With SEMrush, we make it seamless for you to spy on your competitors and reveal what they may be doing through their organic or paid search efforts. However, did you know that you could take it a step further and find exactly what kinds of relationships your competitors have established? If not, now you do!
When researching your competitors' backlinks, you can see who is linking to their website along with how many times they link to their website. With this data at hand, you can determine what partnerships this domain may or may not currently have. The referring domains report will show you what domains are linking to the searched domain as well as the IP address, the country origin and the first and last time we saw these links.
To interpret this data, you must be able to establish the relationships being displayed in this report.
When you see a particular domain has a few thousand backlinks pointing from one domain, it is possible that this is either a spammy website providing a more than usual amount of backlinks or that this is a possible partner. The best way to interpret which is the ladder would be to investigate these websites. By going to these domains, we can evaluate both relevance and the quality of their site.
You can determine relevance by investigating their website. When searching your competitor in SEMrush, you most likely know what industry they focus on or what their ultimate business focus is. You will want to look for these same things in your critique of the referring domain. You may want to ask the following questions:
- What kind of website is this?
- What do they sell/provide?
- In what context is the backlink displayed?
When you first go to this website you will want to establish what kind of website it is. You want to determine whether this serves as a business page, a comment in a forum/blog, a partner page, etc.
You will also want to get a basic gist of the website. What's their main focus? What do they want to accomplish? They may be trying to promote or establish something that does not line up with your competitor. Knowing what kind of context in which the link is used will be a good indicator of what kind of relationship these two websites have. In the cases of spammy backlinks, you will see the link appear in comments or descriptions that clearly do not reference the link – or you'll find that it is completely irrelevant.
Another great determinant in the health of a backlink is to analyze the look of the website. Depending on the look and feel of the site, it may give you an answer on relevancy right away. When evaluating the quality of the site you should try to ask these questions:
- How easy is it to navigate?
- Does the website’s appearance seem old?
- Does it seem like a website that people would actually go to?
With high quality websites, it will be very easy to navigate the site and go to the page you are looking for. When it comes to low quality, spammy sites, the pages will most likely not be clear and will be hard to navigate. An older site indicates that the competitor has not updated it in a long time or that nobody is truly taking the website seriously. This should be easy to tell as most of them look like they were made in 1995. You see this look often on websites that are strictly set up to increase the SEO in another site. This is an old black hat SEO method that has now become less relevant.
The last question to ask here would be if you think people would actually use the website. This is usually shown through the first two questions, however, it still may be unclear while making your decision. It is an important determinant since by keeping the backlink, you are saying that you trust the source as well. When your competitor keeps these backlinks, they are determining that this is a credible site. This will assist you in determining if this is a website that would actually be used by others, and ultimately, have some type of partnership with your competitor.
Whether a website is spammy or low in quality will determine if there is a partnership existent or not. By auditing these backlink profiles, you can determine partnerships and maybe even find a new partnership for yourself. If you see that your competitor has one partnership, you may want to go that partner’s competitor and reach out to them. This can help you edge out your competitor and keep your own backlink profile as fierce as Muhammad Ali.
If you still have questions about any of this information, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Success Team at: (855) 814-4510 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.