Building backlinks will help you increase your Domain Authority score, drive more traffic, and improve your rankings.
One of the most effective link-building methods, while a little sneaky, involves stealing competitor backlinks.
Here’s what you need to know about how to steal your competitors backlinks.
- An Overview of Backlinks
- Reasons to Steal Your Competitors’ Backlinks
- Is It Worth It To Steal Your Competitors’ Backlinks?
- How to Find Competitors’ Backlinks
- How To Steal Your Competitors’ Backlinks
- Final Thoughts
Let’s start with a quick overview of what backlinks are, what constitutes a quality backlink, and why you need backlinks for SEO in addition to content.
Backlinks are simply links that lead back to your website.
They can come from blogs, directories, and various other websites.
Many backlinks happen organically.
However, you should also actively be seeking link-building opportunities for Google search engine optimization.
One way to do that is to steal your competitors’ backlinks.
Backlinks show Google that your site is relevant and offers quality content.
A high number of referring domains means that more people trust you enough to send their readers to your site and use you as a source.
A solid backlink profile will help increase your search engine rankings.
It’s important to note that the number of referring domains isn’t the only important factor.
A good link-building strategy will focus on getting quality links, not a high number of low-quality or spammy links.
Your backlink profile is one of the most significant ranking factors that decide your Google search positions, alongside quality content.
Most of the time, backlinks will not hurt your site.
However, if you use an outdated SEO strategy that involves building link farms or high numbers of low-quality links, they can harm your site.
As a result, you may lose your rankings, or Google may penalize you and de-index you from the search engines altogether.
Therefore, when stealing backlinks from your SEO competitors, it’s critical to ensure the backlink is coming from a high-quality site.
So, why steal the backlinks of competitors in the first place?
Aren’t there other ways of getting backlinks, like submitting guest posts, collaborating with others on social media, and just creating better content?
The answer is that stealing your competitors’ backlinks is often much more efficient than other methods.
The backlinks are already there; you just need to take them instead of leaving them on the table.
Here are the top benefits of competitor backlink stealing.
Get Industry Citations
Industry citations are critical.
You want to get citations from industry directories and other influential bloggers and writers in your niche.
When you steal your competitors backlinks, you’ll be able to get links from highly-relevant sites.
The relevancy of the referring domain is also critical, not just its DA score.
When using guest posting as your primary backlink strategy, it can sometimes be tough to get the very best of the best of backlinks.
Everyone covets links from the most influential sites in the niche.
Those sites get dozens or even hundreds of guest post submissions a day, and it can be hard to stand out from all that competition.
On the other hand, stealing your competitors’ backlinks gives you more flexibility.
Some methods may get you better results when targeting high-quality sites, leading to a higher-quality backlink profile overall.
Finally, stealing your competitors’ backlinks will help you get more visibility.
People who would otherwise see your competitors’ links and visit their sites will be redirected to yours.
You’ll be able to get yourself in front of a larger target audience and potentially capture some of a competitor’s customer base.
Before deciding on this strategy, weighing the pros and cons is essential.
While there are benefits of stealing competitor backlinks, there are also some potential drawbacks compared to more traditional link-building methods.
Let’s first explore the advantages and benefits of stealing competitor backlinks.
This list is not exhaustive; instead, these are the main benefits to expect.
Beat Out the Competition
If you want to beat the competition, one of the best ways to do that and maintain your competitive edge is to steal their backlinks.
Building backlinks will help you increase your rankings.
On the other hand, losing backlinks can eventually lead to ranking loss.
If you snatch backlinks from competitors, you can easily outrank them, and it can be hard for them to recover.
You’ll get a larger portion of the search engine traffic for your main target keywords and increase sales.
It’s There for the Taking
Your competitors’ backlinks are sitting there, waiting for you to steal them.
You could argue that not stealing them is foolish.
If you can take advantage of a ranking opportunity, why turn your back and leave money on the table?
You Can Get a Better Response Rate
Reaching out to random bloggers can be effective, but you may not get the response rate you deserve.
Whether you’re using a guest posting strategy or some other strategy, you’ll find that only a small percentage of bloggers respond to your collaboration requests.
That can be frustrating.
On the other hand, if you reach out to someone who has already provided a backlink to a competitor, you’re likely to get a higher response rate.
At that point, one thing is sure – that particular blogger has provided a backlink in the past, and they’re probably happy to do it again.
As long as they can get something better out of linking to you instead of your competitor, there’s a good chance they will.
There are some potential downsides to stealing competitor backlinks.
Let’s quickly go over them – it’s essential to understand the risks before proceeding.
It May Not Work
I can’t guarantee that stealing competitor backlinks will work.
So while you will likely get a higher response rate than with your current backlink outreach strategy, I can’t promise that, in your particular case, it will work out the way you want it to.
Your success will depend on many factors, such as the particular bloggers previously linking to your competitors, the quality of your competitors’ websites, the way you try to steal the backlinks, and even the niche you are in.
Trigger Spam Detectors
While unlikely, there is a remote possibility that stealing competitor backlinks can trigger spam detectors.
However, this is only likely to happen if your competitor used a black hat SEO strategy and got links from low-quality or spammy sites.
For example, stealing those backlinks is a terrible idea if your competitor was getting links from link farms, new blogs with no content and authority, spun content, or any other type of spammy site.
Getting many of those types of backlinks at once is likely to trigger Google’s spam detectors.
What will probably happen next is that you’ll start losing rankings instead of gaining them (though you might see a slight increase at first).
Furthermore, Google may ban you altogether.
Yes. Stealing competitors’ backlinks is usually worth it.
However, it’s essential to be intelligent about it.
Don’t steal a low-quality backlink. In addition, be patient, and take things slowly.
Don’t be in a rush to steal as many backlinks as possible in a short amount of time.
That will help your backlinks look more organic, and you’ll be less likely to trigger any spam detectors.
With that being said, here’s the full guide on how to find and steal your competitors’ backlinks.
The first step is discovering where your competitors are getting their backlinks from.
Then, an SEO tool or competitor analysis tool will come in handy.
SEO experts widely use SEMrush and Ahrefs, but there are some other excellent tools out there as well.
Run a backlink analysis on several of your competitors’ sites to determine which sites are linking to them the most.
What you’ll want to look for here are trends.
Are there any websites that are linking to multiple competitors?
Also, consider the type of website linking to your competitors – the niche they are in, and the style of blog posts linking to your competitors’ sites (how-to guides, blog posts, etc.).
If a website is linking to a competitor, there’s a good chance the website owner would link to you as well.
However, that’s not always the case.
It’s more likely if the referring page is a guest post or if the website accepts guest posts.
SEMrush also allows you to compare the backlink profiles of different domains and search for competitors with backlink profiles that are most similar to yours.
However, what I find more useful is seeing a competitor’s top-performing pages – which pages on their site are bringing in the most backlinks.
That will be useful, and I’ll explain why later.
When using SEMrush, you can export lists of websites you want to target in your “stealing competitors’ backlinks” campaign.
Once you’ve figured out which websites are linking to your competitors and which blog posts on your competitor sites are getting the most links, it’s time for action.
Here are a few efficient ways to steal competitor backlinks.
If you see a backlink provider linking to a competitor multiple times or linking to multiple competitors, reach out to them!
They likely accept blog posts and are willing to collaborate with new bloggers.
Simply offering to write a new guest post will only put you alongside your competitors, however, as you won’t be removing existing backlinks.
However, there is a way to replace a competitor’s backlink with your own.
While not always guaranteed to work, read on to learn how to do it.
Create Better Content Than Your Competitors
If you have better content than your competitors, you can suggest that the link provider replace their link with your own.
For example, let’s say the backlink provider wrote a post on the most important aspects of digital marketing.
They mentioned email marketing, but they didn’t have room to include a complete guide on email marketing.
So instead, they linked to a competitor who had written a complete email marketing guide.
If you can write an email marketing guide that is even more comprehensive than your competitor’s, you can effectively steal your competitor’s backlink and replace it with your own.
The backlink provider will be happy to do that, as they want to offer their readers the most value.
Not only should your guide be more comprehensive than your competitor’s, but it should be better written, have better formatting, include better images, and so on.
Let’s go back to what I said about determining your competitors’ top-performing pages to attract organic backlinks.
The same strategy that I just mentioned applies to stealing organic links.
If your competitor’s top-performing page was their comprehensive email guide, and many other bloggers were linking to that whenever they mentioned email marketing, you know what to do next.
Create an email marketing guide that is better and a lot more comprehensive than your competitor’s.
You’ll be able to steal future backlinks that would otherwise organically go to your competitor.
Repurpose Competitors’ Broken Links
There’s another sneaky way to steal competitors’ links, and it doesn’t necessarily require you to have the best content or guide on a particular topic.
You’ll need to find people linking to your competitors’ old and broken URLs to do that.
Your competitor might have broken URLs for several reasons.
Perhaps they took down a blog post.
Perhaps they restructured their site but failed to redirect the blog post correctly, resulting in a 404.
However, you shouldn’t be too concerned about the reason for the broken URL.
Instead, what matters to you is that it is an opportunity ripe for stealing your competitors’ backlinks.
To start, you’ll want to run a broken link analysis on your competitor’s website.
Again, I recommend using SEMrush, as it includes a Broken Pages report listing all of your competitor’s broken URLs.
The next step is to sort the results by the number of backlinks each broken page gets.
The more backlinks it is getting, the more likely you will get results from what you’re about to do next.
Using SEMrush, click on the backlink section in the report next to each broken URL (it will be a number highlighted in blue).
That will bring up the specific URLs linking to the broken page.
You can then reach out to the bloggers linking to the broken page and let them know that a page they link to no longer exists.
They certainly don’t want to send their readers to a nonexistent page and inconvenience them.
That would reflect badly on them.
Therefore, they will likely be happy to replace the broken link with one of your functioning pages.
Be polite when reaching out.
Draft an email that goes something like this:
I noticed that your blog post [Insert Hyperlinked Blog Post Here] links to a broken and nonexistent page [Insert the page it is linking to, in parentheses].
I happen to have an excellent resource on the topic myself – [Insert Your Blog post Here].
No pressure, though!
Just trying to be helpful.
All the best,
Not everyone will respond.
Some bloggers will ignore you or delete your email without reading it.
However, if you reach out to enough bloggers, you’ll get at least a few links.
So try it, and see if it works!
Steal Guest Posts
A great way to steal competitor backlinks is to steal their guest posts.
There are a few ways to do that, but I’m not talking about copying their blog post – that would be duplicate content – or spinning it.
Instead, you’ll simply want to find which websites they submitted guest posts to and then reach out and submit an even better guest post with better content, better links, and better writing.
When other bloggers see your guest post, they will be more likely to collaborate with you in the future rather than with your competitor, even reaching out to you proactively.
Track Competitors’ Links
Finally, make sure that you track your competitors’ backlinks so you are updated on new backlink opportunities to steal.
Some site crawler and backlink audit tools allow you to set up automated site crawls and backlink audits, and you will get automated email notifications for every new crawl.
Stealing competitors’ backlinks is not as nefarious as it sounds.
Instead, it is a solid and highly efficient SEO strategy that helps you get one up on your competitors.
It is simply smart SEO to find out where they are getting their links and target those same backlink providers.
At the same time, though, you should be focusing on creating awesome content, including infographics, blog posts, videos, and more.
That way, you will also get organic backlinks, critical for your backlink profile.