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The Lost Art Of Reverse Engineering Competitors (Part Two)

This is part two of “The Lost Art Of Reverse Engineering Competitors”, to read part one click here.

If you see domains like “chrismre3434.org” and “chrisenx3.com”, just random domains that have nothing to do with your niche, but they are high Page Rank and have exact keywords as anchor text; you can almost guarantee that these are high PR network domains.

Meaning expired high PR sites that have been re-positioned as backlink sites. Using the same strategy you should also be able to recognize blogs, forums, article directories and other general types of sites. By simply clicking on the URL it will open in your browser.

Generally the higher the out bound links, the easier it will be to obtain a link from the page. If you see 20+ OBL’s, it’s likely it’s a blog comment backlink. If you see 100+ out bound links, it’s near definitely a blog comment link. This means you can go over to the page and instantly place a comment link to your site.

Lastly by looking at anchor text, you can see the backlinks your competitors have obviously built to rank for certain keywords. If you want to rank for the same keywords they’re ranking for, make sure you get links from the same sources where they are using the keyword/s as anchor text.

How To Reverse Engineer

To begin with, go through the backlinks from highest to lowest PR. You should concentrate first on PR2+ backlinks. You want to go through them, and categorize them all into 1 of the 2 groups I talked about above. Easy to build links or high PR authority links.

The links that are on article directories or guest posts on blogs or profile links, class them as easy to build and store them in your ‘easy to build’ link document.

You’ll want to hand those links to your team or outsourcers. If you can, tell them to place a link on the exact pages. The easiest way to do this is via comments. For blog comments and articles/web2.0′s, you’ll often be able to place a comment with a link to your site.

For the links where it’s not possible to get a link from the exact page, tell them to build the same backlink on the domain.

For example they could all be guest blog posts, web2.0 pages and forum signature links. Your team would write guest posts, submit them, create the web2.0′s and post on the forums with a link to your site in your signature. Effectively reverse engineering and re-creating your competitor’s link profile.

For the high PR authority links…

These are links that are home page, blogroll or site wide links. The links your competitors have paid for and you are unable to build for free. Start by analyzing the links further.

A lot of the high PR authority links you find on relevant sites will be paid for. Meaning you just have to contact the owner and ask how much to be put next to your competitor. However not all links will be worth buying. For example, you can easily purchase a PR5 domain for $300 and use it to link to your site alone.

If one of the links is a PR4 relevant site, but is charging $1000 for a link or $40/month – you’re better off buying your own high PR domains and setting up your own sites. With that said, you’ll want to buy some site-wide links on relevant high PR sites. If your competitors have a lot of those links, make sure you purchase or rent them.

These are blogroll links usually. If there’s a popular site in your niche, with high PR and lots of pages and it has lots of links in its blogroll to your competitor sites; pay to add yours. You can’t re-create these site-wide links.

However if they are just home page links on high PR sites in your niche; you can re-create the exact same links by re-positioning expired high PR domains. Most of the time at a much cheaper price.

Best Practices

You don’t want to spend all your time reverse engineering competitors. You only need to reverse engineer the top 10-20 sites in your niche. Get a grasp of the kind of SEO they are doing and copy them.

You should split your budget between: renting/purchasing site-wide links on relevant high PR sites, buying expired high PR domains and re-positioning them as backlink sites, and having your team build the free links i.e. wikis/directory/guest posts/blog comments.

Reverse engineering is not simply a link building tactic. It’s a way of doing SEO, a fundamental strategy that you should base your entire SEO campaign from.  The fastest way to outrank your competitors is to copy their link profiles, and just build more relevant high PR links. It works every time.

In Prosperity,

David Wood

P.S. Leave me your thoughts, comments and questions below. Also opt-in to the email list on the right for more SEO tips, tricks and content.

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