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How to Find Your Competitors Best Content (and Steal their Links)

17 April 2014 BY

thief

For the last year or so I’ve been lucky enough to see URLProfiler evolve from an idea into something that has saved me, without exaggeration, hundreds of hours. Chris Dyson has already written about link classification, which is the most common reason for using the tool (if you’re involved in link cleanups you need to read that post) but today I’m going to look at ways to help your content creation.

Before we get into the detail I should start by saying that it’s been developed by a good friend in the industry but this post is in no way sponsored (other than, hopefully, by a ‘thank you’ beer or two when we hit Mozcon in July!).

So, we’ve all spent time analysing competitor links and looking for opportunities but that doesn’t always give you the full picture. The following process will talk you through identifying and analysing competitor content, making it better, finding out who’s linking to it, and then building an outreach list.

Step 1: Create a List of Their Pages

Whether you use Screaming Frog, or just grab their XML Sitemap, URLProfiler makes it easy to add a list of URLs. In this example I’m going to target get inspiration from Brian Dean, aka Backlinko.

First we add the location of his XML sitemap to Profiler…

URLProfiler-1-GetURLs

… which is as easy as adding the location.

URLProfiler-2-XMLSitemap

From there we just need to select the data that we’re looking for.

URLProfiler-3-ScanOptions

If you’re grabbing metrics or whois data, don’t forget to add your API tokens by going to Settings -> Accounts.

URLProfiler-4-MajesticSEO

Once that’s done, just hit ‘Run Profiler’ and wait.

URLProfiler-5-SiteScan

Step 2: Working with the data

URLProfiler-6-Finished

The speed depends on how many URLs you’re checking, but this example took just over a minute to run. At that point you need to download the spreadsheet and marvel at the wealth of information now at your fingertips.

URLProfiler-7-Spreadsheet

I won’t go into the details here, but you’re able to find out pretty much everything you need to know about a page. Start by scrolling across and ordering by ‘Majestic URL Ref Domains’. Ordering the sheet by this column will instantly show you the content that’s generated the most links.

URLProfiler-8-OrderByDomains

If you’re interested in Social metrics, they’re here too (you might find it useful to do a quick ‘sum’ and combine these into a total column.

URLProfiler-9-SocialMetrics

Scroll back over to the left, and you now have an ordered list of the most popular content.

URLProfiler-10-PopularContent

Step 3: Using Backlinko’s Advice Against Him

I’m not evil, so I haven’t actually done this, but the next piece of the puzzle is to look closely at the popular content, work out what you can emulate and, very importantly, improve upon. Brian calls this the ‘Skyscraper Technique‘ which I’d suggest you familiarise yourself with.

I know that this part of the post is the shortest but in reality is the most important and will take you the most time.

Step 4: Building a List of Potential Links

Created some amazing content? Ready to steal some links? Excellent. First, head back to MajesticSEO and grab the list of inbound links for the URL that you’ve improved upon.

URLProfiler-11-GetLinksMajestic

Now you just import the CSV into URLProfiler…

URLProfiler-11-ImportInboundLinks

… and select the data that you need.

URLProfiler-12-GetCompetitorLinkData

Finally, off we go again!

URLProfiler-13-RunProfilerAgain

Step 5: Creating Your Outreach List

URLProfiler-14-OrderByPA

At this point you’ll have pretty much everything you need in order to assess the quality of a link. I’d suggest ordering by ‘Page Authority’ (in my example this is column CX), removing the columns that you’re not interested in, and then working through the links one by one. There’s also the option of de-duping based on domain so that you only see a single link from each site but this does increase the chance that you’ll miss a great opportunity.

URLProfiler-15-OutreachList

And finally…

This is just one example of how URLProfiler can save you a huge amount of time. Give it a try and if you have any questions please use the comments box below!

AUTHORED BY:
h

Matt is the Director of Hidden Pixel - a UK based agency offering SEO and Social Media campaigns to businesses of all shapes and sizes. He's also a dog lover, self confessed geek, and loves motorsport.
  • Headeulogy

    This can all be done for free using quicksprouts free tool. It will find the highest pages/posts for social shares then you can just skyscrapper it, find the backlinks to the original piece you are making better and your done. No annual $99 payment.

  • http://www.targetlocal.co.uk/ Gareth Brown

    Nice post Matt.

    The latest update now scrapes author information as well. So
    let’s say you pull in this State of Digital’s sitemap, you can start looking at
    top preforming authors. Mix this up with the readability statistics and you’ll be
    able to see what level readability and content lengths do well too.

  • http://www.moosylvania.com/ Sean Doggendorf

    I’m gonna need your SEM Rush API token to steal access to the tools to steal the content and links from others…if you could just post that in here, that’d be great!

    In all seriousness, great guide on segmenting this down and showing how to filter through the fat.

  • Guest

    Looks like a really interesting tool, finding it a bit buggy on Mac so far though.

Nice job, you found it!

Now, go try out the 12th one:

Use Google Translate to bypass a paywall...

Ran into a page you can't read because it is blocked or paywalled? Here's a quick trick (doesn't always work, but often does!):

Type the page into Google translate (replace the example with the page you want):

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ja&tl=en&u=http://example.com/

How about that!?

Like this 12th trick? Tell others they need to look for this trick on our page: http://www.stateofdigital.com/search-hacks-marketers/

Or Tweet: Found the secret 12th one!