I know how it is being stuck at a certain position in the search engines for a keyword and not being able to move up at all, no matter what I do. No matter how many links I build or what kind my website just sits in the same position, losing all the traffic to the guys in front of me. I have a little technique I use to give my websites a boost when they seem to be stuck where they’re at, and it works extremely well.
The tools available today for looking at your websites backlinks are extremely robust and so feature driven you can rank a website using the data from them alone. I’ve used lots of tools for checking backlinks to my websites and there are two that I always end up going back to: Yahoo Site Explorer and Open Site Explorer. Open Site Explorer is much more intuitive and gives all kinds of cool data for links but Yahoo Site Explorer is more comprehensive with a larger data set, so I like to use both and cross reference the data when I can.
ANYWAY….lets jump into it.
I’m going to use Yahoo Site Explorer to show you how to do this, It’s literally push button simple so don’t worry if your techie skills are lacking. Basically what we’re going to do is look at the inbound links of the top competitors for the target keyword and try to replicate their link profile. That way we have the same links as them on top of any links we’ve built using other methods. People often use Site Explorers to look at their own inbound link data but don’t realize it’s just as powerful for looking at your competitors links so you can copy their link profile and outrank them.
So here’s what we need to do:
1.) Pick a keyword. You need to find a keyword that you want to improve your ranking for. This usually works best for me with a keyword where I’m on the first page but in a lower position. I’m going to target the keyword “Myspace Advertisements” which I currently rank #6 for.
2.) Look at the Top 10 Results. Looking at this search engine results page, I’m probably not going to outrank the official MyAds website so we won’t even look at that one. You generally don’t want to target big authority or brand sites like Wikipedia, CNet, TechCrunch, etc. because the link relevancy is likely less of a ranking factor than brand bias.
3.) Pick a Website to Reverse Engineer. Pick a website in the top 10 that’s ranking in front of you that isn’t a brand or authority site to reverse engineer. I’m going to go with MySocialMarketing.com because it’s the first result that meets the criteria I outlined above. If there is a specific page ranking make sure you note that page so you can see the inbound links going to the exact page that is ranking.
4.) Go to Yahoo Site Explorer. Copy the website that you want to reverse engineer and paste it into the Explore URL box.
5.) Click on Inlinks and select “Except From This Domain.” Click on the button that says Inlinks and select “Except from this domain” on the dropdown. This is going to show you all of the inbound links in the YSE link graph for the website you entered.
6.) Find Places to Post Your Link. Look at the results that show up and find websites that you can get a backlink from. If there is no way to leave a comment or backlink, contact the owner of the website and ask if they will link to your website. Give them a good reason to do so like being a more up-to-date or informative resource than the competitor. Just asking and not pointing out how it would add value to their website will hurt your odds.
Usually you won’t have to do too much outreach and you’ll find plenty of websites that you can openly leave a backlink on.
Looking at the results for my YSE search there are quite a few places that I can easily leave a link on. YSE generally does a pretty good job of ordering link importance from top to bottom, so start from the top and work your way down.
After checking out a few of the sites I found a blogger blog that allowed me to leave an auto-approved comment with my link and keyword as the anchor text (Myspace Advertising).
7.) Wash, Rinse, and Repeat. That’s all there is to finding where your competitors get their backlinks and duplicating their link profile. It’s a SUPER simple process that is surprisingly effective. If you can get inbound links from the same places as the competitor above you why SHOULDN’T you rank higher?
The best part is that if you still don’t move up you can just do this with another competitors website over and over until your website moves up in the search results. There really are no boundaries with this and it will make your website rank better. For some link variation try using the Open Site Explorer mentioned earlier as well – you might find even more link opportunities.
If you have an employee, intern, VA, or anything of that sort this is a great task to delegate to them because of the simplicity. Just have them follow this guide and you’ll be on your way to higher search engine placements.
Ok…I just handed you an exact blueprint for passing up your competitors and getting more traffic. Now…go and actually implement this instead of noting it as a ‘to do” for later. Enjoy and keep me posted on your progress!