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How We Quadrupled a Client's Rankings in 2 Months with Competitive Backlink Analysis

John Lincoln

There is nothing better than over-delivering for a client. That is what our company was built on, and it's one of the most important things we live up to.

Every client is different. But in the case of one client, we were able to skyrocket their rankings through competitive backlink analysis. For those of you who don’t know, using online tools you can easily find out the links that are delivering the most authority to your competitors. This is one of the first things I like to do when I get a new client. One of two of the really important links can mean all the difference.

Let me tell you how we do this, and a little about this one particular situation.

They Didn’t Have A Lot of Links

First off, the client didn’t have a lot of links to begin with. But they were in a big industry with a lot of linking potential. We knew that if we increased their backlink authority, it would mean a big win for the client. We were able to determine this by looking at tools like Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer and Webmaster Tools. SEMrush also has a suite of backlink analysis tools that can give you some good data as well.

They Had a Well-Optimized Website

SEO is pretty much 50/50 between onsite and offsite optimization (don’t hold me exactly to that, but most experts will agree both matter a lot). In this case of this client, their actual website was pretty good, but they had no backlink authority. Sure you want this to come naturally. But in some cases you need a jump start so that you can get that initial exposure.

I can generally see if a website has good site structure by doing a quick Screaming Frog and looking at the titles, descriptions, keywords, h1, h2, copy, images, rel canonicals etc. Ill also run a SEMrush organic ranking report to see what keyword they rank for, as well as check for the normal stuff like sitemaps robots.txt files and canonical URLs. For the most part, this site was in good shape. The content was there, they just needed a few great linking signals.

We Found the Top Sites in the Industry

We identified the top websites in the industry using tools like BuzzSumo, SEMrush and searching the targeted keywords we wanted to rank for. This allowed us to find the top five sites we knew we wanted to review. In most industries, this is pretty easy to determine and in the case of this site, it was clear who the best competitors were in the space.

We Made a List of the Targets

Using Majestic SEO, SEMrush and Ahrefs we found the most powerful links pointing at the websites. We then took that list and found ways to strategically target certain sites so that we could get listed. We made sure to get listed on the easiest websites first, and then created strategic plans to get on the larger sites. There was also a great deal of niche industry related directories that we placed the client into right away. Yes, “niche” directories are still working. Just stay away from the general ones that everyone is in and are clearly creating for no real value other than building links.

We Got Listed on Most

It was tough work, but we were able to get the client on about 25% of the top websites in the first month, resulting in big jumps in keyword rankings and traffic. After all of these links were indexed they started ranking for four times as many keywords on the first two pages of Google and sent us two more websites to work on.

So What Now?

After all was said and done, the client was very happy and we felt overjoyed we were able to help. This is a process we do for all of our clients; this is just one particular case we are reporting on.

Competitive backlinks analysis is not always the answer to every SEO issue. However, in most cases it does help. There are cases when building more links is not the answer. In fact, I have seen clients who have used SEO companies who built way too many bad links. This resulted in their ranking tanking and a clear Penguin-like penalty. In the case of a client like this, you don’t really want to build more links; you want to clean up what you have in place. In addition, some of our clients are very large. So large that linking really isn’t even an issue, they attract plenty on their own.

As you can see, every SEO situation is different. But in this case, some backlinks really got the client where they needed to go.

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John Lincoln is Co-Owner and President of SEO and Social Media at Ignite Visibility, a premier Internet marketing company based in San Diego, CA. You can follow John on Twitter.
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