The way to Discover Your Rivals’ Backlinks (And Get Them for Your self)


For those who’re seeking to construct extra backlinks to your web site, checking how your rivals constructed and earned their backlinks is an effective place to begin.

That’s as a result of understanding how they obtained hyperlinks can assist inform your hyperlink constructing technique. 

On this submit, you’ll learn to discover, replicate, and be taught out of your rivals’ backlinks.

The way to discover your rivals’ backlinks

You want an search engine optimization software like Ahrefs to do that, which is constantly voted prime canine in search engine optimization trade polls

Free methodology (prime 100 backlinks)

Head over to our free backlink checker and plug in your competitor’s area or URL. You’ll see the whole variety of backlinks and referring domains (linking web sites) and the highest 100 backlinks (referring web page, anchor, and goal URL).

Checking backlinks with Ahrefs' free backlink checker

Paid methodology (all backlinks)

Join Ahrefs, plug your competitor’s area or URL into Website Explorer, then go to the Backlinks report. You’ll see all their backlinks. On this case, over 80,000 of them. 

Checking backlinks in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you wish to hone in on particular backlinks, akin to these from English pages on web sites with visitors, use the filters.

Filtering backlinks in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Undecided who your rivals are?

Enter your web site or webpage’s URL into Website Explorer and go to the Natural rivals report. You’ll see an inventory of internet sites or webpages that rank for the key phrases as your goal.

Organic competitors report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

The way to replicate your rivals’ backlinks

It’s not possible to copy all of your rivals’ backlinks, however there are methods to get a few of them (or related ones) for your self:

  1. Discover and replica their replicable hyperlinks
  2. Discover and replica the hyperlink constructing techniques which can be working for them
  3. Discover hyperlinks you could loot from them

Let’s take a more in-depth take a look at how one can do these three issues.

Discovering your rivals’ replicable hyperlinks

Most of your rivals’ backlinks will likely be extraordinarily laborious to copy like for like, nevertheless it’s often attainable to copy a few of them. Let’s take a look at a couple of methods to do this.

Discover rivals’ listing hyperlinks

Listing hyperlinks are removed from essentially the most highly effective hyperlinks, however they’re simple to copy. Many SEOs imagine they assist with “map pack” rankings for native companies too.

Right here’s the simplest method to discover them:

  1. Enter your homepage into Website Explorer
  2. Go to the Hyperlink Intersect report
  3. Enter a couple of rivals’ homepages in clean fields
  4. Set the search mode for all pages to “URL”
  5. Hit “Present hyperlink alternatives”
How to use the Link Intersect report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

It will present you the web sites linking to a number of of your rivals’ homepages, however to not yours. It’s then only a case of eyeballing the listing for websites that seem like area of interest and native directories. 

Results of the Link Intersect report

For those who’re unsure whether or not a website is a listing, click on the caret in one of many competing web page columns to see the referring web page, anchor, and backlink. You possibly can often inform from this.

Reveal the referring page with the caret

For those who’re nonetheless not sure, click on on the web page to verify manually. 

Example of a directory link

Replicating these hyperlinks is often so simple as signing up for an account and including your corporation. 


Bear in mind that some directories cost a price. Don’t be tempted to pay these for search engine optimization functions, as they gained’t be price it. Solely pay if the listing is more likely to ship you prospects.

Discover listicles the place rivals are talked about, however not you

If rivals are talked about in listicles of the very best instruments/eating places/no matter your corporation does, there’s an opportunity you could possibly get talked about in that very same listicle (and a point out often comes with a hyperlink).

These sorts of listicles are often simple to identify in a competitor’s Backlinks report. 

Examples of listicles in the Backlinks report

Nevertheless, the very best alternatives come from listicles mentioning a number of rivals as a result of the subject of the web page is extra more likely to be related to your corporation.

Right here’s a simple method to discover these:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content material Explorer
  2. Seek for “competitor 1” “competitor 2” “competitor 3” -“your corporation identify”
Finding competitor mentions in Ahrefs' Content Explorer


Utilizing this methodology, there’s no assure that the mentions are linked, however they often are.

It’s then only a case of sifting via the outcomes and pitching the authors of listicles the place it is sensible so as to add your corporation. 

Right here’s what that pitch would possibly seem like for Aweber:

Hey [Name],

Simply got here throughout your listing of the very best electronic mail advertising and marketing instruments and seen Aweber wasn’t included. Is that since you didn’t like our platform or haven’t tried it?

If it’s the latter, I’d like to hook you up with a free account so that you may give it a shot.

What do you assume?


Notice that the e-mail doesn’t explicitly ask the writer so as to add something to their listing. It simply asks in the event that they’re accustomed to the sender’s software. That is intentional. It’s simpler to ask for inclusion after you win of us over. 

Discover rivals’ hyperlinks from interviews and podcasts

Interview and podcast hyperlinks are extra widespread in some industries than others, so you could not discover any amongst your rivals. However as they solely take a minute to seek for, it’s properly price a fast verify. 

Right here’s a simple method to discover them:

  1. Go to Website Explorer
  2. Enter the Twitter profile URL of your competitor’s CEO, CMO, or whoever essentially the most prolific marketer is throughout the firm
  3. Go to the Backlinks report
  4. Filter for outcomes the place the referring web page URL incorporates “podcast,” “episode,” or “interview”
Filtering the Backlinks report for interview and podcasts links in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You then simply have to pitch the identical interviews and podcasts. 

Discover rivals’ visitor posts

Visitor posting is the third hottest hyperlink constructing tactic, in accordance with Aira’s 2022 State of Hyperlink Constructing report, so it’s in all probability a tactic that at the very least a few of your rivals are utilizing. 

Nevertheless, whereas yow will discover them in a competitor’s Backlinks report, they are often laborious to spot. 

For instance, one of many hyperlinks under is from a visitor submit and the opposite isn’t. However there’s no method to inform this from the hyperlink profile itself.

Examples of link that is guest post and another that isn't

With that in thoughts, right here’s a neater method to discover a competitor’s visitor posts:

  1. Go to Content material Explorer
  2. Seek for matter + writer:“identify of your competitor’s prolific marketer”
  3. Filter for one web page per area
Searching for content by a prolific guest blogger in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Many of the outcomes ought to be visitor posts by that particular person. Replicating them is so simple as reaching out and pitching the identical web sites.

Discovering and copying hyperlink constructing techniques that work for rivals

In case your rivals have numerous backlinks from directories, podcasts, interviews, or visitor posts, these hyperlink constructing techniques are clearly working for them. So don’t restrict your self to replicating solely the precise hyperlinks they obtained. Pursue different hyperlinks from these techniques too.

Listed here are some tutorials to assist: 


*Most citations come from directories, so constructing quotation alternatives is just about the identical factor as discovering alternatives to get hyperlinks from directories.

Nevertheless, there are two extra generally used techniques price checking for. 

Examine for hyperlinks from journalist requests

Bloggers and journalists usually use companies like Assist A Reporter Out (HARO) and MuckRack to supply quotes for upcoming tales—they usually often hyperlink to their sources.

For instance, right here’s somebody from “Martha Stewart Residing” asking for a quote about how plumbing leaks happen within the residence.

Example HARO request

Max Rose from 4 Seasons Plumbing was one of many individuals to answer this, and he acquired a quote and backlink from the article in return.

Example HARO link

Right here’s how one can verify in case your rivals are constructing backlinks this manner:

  1. Go to Website Explorer
  2. Enter a competitor’s homepage
  3. Set the search mode to “Actual URL”
  4. Go to the Backlinks report
  5. Search for quotes within the “Anchor and goal URL” column
Looking for HARO backlinks in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

For those who spot a couple of quotes from the identical particular person, like “Max Rose” on this case, filter for that identify within the anchor and surrounding textual content to hone in on these sorts of hyperlinks.

Filtering for HARO backlinks in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

For those who see a good variety of hyperlinks from quotes, there’s probability your competitor is actively responding to journalist requests—and that it’s working. So it’s in all probability price responding to requests by way of HARO and related platforms your self too.

Examine for passively earned hyperlinks from linkable factors

Linkable factors are issues like info, statistics, and distinctive concepts that resonate with the linkerati and appeal to backlinks. Even when your rivals aren’t consciously utilizing this tactic to earn hyperlinks, it might nonetheless be one of many methods they’re incomes them—so it’s price checking.

Right here’s how one can do that:

  1. Go to Website Explorer
  2. Enter one of many top-ranking pages to your goal key phrase
  3. Go to the Anchors report
  4. Search for anchors regarding info, figures, or distinctive concepts

For instance, the Anchors report for a web page rating for “search engine optimization copywriting” mentions the “APP” methodology/components a couple of instances:

Anchors report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This can be a time period coined by the submit’s writer, and it has earned him some respectable hyperlinks.

Due to this, after we wrote our personal information to search engine optimization copywriting, we determined to coin an identical time period in an effort to earn some passive backlinks.

Coined term from our post on SEO copywriting

If we verify the Anchors report for our web page, we will see it’s earned us a few hyperlinks so far: 

Backlinks we earned thanks to our coined term, via the Anchors report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This isn’t astonishing by any stretch of the creativeness, however they’re two hyperlinks we wouldn’t have except we included confirmed, linkable factors.

We had extra success with this methodology when creating our listing of search engine optimization statistics (we documented that course of in this hyperlink constructing case examine), which has earned hyperlinks from over 1,700 referring domains in below two years.

Backlink growth to our list of SEO statistics

Discovering hyperlinks you’ll be able to loot from rivals

Your rivals could have hyperlinks that now not make sense for them to have. For those who can present linkers with a greater various, you’ll be able to usually take these hyperlinks for your self.

Listed here are a couple of techniques that revolve round this thought:

Damaged hyperlink constructing

Damaged hyperlink constructing is the place you discover a lifeless web page with backlinks, create your individual useful resource on the subject, then ask linkers to hyperlink to that as a substitute.

For instance, this web page about search engine optimization suggestions can’t be discovered:

Example of a dead page

If we plug that URL into Ahrefs’ Website Explorer, we see it has backlinks from 177 referring domains:

This dead page has backlinks from 177 referring domains

If we have been to create our personal listing of search engine optimization suggestions, we might attain out to those 177 web sites and counsel changing that lifeless hyperlink with a hyperlink to our listing. 

However how do you discover your rivals’ damaged pages with backlinks within the first place?

When you have a particular competitor in thoughts, do this:

  1. Go to Website Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s area
  3. Go to the Finest by hyperlinks report
  4. Add a “404 not discovered” HTTP code filter
Filtering for dead pages with backlinks in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You’ll see an inventory of lifeless pages on their web site, sorted by the variety of referring domains pointing to them. 

For those who don’t have a particular competitor in thoughts, do this:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content material Explorer
  2. Seek for a matter
  3. Filter for damaged pages solely
  4. Filter for pages with referring domains (the minimal quantity is as much as you)
Searching for dead pages about a topic in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

You’ll see an inventory of damaged pages associated to the subject with at the very least the minimal set variety of referring domains.

No matter which methodology you employ, the method from there’s the similar: 

  • Examine what the web page was – To do that, plug the URL into the Wayback Machine. It must be one thing you’ll be able to create related content material about.
  • Examine the standard of the web page’s backlinks – To do that, run a backlink audit in Website Explorer. If it doesn’t have good hyperlinks, it’s not the very best alternative for a damaged hyperlink constructing marketing campaign.
  • Attain out to linkers and counsel they swap the hyperlink – To do that extra simply, use an outreach software like Pitchbox or BuzzStream.

301 redirect hyperlink constructing

301 redirect hyperlink constructing is the place you search for your rivals’ irrelevant redirects, then pitch a alternative to linkers.

For instance, this web page concerning the Google Penguin Replace on Search Engine Land has backlinks from 1.2K referring domains:

This redirected page has backlinks from 1.2K referring domains

However, for some purpose, it redirects to a web page about “Google search engine optimization”:

Example of an irrelevant 301 redirect

This can be a downside as a result of individuals clicking via from these 1.2K web sites will find yourself on a totally unrelated web page. For that purpose, there’s a possibility right here to pitch a hyperlink swap to linkers (similar as with damaged hyperlink constructing).

However how do you discover your rivals’ irrelevant 301 redirects within the first place?

  1. Go to Website Explorer
  2. Enter a competitor’s area
  3. Go to the Finest by hyperlinks report
  4. Add a “3XX redirect” HTTP code filter
Filtering for 301 redirects with backlinks in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

It’s then only a case of double-checking what the web page was within the Wayback Machine, auditing the standard of the web page’s hyperlinks, making a related alternative, and suggesting it to linkers. 

Run a competitor hyperlink evaluation

A few of your rivals’ “lootable” hyperlinks gained’t fall neatly into the field of a identified hyperlink constructing tactic. The method of discovering them is sort of nuanced and takes some expertise, however you’ll usually discover distinctive pitches this manner.

For instance, say we wished to construct hyperlinks to our listing of Google rating elements. If we verify the top-ranking outcomes for this key phrase in Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer, we see that lots of them have lots of of (doubtlessly “lootable”) backlinks from lots of of domains: 

Referring domains pointing to the top-ranking pages for "google ranking factors"

After I plugged a kind of competing URLs into Website Explorer and checked the Backlinks report, alarm bells began to ring after I noticed the anchor and surrounding textual content for this hyperlink:

One of the backlinks to a competing page about Google ranking factors

It claims that bounce fee, dwell time, and repeat visits are rating elements.

Not true.

Provided that this hyperlink have to be based mostly on recommendation from the linked (competing) web page, I made a decision to have a look myself. What I discovered was a web page giving tons of dangerously unhealthy recommendation: 

Many of the factors listed on the competing page are misleading
The highlighted rating elements aren’t rating elements at all.

I’m unsure how a lot linkers would care, however I believe there’s a possibility right here to succeed in out to all worthwhile prospects, clarify that they’re linking to an inaccurate submit, and counsel linking to our listing of rating elements as a substitute. 

Even when solely a fraction of them care, we win a couple of hyperlinks whereas combating misinformation. It’s a win-win. 

Ultimate ideas

Discovering your rivals’ backlinks is simple. Getting the identical ones to your website is much less simple. 

However that doesn’t imply it isn’t attainable. Begin by replicating the simple ones, then discover and replica the hyperlink constructing techniques that work for them, and at last take any hyperlinks they now not deserve for your self.

Received questions? Ping me on Twitter.