ahrefs overview

Unlocking Ahrefs: A Comprehensive Guide to Researching Competitors’ Backlinks

In the fiercely competitive landscape of the digital world, understanding your competitors’ strategies and their backlinks can be a game-changer for your website’s success. Backlinks are a critical component of SEO, influencing your website’s authority, visibility, and search engine rankings. In this article, we will delve into the world of Ahrefs and demonstrate how to effectively research competitors’ backlinks to gain valuable insights and enhance your own SEO efforts.

What is Ahrefs?

Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool renowned for its comprehensive backlink analysis capabilities. With a vast database of indexed URLs and continuous updates, it provides detailed insights into your website’s backlink profile as well as your competitors’. Ahrefs offers a range of features like Site Explorer, Content Explorer, Keywords Explorer, and more, but here we will focus specifically on using Site Explorer to research competitors’ backlinks.

Step 1: Sign Up and Navigate to Site Explorer

To get started, sign up for an Ahrefs account. Ahrefs offers different subscription plans, so choose one that aligns with your needs and budget. After signing up, navigate to the Site Explorer tool.

ahrefs site explorer

Step 2: Enter Competitor’s URL

Enter your competitor’s URL into the search bar provided by the Site Explorer tool and click on the orange button.

Step 3: Overview of Competitor’s Backlinks

Once you hit  the orange button, you’ll be taken to the Overview section, providing a snapshot of your competitor’s backlink profile. You’ll see the following key metrics:

  • Domain Rating (DR): A proprietary metric by Ahrefs that represents a website’s overall authority.
  • Backlinks: The total number of backlinks the website has.
  • Referring Domains: The number of unique domains linking to the website.
  • Organic Keywords: The number of keywords the website ranks for in organic search.
  • Organic Traffic: The estimated monthly organic traffic the website receives.
  • And a whole lot more… 

ahrefs overview

Step 4: Analyzing Backlinks

Now, let’s dive deeper into the backlinks themselves to understand their quality, quantity, and relevance.

1. Referring Domains

Click on “Referring Domains” to view the list of unique domains linking to your competitor’s site. Ahrefs allows you to sort and filter these domains based on various parameters like DR, traffic, and more.

ahrefs RD

2. Backlinks

Click on “Backlinks” to see a comprehensive list of all the backlinks your competitor has obtained. You can sort, filter, and export this data for further analysis.

ahref backlinks

3. New and Lost Backlinks

Ahrefs also offers the ability to track new and lost backlinks of your competitor over time, which can provide valuable insights into their link-building efforts.

ahrefs new and lost links

Step 5: Analyzing Backlink Metrics

Ahrefs provides various backlink metrics that help assess the quality and impact of each backlink. Understanding these metrics is crucial in gauging the strength of your competitor’s backlink profile.

1. Domain Rating (DR)

Domain Rating (DR) is a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100 that represents the overall authority of a website. The higher the DR of a linking domain, the more valuable the backlink is.

2. URL Rating (UR)

URL Rating (UR) is similar to DR, but it measures the strength of a specific URL rather than the entire domain.

3. Referring Domains (RD)

Referring Domains (RD) refers to the number of unique domains linking to a website. Having a diverse set of referring domains indicates a healthy backlink profile.

4. Organic Traffic (OT)

Organic Traffic (OT) estimates the monthly organic search traffic that a referring domain receives. Links from domains with substantial organic traffic can potentially drive more visitors to your site. That being said, the main purpose of aquiring referring domain links should be to increase your websites overall DR and individual page UR.

5. Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text that contains the hyperlink. Analyzing anchor text can help you understand the keywords or topics that the competitor is targeting.

Step 6: Spy on Competitor’s Top Pages

Ahrefs allows you to see which pages on your competitor’s website have the most backlinks. This information can reveal the type of content that resonates well with their audience and attracts backlinks.

ahrefs competitor top pages

Step 7: Identify Link Building Opportunities

By now, you have gained valuable insights into your competitor’s backlink profile. It’s time to leverage this information to identify potential link building opportunities for your own site.

1. Find Competitor’s Broken Backlinks

Look for broken backlinks pointing to your competitor’s site. These are opportunities for you to reach out to the linking domains and suggest your content as an alternative.

2. Discover Unlinked Mentions

Ahrefs can help you find websites that mention your competitor but haven’t linked to them. Reach out to these sites and kindly request them to link to your relevant content instead.

3. Leverage the Best Assets

Determine what your competitors most linked to pages are. Analyze the page that is being linked, then create something much better. Reach out to the linking pages and offer up your content. There is good chance a portion of them will link.

4. Bonus Tip

Analyze the best assets of ALL of your competitors. See if there is overlap, then create a content piece that can be used to outreach to all of them.

Get Started

Ahrefs is an indispensable tool for researching competitors’ backlinks and gaining valuable insights to improve your SEO strategy. By understanding your competitor’s link-building efforts, you can identify opportunities to strengthen your own backlink profile and boost your website’s authority and rankings.

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