is a list of them. The audit comprises overall details on various links; do-follow, no-follow links, image backlinks, anchor text, etc.

While they relatively perform similar works, there are those best for beginners, intermediate digital marketers, and even pros with some free additional premium. They reveal insight details found on both page and domain level, thus giving you a clue on what contributes to their top rank. 

Ahrefs is a common software you can use to view competitors' backlinks in complete detail. 


Check best 10 backlink checker tools. Compare and choose the one that’s more suitable for solving your tasks.

Based on the above information, let's now get into how to check your competitors' backlinks. Below are five well-analyzed steps that work effectively with the Ahrefs software. 

5 steps for finding competitor backlinks using Ahrefs:

1. Find your competitors

Before finding competitors’ backlinks, the first step you should consider is identifying these people/ businesses. The main ones are two:

  1. The traditional competitors refer to those businesses dealing in the same niche/ industry as yours but have a physical establishment near your location. In other terms, they are your direct business rivals.
  2. Search Competitors: These are now the online guts. They have websites and could also be found as part of the traditional competitors. 

At this step, we describe how to search and check main competitors from your niche, in order to see the competitor's backlinks profile go forward directly to point 3.

Open the Site Explorer tool in Ahrefs, you need to specify your domain, and go to the Competing domains section as shown in the image below, and proceed to the next step.

Competing Domains
Competing Domains section

2. Select a competitor's site

Competing Domains on Ahrefs
Competing Domains on Ahrefs 

In the Competing domains report, you’ll see the main competitors of your site, it’ll show: unique competitors keywords and keyword intersections between your site and the competitor, as well as the keywords quantity. We recommend taking for the analysis of competitors with whom the maximum overlap by keywords. Once you have found a competitor, proceed to the next step.

Explanation: in the basic Ahrefs pricing & packages, it’s possible to see only 10 competitors, but if you upgrade the plan to a more expensive one, then you’ll be able to see more competitors' sites.

3.Tracking competitors' backlinking tactics

Open the competitors website with the largest keyword overlap in Site Explorer, as shown in the image below.

Then click on the Backlinks section. 

Go to Backlinks to check competitors' links
Go to Backlinks to check competitors' links 

Your focus should be on the 'backlinks' and 'referring domain' results from the display results. For further analysis of these results, you can alter the indexes and look at both history and live links plus more, including making comparisons – these will also include the domain-level and page-level analysis, which remains critical to this course.

Competitor's backlinks report in Ahrefs 

It is easier to notice those sites/ domains with more effectiveness towards acquiring backlinks through these filtered results. If you find websites that seem to get links first, these are worthy of deeper analysis. 

Once you check the "Backlink results, also analyze the 'referral domains.' Here, there will be a comprehended analysis of various sites linking to a particular website you are analyzing. Detailed filtering will lead you to a specific website from which your competitor is obtaining backlinks. Now, this is how you check competitor backlinks. From these sites, you can navigate to find their contacts, which will be helpful in the subsequent process.

The best way to find competitors' backlinks through this search method is to consider the real-time backlinks showing fulfilling records. The process is simple: find backlinks of competitors, then proceed to filter analysis of the referral link section, then choose barographs for better visual illustration.

4. Write an email requesting backlinks

With the email addresses from various potential sources, you can now draft them messages requesting backlinks.

Email sample to get a link in an article where a competitor is already published
Email sample to get a link in an article where a competitor is already published

This process should not take your entire time. The best way to approach it is to use some of the email managing software, especially if you will be dealing with lots of emails. This way, you can quickly and most conveniently track particular requests and their corresponding responses.

Note, however, that at times, you might need to incur certain expenses. Some sites you contact will require payment per link. You may, at times, need to provide an article for publishing instead. The charges on this strongly depend on the site's domain authorities; those with high always charge extravagantly and vice versa. 

5. Get links to your site

When the webmasters positively to your emails, there will be a greater chance to win quality backlinks. In some cases, you can request as many backlinks as possible if you provide the content; however, note that Google has become smarter lately. They will trash anything spammy.

Therefore, it is always to ensure the content provided for publishing is top-notch with value-adding details. Next, you will also have to follow other SEO schemes such as keyword density, readability, flow, etc. 

Last Thoughts

Check competitors’ backlinks might only sound a little complicated when you are starting this off. The above explanation gives you the critical baby steps into designing a quality backlink structure for top ranking. Nevertheless, do not throw in the towel to the rest of the factors determining quality ranking on any leading search engine. 

Michael Kuzmin
Co-Founder 10х Agency. 10 years in Sales&Marketing. The last 4 years specializing in link-building processes and outreach development.