Competitor Backlinks: How Beginners Can Easily Find Competitor Backlinks

What Are Competitor Backlinks?

Competitor backlinks are the links that point to your competitor's website from other websites. These links are considered valuable because they help to boost your competitor's search engine rankings and increase their online visibility. However, by discovering and analyzing them, you can identify potential link-building opportunities for your website to increase your own rankings and organic traffic.

For example, Search Engine Journal links out to many of Hike's competitors, which means that there is a high likelihood that they would also link back to us, due to the high number of competitor overlaps.

Search Engine Journal Competitor Backlinks

What is Competitor Backlinking?

Competitor backlinking is the process of discovering competitor backlinks and by implementing various strategies, acquiring many of the same backlinks to boost your website’s domain-level and page-level authority for increased rankings and visibility.

Two Types of Competitors

There are two types of competitors that you can discover backlink opportunities from:

Domain-Level Competitors

Domain-level competitors are websites that compete with each other for search engine rankings and organic traffic they typically operate in the same industry or niche and offer similar products, services, or information to their audience. These competitors may be ranking for many keywords that your website is ranking for or would like to target, eventually.

For example, for Apple, their domain-level competitors may be Dell, Asus, Samsung, and other brand websites that also make computers and/or mobile phones.

Laptop Google Search

Page-Level or Keyword Competitors

Page-level competitors are pages that compete with your webpage for the same target keyword. While these pages may not necessarily offer similar services or target the same audience as your website as a whole, they are in direct competition with the individual page that you are trying to rank. In other words, the competition is at the page level rather than the site level.

For example, for Apple, a page-level competitor may be a large news site that has recently published an article about their latest MacBook or iPhone, which are targeting the same keywords. The news site as a whole is not a direct competitor, but the pages it writes may compete for the same keywords.

Latest Macbook Google Search

How to Find Competitor Backlinks

Identify Your Competitors

The first step to this process is to discover your search competitors based on the industry you are in, as well as the keywords that you currently rank for and would like to rank for in the future. There are three steps to discovering competitors, as outlined below:

Keywords You Currently Rank For

By using a keyword ranking tool you will be able to see which relevant keywords you currently rank for and within the SERPs, it will reveal all of the competitors that are also ranking for those keywords. These competitors may be domain-level or page-level. Either way, note them down in a spreadsheet for later analysis.

Keywords You Would Like To Rank For

Next, you want to make sure that you do comprehensive keyword research to discover all of the keywords that you would like to eventually rank for in your industry or topics. This can take some time, but it’s well worth the effort as it will be the basis for your keyword mapping and content strategy moving forward. Again, by looking at the SERPs for those keywords, you’ll discover which websites are currently ranking, whether they are domain-level or page-level competitors. Note them down in a spreadsheet for later analysis as well.

Industry Competitor Research

Finally, using an SEO software tool, like Hike, can also reveal your domain-level competitors based on the number of overlapping keyword rankings. However, this method doesn’t work so well if your website isn’t ranking yet for any relevant keywords. If this is the case, then you could look at some of the industry leaders in your market within search, and then look at their competitors using that software tool, which gives a good indication of the websites your website will be up against.

Reveal Competitor Backlinks

Once you have researched your competitors, it’s time to reveal your competitor backlinks.

You can use the competitor opportunities section to help you with finding competitor backlinks.

Backlink Section within Hike SEO

There are many ways to find these, but the easiest way is to use SEO software, such as Hike, that can quickly list all of the backlinks that are pointing to that competitor’s website. The more overlaps of common backlinks that competitors have, the higher chances you have in securing a backlink from the same place as this indicates that this backlink source is willing to link out to multiple sites across the industry.

Keep a shortlist of all of the competitor backlink websites that you’d like to reach out to secure a backlink from them.

Competitor Backlink Gap

Some SEO software has a tool that allows you to generate a backlink gap, revealing opportunities where there are overlaps between backlinks across competitors, or gaps where some competitors haven’t secured specific backlinks that others have.

This allows you to spot low-hanging fruit when it comes to reaching out to these websites for potential opportunities for links.

How To Evaluate Competitor Backlinks

Once you have discovered all of the backlink websites from your competitors that you’d like to potentially reach out to, it’s important to filter them by first evaluating their quality, placement, and relevance, to make sure that your efforts are worthwhile in securing those links.

Backlink Quality

Many factors determine the value of a backlink, but primarily the domain authority is what is of high importance when evaluating quality. The higher the DA, the more potential authority it can pass on to your website through link juice, provided it’s a dofollow link. Even if it’s a nofollow, a backlink on a high authority website still has value, especially the potential extra referral traffic it can bring.

Backlink Relevance

The relevance of a backlink is determined by how closely matched the industry or niche the website is to yours, as well as how related the topic on the page the link is on is with the page it will be linking to, on your website. The more related a website is to yours in your industry, and the topic of the page is to the page you want to link to, the more relevant it is.

Backlink Placement

Where the backlink is placed within their website is important for several reasons. If the link is within a navigational menu or sidebar, it has less value in the eyes of search engines than if it is contextual (within content). If the backlink is within a relevant piece of content, then where will it be located? Near the top of the page? Middle? Or the end? A link that is closer to the beginning of a piece of content is more likely to be clicked than further down the page.

Backlink Count

Finally, it’s important to consider how many backlinks will be on that website’s content piece. The more backlinks, the more links that the link juice is distributed across (if they are dofollow), and the less that will flow to your website. Ideally, a piece of content that has your backlink with just a few links to various websites is more valuable than one with 10+ other links within it.

Competitor Backlink Strategies

Now that you’ve filtered through your potential outreach list, let’s discover a few competitor backlink strategies to secure high-quality and authoritative links from your competitors’ backlink websites. For more ideas, visit our backlink strategies page.

Competitor Guest Posts

Out of the websites you’ve shortlisted, which of them allow guest posts on their blog? Perhaps many of the links your competitors have are within guest posts. If so, then all you need to do is audit that website’s blog topics to see what topics haven’t been covered yet that you could offer to write about. Ideally, it’s a topic that relates to the page that you want to link to and has a search volume, that will demonstrate this topic is worth targeting to the website content moderator.

Contacting the website or guest post submission team with a pitch as to your background & expertise, what topic you’d like to write about, your proposed outline, and the potential of this topic in search, will go a long way to showing you are serious about writing as a guest on their blog and potentially open up this opportunity for you, even for future articles.

Sites Linking to Multiple Competitors

As you may have already discovered through using Hike or another SEO software tool, identifying websites that link to multiple competitors makes it easier for your website to be potentially featured there as well. Reach out to them with a link to a high-quality and relevant article or page that their audience would find interesting to link to.

Track Competitors’ New Backlinks

Some SEO software lets you track new backlinks from websites, so you can add in all of your competitors’ sites and get notified whenever they receive new backlinks. This will give you a signal to reach out to those websites to introduce similar content that they can also link to in the same content. When it’s freshest in their minds, the website content creators are more likely to update their recently published content with new links, rather than later down the line when they are focused on creating new content.

SkyScraper Technique

The Skyscraper Technique is a content creation strategy that involves creating high-quality, informative, and comprehensive content that outperforms existing content on a particular topic or keyword. Essentially, it is about creating content that has more information and value than your competitors, which essentially means your content piece would be the “highest skyscraper” in that topic space. It consists of 3 parts:


Conduct thorough research on the topic or keyword you want to target by primarily looking at your competitor’s linked content, but also looking at the top 5-7 ranking relevant pages for the primary keyword you are targeting. Then, identify gaps or weaknesses in their content, while noting down ideas or headers about subtopics that you could include in your content.


Create content that addresses the gaps or weaknesses you identified in the existing content. Make sure your content is more comprehensive, informative, and visually appealing than the existing content. It needs to be the biggest skyscraper for this topic.


Reach out to the website that has your competitor's backlink and ask them if they would like to replace their link with yours instead since it’s more comprehensive and valuable than the one they currently have linked. If they don’t have any brand affinity, then they could well say yes.

Broken Link Spotting

On the websites you’ve identified to reach out to, see if you can spot any broken links on their websites that you could create content for and have them link to instead of the link that isn’t working anymore. Not only would you do the website owner a favor in spotting it, but you are suggesting to them a relevant and valuable resource to link to instead. 

Hike + Competitor Backlinks

Hike is perfect for the small business owner in terms of securing competitor backlinks, as there are a few very useful tools that can be used for this process:

Keyword Research in Hike

Discovering keywords that you would like to target is the first step of finding competitors that your website will be up against, and then you can analyze for backlink opportunities.

Keyword Ranking in Hike

If your website is currently ranking for relevant keywords, then Hike can show you what other competitors are also ranking for those keywords. These competitors can then be analyzed for backlink opportunities.

Competitor Analysis in Hike

Hike allows you to add in suggested competitors to get insights into how their rankings are doing, and what other keywords they are targeting that have visibility in the search engines.

Competitor Opportunities in Hike

Finally, getting directly to the source, Hike reveals backlinks from competitors’ sites that are worth reaching out to build your backlink portfolio. It sorts them by the number of backlink overlaps, so you already have a prioritized list of websites to consider.

If you haven’t yet used Hike for your competitor backlinks, then definitely do, as it will save you a lot of time and effort. Give it a try!