How To Legally Steal Rankings With Competitor Backlink Analysis

One of my favourite SEO tricks that has stood the test of time is to simply steal your rankings through competitor backlink analysis.

With a bit of elbow grease…

 You can check competitor backlinks and use them to easily outrank your competition.
You can even do it with a combination of free tools!

What You Will Learn

  • How to steal rankings with competitor backlink analysis
  • How to check competitor backlinks
  • How to perform competitor analysis
  • How to steal their best backlinks
  • How to build a links database

The Competitor Backlink Analysis Method

Do a search for any keyword on Google.

Each of the sites in the top 10 search results have a backlink profile that pleases Google.

It is also likely they have fairly decent content and have taken care of the basics like on page SEO.

But for the most part each of the top 10 results backlink profile is powering the rankings.

Imagine what would happen if your site had the same backlinks as not just the #1 result, but every single page in the top 10 results!

Why Backlink Data Is Important

Collecting backlink data is important because it allows you to figure out exactly why you or your competitors are ranking for any given search term.

You can use this data to build a golden database of backlinks that you can re-use time and time again to drive traffic to your websites.

But before you do that, you should…

Building The Perfect Foundation

competitor backlink analysisWhy spend time & money trying to figure things out when you can just steal your competitors best backlinks!

Performing competitor backlink analysis like this allows you create a great foundation link profile to your site.

Replicating your competitor backlinks takes a lot of the hard work out of link building & is very easy for anyone new to SEO to do.

This is a tactic I use all of the time with new sites before I do anything else. You build a very natural profile slowly but surely giving you a great foundation to leverage.

Step 1 – Get The Top 10 Results

The first thing you need to do is gather the top 10 organic results for the keyword you want to rank for.

Just do a quick Google Search and make a note of each URL.

We are going to run each of these URL’s through the backlink checkers below!

Step 2 – Check Competitor Backlinks

To find competitors backlinks all for each of the top 10 results we are going to use some backlink checkers.

There are a number of them to choose from both free & paid but each of them suffer from the same problem.

No 1 backlink checker can give you a complete overview of a URL’s backlink profile. They all have very different databases and offer a range of results.

So in order to do this properly, we need to combine the data from as many backlink checkers as possible!

Which Is The Best Competitor Backlinks Checker?

I have published a couple of case studies to find the best backlink checker tool in the past. Ahrefs always offers the most results.

So for this tutorial I decided to see how many links each competitor backlinks checker returned for this blog.

These are ordered from the biggest to the least below-

(Note: I just use Ahrefs, Majestic SEO & SEO Spyglass for my analysis normally.)

Ahrefs (free/paid) – 11,227

Ahrefs has won every backlink checker test I have ran – including this one! It is by far the best backlink chcker!

aherfs backlink checker results

The free account gives you quite a lot of backlink based data but you can only see the top 10 backlinks of each report.

Go to backlinks > external, then backlinks > new/lost to export as many as you can with the free account.

The paid account allows you to export all of them into a CSV file in one click. Check out my 1 million domain Ahrefs case study.

Majestic SEO (free/paid) – 8,500

I have a bit of a history with Majestic SEO but they are always one of the top performers in terms of the number of backlinks they provide.

majestic seo competitor analysis

If you sign up for a free account you can export all of the backlinks for sites you own & verify which is sweet!

But to check other people’s backlinks like Ahrefs it’s limited to the top 10 backlinks. Get more by going to the backlinks tab & the new tab!

The paid account gives you 1 click access to export everything into a CSV file. Check out my 1 million domain Majestic SEO case study.

SEO Spyglass (free/paid) – 5,599

In my earlier tests SEO Spyglass performed poorly but a recent update has added a database of 15,000,000,000,000 links. That is more than Ahrefs & Majestic SEO.

SEO Spy Glass

SEO Spyglass is different than other backlink checkers as it runs as a piece of desktop software rather than a web based tool.

It will go out and find backlinks, check if they are live, report on things like anchor text, PR, social shares & more. All of this data is retrieved in real time and is as fresh as you can get!

The free version of SEO Spyglass is limited to 1,100 backlinks per URL but you can’t export these links.

Where as the paid version goes all out allowing you to bulk check as many URL’s as you want without limits!

It is available for a onetime fee which makes it a great investment compared to the monthly fees of most paid backlink checkers.

Open Site Explorer (free/paid) – 2,129

Open Site Explorer comes as part of the Moz suite of SEO tools and as they don’t specialise in link checking the database isn’t anywhere near the size of others.

open site explorer

A free search will let you get the top 50 backlinks for each URL. Clicking on the just discovered tab will get you an extra 5!

The paid version gives you the export to CSV option as well as access to the rest of the Moz suite of tools!

BacklinkWatch (free) – 1,517

Backlink Watch is a great free backlink checker to find a website’s backlinks and delivers a pretty decent size of results no strings attached!

backlink watch competitive analysis

While you can’t export the results easily you can copy them, then in excel right click > paste special > text > ok.

Backlink Watch actually uses Ahrefs to power its database so you can get some decent results.

As you can see in this test though Ahrefs actually returned 11,227 results where as Backlink Watch only returned 1,517 – 13% of those.

Small SEO Tools (free) – 599

The Small SEO Tools backlink checker is also completely free to use!

check competitor backlinks with SmallSEOTools

While it does return some good results it is hard to export them, you have to click through 10 result pages one at a time to copy them out.

But it is free to use so you get what you pay for I guess =D

Traffic Travis (free/paid) – 558

Traffic Travis is like SEO Spyglass in that it runs as a desktop application but it also has a bunch of other handy SEO tools & features.

traffic travis

The free version actually lets you do quite a lot of things not just checking backlinks!

It uses Open Site Explorer as its backlink data source but also looks up real time data like page rank.

It is a great free tool to have in your arsenal!

Link Diagnosis (free) – 250

Link Diagnosis is also a handy free competitor backlink analysis tool although it did deliver limited results.

link diagnosis link checker

On the upside though it uses the Open Site Explorer database and if you install the Firefox extension it is really handy!

You can even export all of the backlinks easily in one click!

Step 3 – Creating A Master List Of Competitor Backlinks

Now you have collected as many backlinks as possible from as many sources as possible for each of the top 10 results we can move forward!

Open notepad and copy all of the links into one master .txt file and save it somewhere.

Next we need to remove all of the duplicates which you can do with the free DupeRemove tool.

Once you have done that we can move onto the actual competitor backlink analysis.

Step 4 – Competitor Backlink Analysis

At this point your master list of competitor backlinks could be pretty large – so to make sure we are working efficiently we are going to do a bit of competitor backlink analysis to pick out the best ones.

In general all I look for are backlinks that are indexed in Google and have a PR value of some kind. These are the priority links.

You can make a separate list of links that are indexed in Google but don’t have a PR value as a secondary targets list.

Basically if its indexed in Google, it’s good enough to link to my site.

Method 1 – RankCracker

RankCracker is my private SEO tool that I developed for this exact process.

You can download your copy of the free SEO software here!

Method 2 – Excel / Scrapebox

If you have Scrapebox then you can use that to look up lots of different data.

Follow my backlink profile analysis tutorial to check if links are still live, which anchor text they use, what PR they are and if they are indexed in Google.

Method 3 – SEO Tools For Excel

You can also use SEO Tools for Excel to build a spreadsheet to lookup a range of data.

The only problem is if you have a lot of links to process, this can be quite limiting.

However it is free to use and with a bit of elbow grease you can make a pretty good link prospecting sheet.

Method 4 – Inspyder Backlink Monitor

I use Inspyder Backlink Monitor to monitor all of my tiered link building campaigns. It is also a great tool to look up bulk data on backlinks.

inspyder backlink monitor

Just paste the list of links, hit go and it will check if they are still live, if they are indexed, what PR they have and a bunch of other things.

You can also export data in a range of formats making it easy to filter out the best links.

Method 5 – SEO Spyglass

SEO Spyglass is not just a backlink checker, it is also a complete backlink analysis tool.

You can paste in a list of URL’s and it will first retrieve all of the backlinks for each URL.

You can then go a step further and get it to do a deeper competitor backlink analysis to determine the quality of each of them.

SEO Spyglass competitor backlinks

If you have found backlinks from other tools it is easy to import those as well. SEO Spyglass is great for competitor backlink analysis and doubles up as a great link finder too!

Step 5 – Replicating Competitor Backlinks

Now it is just a case of going through each of the links one at a time and using your head.

Open each link in your browser and see how your competitor got their link on that page.

Sometimes it might be a blog comment, so you just need to post your own comment.

Sometimes it’s a forum post so you just need to register and get involved in the discussion.

Sometimes it will be a guest post and you will have to send an email to submit your own guest post.

As you work through the list replicating links you’ll get a good feel for this process.

While you’re doing this not only will you be uncovering great links you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. You’ll also build your understanding of link building & SEO in general.

Step 6 – Creating A Golden Links Database

Getting as much value out of your time as possible is important.

So as you go through the list replicating links, make sure you keep track of everything and make a note of which you have replicated/submitted.

Once you have finished replicating your competitors backlinks you can then bulk check which ones you now have a live backlink from.

competitor backlinks databaseThese backlinks are gold!

Create a separate links database spread sheet which lists all of the backlinks that have stuck!

As you do this over time you will build a huge list of powerful links that are helping to drive the top 10 results.

In the future you can come back to this spread sheet and use it for other projects over and over again.

This is a highly valuable business asset to have.

I also add a column called Niche with options like Technology, Business, Finance, General to make it easy to filter them by topic.

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it – competitor backlink analysis is one of my favourite link building tactics that has stood the test of time & algorithm updates.

It is easy for anyone to do and you can take advantage of free tools to get you started.

No need to learn spinning or any complicated software – it’s perfect for anyone new to SEO & link building.

The end result will be that you will have all of the backlinks your top 10 competitors do pointing to your 1 site.

How To Find Competitors Backlinks

  1. Collect a list of competitor URLs
  2. Use a free or paid backlink checker to find competitor backlinks
  3. Merge the data into a master list
  4. Analyse all of the links
  5. Replicate them to your own site
  6. Create a central source of backlink data to refer to in the future

This is the link building strategy I use on new sites before doing anything else and if that doesn’t get you first page rankings then you have the perfect natural foundation to leverage further.

Who knew that competitor backlink analysis was so powerful?

873 Responses

  1. Alice Brown

    This is a really great post Matthew. I am a big fan of ripping off competitor backlinks when launching a project (it’s just too much of a quick win not to).

    For those new to SEO it teaches what makes a good profile and gives them actions that they can follow to actually start getting off their arse and building links!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 4th, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Its win win win =D

      • Kostas Pap
        February 15th, 2014 at 3:25 pm

        Always Extremely Valuable Information from you Matthew! You are doing great job!

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 15th, 2014 at 7:51 pm

          Thanks :)

          • samir kumar
            December 13th, 2018 at 11:51 am

            SEO is a long time process. And google is changing is policy. Not only five but also everything .

      • Marcus
        April 15th, 2015 at 3:46 am

        Yes, always been a great method to help emulate your competition’s rankings in search engines. Just about anyone can do it, it just takes a bit of effort and time, but you can contribute your own content, expertise and advice to people in the links and comments you write. Win Win situation for both website owners.

    • Ashish Nagwanshi
      December 1st, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Hi Alice,

      You are right. He has described everything in detail. What i like most in this article is that he has covered almost every SEO tool you will need to build backlinks.

      It is time to download RankCracker too. But there is one question i want to ask you Matthew.

      How many backlinks we should create at once?

      For example- If there is blog which is only 6 months old. It does not have a very good link profile. Now, the owner of the blog starts building backlinks.

      Wouldn’t it be a problem because Google will find too many backlinks being created all of a sudden?


    • jaysen
      February 7th, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Great knowledge I owe you a beer buddy! Its what I need for my freelance designer London site!

    • Vineet Jain
      September 24th, 2015 at 1:36 am

      Hi Matthew

      I was randomly looking for backlinking strategy, the tools and other info all over the web. But when I finally landed on to your website, I closed all the other tabs from my screen. Here I got much more than what I was looking for.
      I am new to SEO and I am preparing myself for the interview and this massive information is going to be a big help to me

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us all


      • Matthew Woodward
        September 25th, 2015 at 12:03 pm

        No problem Vineet glad it has helped you out!

    • Ian
      November 14th, 2015 at 5:37 am

      At the risk of sounding a complete fool…

      I ran the url through SEO Spyglass and clicked on the top link to go to the page. There was nothing obvious how the site got their backlink, I mean nothing in the comments section or in the article.

      Each comment with link posted is a ‘do not follow’ link as per a Chrome add on telling me this.

      I am correct that there is no point in me commenting and dropping a link as it is ‘no follow’ so it will not give me any juice?


      Have I missed the point that just dropping the link is cool?

      • Matthew Woodward
        November 21st, 2015 at 6:29 pm

        View source and search for the domain to see where it is first

    • Rachel Shelley
      July 10th, 2017 at 10:33 am

      For either Alice or Matt,
      For someone rather new to SEO and launching a website, would you say this process takes some experience to navigate since it involves multiple tools? Or is it fairly straight forward. (I suppose that would depend on the software.) Again, excellent tutorial Matt. I’ll be giving it a go here shortly.

      And speaking of golden lists, I have an excel sheet with links to valuable articles for my own website building and promoting which feature basically 100% Matt Woodward content. Cheers!

      • uma maurya
        April 20th, 2018 at 11:57 pm

        Its a great blogs. Thanks for give us for informational article.

    • indiapariksha
      July 21st, 2018 at 3:10 am

      nice great job

      • Matthew Woodward
        July 24th, 2018 at 10:56 am

        Thanks :)

  2. Bashoo Zmmarraii

    What a great post mat!

    Thumbs up

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Thanks Bashoo!

  3. Febro

    What?!?! This is a crazy cool tutorial. It’s so nice that you show different methods! :D

    You just once more outranked your self ;)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 9th, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Hahaha nice pun ^^

  4. Adam


    Although my competitor in the top spot has a lot of viagra related anchor text back links from arabic looking sites… might have to pass up on those opportunities! Good to see a number of methods for those who may not have scrapebox also.

    Great methods thought Matthew. Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Yeah you need to use a small amount of common sense but it sounds more like your competitor is under a negative SEO attack more than anything

  5. Seb Atkinson

    I literally published my own article on this same topic last night… But yours is in much more detail and much more thorough while mine skims the surface!

    What do you think about Open Site Explorer? I’ve read it is a bit slow to pick up new links – AHREFS is apparently more accurate and up to date. Thinking about switching

  6. Akbar Sheikh

    Take a bow sir! You have, yet again, produced a gem of a post! It’s becoming a habit now!!!!



    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Haha thanks Akbar!

  7. mindlesswizard

    Very good post Matt !! Perhaps one easy way to get ranked is to follow what your competitor is doing :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am

      If it works for them… ^^

  8. William Rock

    As you know Matt I respect you, however in this one… I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. As we all know these techniques mastered the days of being able to fake out Google and other Engines and still does on most engines. However if you really dig deep into those links you guys are building you may see depending on the industry of course that you are NOT GETTING much ROI out of those leads. So WHY do it?

    If you ask most successful marketers where do you get most of your leads from? I would suspect many would say Organic + PPC and WELL Link Building is the death of most sites since May 22nd of 2013 with the monster release of the Killer Penguins.

    If anything I would be looking at how bad are your competitors links and figure out how NOT do do that since we have seen Google is going away from Trusting Links and or Going at things with another logical way but with machine learning and knowledge graph developing a VR Type “Ask it any Question” and it seems to know type Algo.

    Just as links so are Keywords and OLD way to Market. You can take the Yellow Brick Road to somewhere in Kansas or maybe go directly to OZ… Your Choice! Ok, that is my 2 Cents.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:59 am

      Hi William,

      What on earth are you talking about?

      On one hand you say there is no ROI out of the leads and on the other your saying most get leads from organic + PPC.

      The bottom line is if you want good search rankings, you need backlinks. Well you need a lot of things, but backlinks is one of the main ones!

      Link building isn’t the death of sites, inexperienced link builders are.

      • Art Vandelay
        October 6th, 2013 at 8:30 pm


    • Shawn
      October 11th, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Hello William, I think you may be a little confused. If you are replicating the back links of the top 10 organic searches. Google has already deemed these as worthy back links no mater what stage of the Google algorithm we are under.

      I may not be an expert. People go on and on about this strategy and that strategy and Google’s latest changes but there is really ONLY 2 factors in ranking high with Google yes in my opinion there is only 2 factors.

      1. Content – be it blog post, article writing, social media or videos. Google is always a fan of good useful content. And then within everything you post or write just include a link back to a page on your domain.

      2. Back links it has in my opinion been a simple plan. Get more links then your competitor and you will rank as high or higher depending on these 2 factors.

      My winning plan – Replicate the back links of the top competitors for your website and keywords. See who is linking to them and why. Is it blog post, forum post, mention on social media just do what they did and then increase it by 30%

      Now look at these post your competitor made, his articles, his content and write better articles. Don’t steal what he did on this part just expand on what they did. It will make better more relevant content and will boost your rankings.

      In fact mention your competitors article or post and add content they failed to mention it will give you better content and with the new way google is doing with hummingbird changes it will boost your ranking also.

      • Matthew Woodward
        October 18th, 2013 at 11:34 am

        What Shawn said.

        1) content – see what your competitors are doing, do it better
        2) backlinks – do what your competitors are doing, do it better

        Also linking out to the top 10 will increase your rankings, it makes you more relevant and your page becomes the discovery hub for that topic at hand.

        • Simon
          October 27th, 2013 at 7:57 pm

          Hi Matt,

          Why does linking out to the Top Ten increase the worth of your site in the eyes of google?

          Nofollow links?

          • Matthew Woodward
            October 28th, 2013 at 8:26 am

            Because your page becomes the gateway drug, dofollow links.

        • Susan Rose
          November 9th, 2013 at 1:30 am

          Amen! Great Post TY for this info- Really appreciate!!!

          • Matthew Woodward
            November 10th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

            No worrys :)

      • Harsha
        August 24th, 2015 at 10:54 pm


        Agreed to your point because content is he engine, power of our sites. But you missed the point that keyword ranking is much more important than these backlinks because if top 10 competitors are existing on first page for years then replacing them with new article is tough but yes it is possible :)

    • Tim
      October 12th, 2013 at 2:24 am

      That is truly not the case. As you pointed out – leads come from organic and PPC.

      Link building is essential to SEO, it’s just a fact.

      As Mathew put it, inexperienced link builders are the death of sites.

      SEO and linkbuilding aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

  9. Tony

    Hi Matt,

    How about those backlinks which are mini-sites? Should I replicate them?

    I noticed that my competitor is using minisites to rank.

    Same with paid directories and sponsor links. Most sites rank well using it.

    Your thoughts?



    • Matthew Woodward
      October 7th, 2013 at 9:19 am


      By mini sites do you mean their own private network?

      • Tony
        October 9th, 2013 at 12:53 am

        Yes, exactly. Their own private network. What do you think?

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 9th, 2013 at 10:17 am

          Then its likely you’ll need to build your own private network to compete!

  10. ChrisCD

    When reusing the link spreadsheet, overtime wouldn’t you dilute the PR that is flowing through to each site?

    cd :O)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Not really you would have to use it an awful lot ^^

    • the rookie
      October 21st, 2013 at 2:05 am

      Even if you were diluting the PR, your competitors (at least the original top ten back link profiles you copied) would get diluted equally the same so your rank -assuming you got to number one– would stay number one. The links would still benefit all your other sites, and you wouldn’t be hurting your ranked sites

  11. Gordon Lee

    Thanks Matt for another great tutorial and showing that it is not always necessary to get the latest, greatest SEO tool or service out there to get started in building quality backlinks.

    All we need is a little bit of elbow grease, some smarts and lots of good help from you!

    Like you said… its a win win win. (:

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Cheers Gordon hope it helps some people out!

  12. Stephen Alberts

    Freakin awesome once again! I have 2 quick questions:

    1. I have a local client and and a local yelp listing is outranking his site. I put out great content and decent backlinks. My next step is to follow your tiered backlink strategy to see if I can bump it up and give juice to the links that he already has. Any ideas on how to outrank local directories?

    2. The way SEO is going I know it’s not so much quantity and it’s quality but if my clients site has 55 links and his competitor has 110 should I try to get more?

    Thanks again man! You rock!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 7th, 2013 at 9:18 am


      1) is it out ranking his site for his own brand?

      2) Your question counters itself :P

      • Stephen Alberts
        October 7th, 2013 at 9:16 pm

        Thanks for the response!

        1. His own website is ranking around the bottom of the page. The top 2 listings are general “Plumbers Austin TX” yelp, angies list and yahoo directory listings. I’m looking at his competitors on page 1 and will copy their backlinks. But I just can’t seem to outrank the generic yahoo, yelp and angies list rankings. Any ideas?

        2. Sorry my question kind of sucked. What I meant to say is it still important to get more links than a competitor? I plan on researching their backlinks and then replicating.

        Thanks again!

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 8th, 2013 at 10:19 am

          Hi Stephen,

          I would replicate links and then see where the land lies – sites like yelp get a nice natural boost from Google when it comes to local.

          I certainly wouldn’t shy away from getting more local citations and social signals.

          Forget about backlink numbers so much, its hard to measure in that way

          • Stephen Alberts
            October 9th, 2013 at 3:00 pm

            Cool man sounds great, thanks!

          • Matthew Woodward
            October 10th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

            No worrys!

        • the rookie
          October 21st, 2013 at 2:11 am

          Exactly what Matt said. Id also consider trying to get a yelp listing and listing of your clients to rank, that will possibly beat the competition for the local searches. They point to your clients info anyways and if a searcher sees great reviews they will likely go to your clients site or even call them from the listing.

          This will typically give your clients another bump in the results. You could end up being the top local listings and get the site to rank top underneath that.

  13. Michael Booker

    Just so I am clear, do you use all these backlink checkers each time you do a campaign? Seems very time consuming however you cannot argue with the results.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Using the backlink checkers isn’t the time consuming part, going through it all and replicating is :)

  14. Catherine

    Is it just the links to the specific page that ranks in the top 10 that we are after or the links for the main domain?

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Ranking to your top 5 competitors will increase your rankings

      • Simon
        October 27th, 2013 at 8:07 pm

        Sorry mate I don’t understand your response to this question.

        Could you clarify?

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 28th, 2013 at 8:25 am

          Ooops *linking

  15. ChrisCD

    Also, you may see some of my friends from Web Pro World coming over for a visit. Hopefully, they will find the info valuable and want to be your friend, too. :O)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Thanks for the share Chris much appreciated!

  16. allen

    Thanks for this post!

    When talking about stealing the backlinks – would this only pertain to web 2.0 type sites? For instance if the competitors have back links from newspapers and legitimate (ie not link wheel) blogs – how would you add your link to those?

    Ps became an email subscriber yest – glad I did!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:46 am


      Well from a newspaper site it could be from a comment or a user generated content area.

      If its from an actual article, well just pick up the phone and speak to the paper.

  17. Rudy

    Great walk-through. I’ve done this a few times but didn’t know about the DupeRemover tool. You just saved me a whole heap of time. Thanks. Owe you a pint :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Haha no worrys, cheers Rudy!

  18. Your Name

    Nice Tute Matt, you devil!! I had the general idea of this, but your explanations fill in a few gaps.

    Very nice – can’t wait to apply it.

    Will just have to work nights ^.^

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Hustle hustle malc :P

  19. Manuel


    A very good post. This reminded of an instance in the past when a competition of our business came crying in a meeting we had with a major supplier because they complain that their customers phone us instead of them when their customers use Google or Yahoo in searching for their company name.

    The customers could not find their contact info anywhere on the web – instead our contact info dominated at least 3 pages on search.

    I know it is wicked of me to have done that but if they did not steal our customers by offering them a big cut on our quote to the clients, I could not have done it. I just got even and taught them a good lesson on playing fair.

    Keep up with sharing your knowledge, bro.


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Thats the beauty of the web! evolve or die!

  20. Ed

    Would you advise replicating the links even if your top competitors are using some ultra spammy links? In my field some of my competitors are pointing a ton of spammy links direct to their money site. I would really like to know what criteria you use when replicating the links? Do you simply try to replicate as many links as possible or do you target ones you see as particularly high value.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Hi Ed,

      Thats why we do the analysis and everyone will have their own definition/feeling for what a spammy link is.

      For me, if a backlink is good enough to be in googles index its good enough to point at my site.

      Some people make it a lot more complicated but I just keep it simple :)

  21. Amal Rafeeq

    Wow Matthew,
    I’m speechless. I’ve been doing SEO and Internet Marketing for the last 2 years and I wonder why I didn’t thought like this. Awesome idea + well put article mate. Way to go. Hats off to you.

    Thanks a lot :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:42 am

      Its an age old technique that often gets lost in the quest for ranking :)

      • Amal Rafeeq
        October 5th, 2013 at 6:34 pm

        But that really was something new to me!

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 6th, 2013 at 9:38 am

          Keep learning =D

  22. John Tweed

    This is a really detailed tutorial. I wanted something like this and its good to have it bookmarked for future reference. I don’t think anything else needs to be done besides this. It’s like taking the best from the best to create the new best in the serps. Thanks Matt!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:41 am

      Thats a very good way of looking at it!

  23. Fran


    Thanks for the awesome resource you’ve put together (and congratulations on this month’s earnings :-)

    What program are you using for the social media like gate?

  24. Troy Inderlee

    Thanks for the article. I got my work cut out for me. My biggest competitor basically owns the first page of 2 of the big 3 search engines. I think Google has been generous to me because I use their products all the time and do little favors. The problem I have is my competitor’s url is one letter off from mine and it seems he knows what he’s doing. Although our content is in the same general niche they are completely opposite and I don’t want to associate my brand with his. I’m going to take a look at his stuff but that’s it. If you ran a quick search you would see what I mean. It might just take time and hard work to out do him. What do you suggest? Thanks. I follow you on twitter @trdvdind

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:39 am

      I suggest you step your game up if you want to compete :)

      Take a look at how he is doing it, then do it better :P

    • Manuel
      October 5th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      If you’re a local business, try dominating the local directories (Google local, Yahoo local, Map Quest) with your links. That’s basically what I did. I created some tiered layers which directs to all my local information and bombarded them with spam. Worked great for me, I just can’t guarantee that it will work for you too.

  25. Khiem Nguyen

    Hey Matt, you stated this about SEO Spyglass:
    “You can paste in a list of URL’s and it will first retrieve all of the backlinks for each URL.”

    Could you tell me where can I paste the top 10 list? Currently when starting a project I just can enter the keyword or adding 1 single competitor’s URL.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:44 am

      File > New Project Expert Options > Create Numerous Projects

  26. Ian Wilcox

    Another spot on post Matt

    Personally i have got better results over the years by doing this than using any automated tool.

    Only problem i find is when alot of the top 10 have lots of links from PR domains, But hey you can combat that by having your own little network

    Keep up the great work :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Thats true and by doing this you will have learnt exactly what it takes to rank and if you need a network etc

      Although even if they have a network you can still get links from it if your creative, trackbacks for example ^^

      • Pauli
        October 5th, 2013 at 9:27 am

        Hi Matt,

        Sometimes I cannot get links when I do this, As a previous poster said they have lots of links from PR domains, but at least you can see how they are ranking and just copy what they are doing. (Nice tip on trackbacks ;)

        Also Inspyder Backlink Monitor a nice little tool, but you can use Sleuth Xenu which is free to check for live links and it does it a lot faster.

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 6th, 2013 at 9:43 am


          Yeah that is sometimes the cases but then you know what you need to do :P

          I’m not using Inspyder to check if the links are still live, I’m using it to pull back indexed status/PR values etc

  27. marty

    I see I have my homework for the weekend.I am such a beginner that SEO and traffic kind of confuses me but I hope this really helps.Thanks now I am going to go bookmark this

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:36 am

      Let me know if you get stuck/need help!

  28. David Mika

    It’s nice to see I’m not the only one that still uses Link Diagnosis lol. That thing has been around since forever.

    Overall great article – I think you’re spot on.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Hahah yeah its pretty old school just a shame it only returns limited results

  29. steven vu

    Your article very interesting, I learned a lot from you.
    thank you

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Cheers Steve!

  30. Iman

    Great backlink checker tools… can spy competitors… then beat them!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Thats the plan ^^

  31. Kevin

    Thank you very much for your great post. I cann’t believe that SEO is so simple and easy to start like the method you write in this article.

    I am new to SEO but I can understand how effective it can be.

    Best regards

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Thanks Kev – good luck =D

  32. Matthew Woodward
  33. Ileane

    After you have gone through this process, how long does it take before you begin to move up in the serps and how long do you stay there?

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Thats not really a question that can be answered accurately

      • Ileane
        October 6th, 2013 at 10:32 am

        You might be right about that but the answer makes a huge difference. After all this is a lot of work to do and it might not be worth the time investment in the end.

        As more people use this strategy – and if they are going after the same keywords – their rankings will go up and down like a roller coaster.

        I think they call it the Google Dance. Happens a lot in my niche, probably not so much with others.

        Any advice for folks on the other side of the coin? In other words, what do you suggest to someone when they find that everyone else is using this strategy to steal their top rankings for keywords?

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 7th, 2013 at 9:14 am


          Well I can be 99.9% confident that most of your competitors wont be using this tactic as people are generally fixated on using tools/networks they can’t see the wood for the trees.

          Is this a lot of work compared to manually spinning a bunch of content to use with software? This is the easy shortcut ;)

          I would first use this to create a competitive foundation then depending on where you sit on the risk scale leverage that with additional link building which might be gentle guest posting or all out blog network spam.

          • Ileane
            October 10th, 2013 at 2:28 pm


            If I were anyone else I would totally agree with you. But I think I’m a special case.

            I’m in a niche of blogging about blogging and my friend Ana Hoffman has been teaching this strategy for a couple of years now. Since most of my “competitors” follow her and they follow me as well – I know that they are using this strategy. Because they are ranking for the exact keywords that she and I talk about all the time.

            Pat Flynn has been on the other side of the coin and so has my other friend Lisa Irby. That’s why they learned to be a little transparent about some of their newer niche site ideas.

            As far as any kind of “spinning” is concerned, that’s not something I would even consider.

            Thanks for all your advice and I’ll be sure to share this post with my networks.

          • Matthew Woodward
            October 18th, 2013 at 11:35 am


            So in essence what you have is a bunch of people doing the exact same thing as a bunch of other people?

            There is some serious risk there!

          • Iain
            October 19th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

            That does make it a bit hard to differentiate yourself.

            I guess that’s why they say carving out your niche is important.

          • Matthew Woodward
            October 22nd, 2013 at 9:28 am

            Then again I’m not doing anything different to most – its just HOW I do it that seperates.

        • Iain
          October 12th, 2013 at 11:56 am

          As Matthew said, the idea is to create a solid foundation, so that you have the chance to rank.

          Also, many people won’t go through this rigorous process unless they have an SEO doing it specifically.

          That’s my two cents.

  34. Dirk

    Hey Matt, a waste of time in my opinion. Why would you spent time doing such a boring and useless job when you could be making quality content that people naturally link to? Make good content and you don’t have to beg for links…

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:42 am

      What if you made good quality content and it only ranks #7?

    • Matt B
      October 9th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      One of the biggest lies in internet marketing/SEO “Just build quality content and people will come…blah blah blah.”

      Making money while making the internet a better place is not a waste of time in my opinion.

      You know what is? Writing bits of brilliance that are lost in a sea of 42 MILLION + blogs (and that’s just wordpress).

      • Matthew Woodward
        October 10th, 2013 at 12:24 pm
      • Simon
        October 28th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

        Nice two footed tackle there Matt B (studs up!)

        I share your angst with the concept that cracking content will save the day and see you effortlessly sail past your competitors to take your deserved position at #1 in SERPS. And with the NEW SEO mantra of ‘links are dead’

        Clearly Matt has proved that quality content and promoting the shit out of it every day gets traffic.

        And if you take any interest in your own or your competitors links or if you read between the lines in Matt’s blog you will know that links are not dead and do work.

        Great method of assessing the amount of work you need to do in order to rank in SERPS but I would suggest just because your competitor build 5,000 blog comments you might consider a better use of your time/money in building fewer more powerful links.

        Matt, thoughts?

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 29th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

          My thoughts are in the data I’ve already published rather than my opinion. data > opinion :)

  35. Andy

    Very good post, something all newbies should know how to do.

    It might be a bit disheartening though if you are going for something juicy and profitable, because most of the links will be paid and will set you back tens of thousands of dollars. At least in the iGaming industry in which i operate, that appears to be the case. When things like this happen you have to either have a lot of money, or start your way from the bottom targeting noncompetitive longtails.

    Anyway, good little tutorial :-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:41 am

      If by igaming you mean casino, well a newbie could never compete there. ever.

  36. Phil

    Hey matt, as always, great post. No matter what others say, backlinks are still the way to go (oh, and hey, thanks for getting out of business and being no longer a competitor, if you think backlinks are no longer working)

    However, didn’t work for me as the abbreviated the link most of the times with “…..” which doesn’t get me the complete backlink.

    Nevertheless, I will dive deep into this amazing technique, thanks for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Hi Phil,

      Yeah thats the problem with free tools, better just firing up an ahrefs sub!

  37. Kazura

    Wow, as I did this, I was amazed at how the number of links from sites on page 2 and beyond fell off considerably. I thought I would have to do so much work to even crack the Top 10, but now it looks way more attainable.

    Of course, your niche will determine this, and your results may vary.

    Awesome tip!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Thanks Kazura – its surprising what you find when you dig :)

  38. Lalit Burma

    One word for this post – “IMPRESSIVE”

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Thanks Lalit!

  39. James


    Wow very nice! I now have a couple of weekend projects! Very timely because I just launched a new niche blog and since I am new to IM and SEO was wondering were to start. Now I have a roadmap.

    BTW I pimped my social networks for the PDF and didn’t get a download link?

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Hi James,

      Send me an email and I’ll get it over to you!

  40. Catherine

    So I reviewed my competitors in ahrefs and it looks like about 6-7 of the top 10 use purchased links. Several of them show most of the links coming from Russia…and these are large, U.S. based sites. Interesting.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Then you know what to do to be #1 ;)

  41. Chris Potter

    Is it just me or does anyone else just love the shady guy in the mask in the featured image?

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:35 am

      You love him? ^^

      • Chris potter
        October 6th, 2013 at 12:30 pm

        Well maybe that’s a little overboard. But the image is so spot on.

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 7th, 2013 at 9:11 am

          Haha ;)

  42. Iain

    This is a great idea. I actually use it when I create a niche site. It give the site a great base as you pointed out.

    Doing it on the level you’re talking about here would really help build an extremely solid foundation.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 6th, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Easy to give to an outsourcer as well :)

      • Iain
        October 12th, 2013 at 11:57 am

        That’s a good point.

        I wonder how much something like this would cost.

        I imagine that you would have to put a candidate through a vetting process to make sure that they knew what they were doing as well.

        • Matthew Woodward
          October 14th, 2013 at 9:28 am

          Depends which country you hire from ^^ Personally I always go to the Philippines

  43. oludare

    I love what i just read and i bookmark your site to visit again nice one their Mathew.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 7th, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Thanks oludare!

  44. Jasmine

    This is indeed one of the best researched post about ripping off your competitor Ii have ever read.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 7th, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Jasmine :) But researched post suggests I researched it, this is my process ^^

  45. Jay Dorsey

    Great article. Thank you for sharing these links and the strategy of how to apply them to analyze the top rated sites.

    After a quick run-through with just one or two URLs I do notice a pattern. Much of the content is paid posts, links, or content (e.g. linkspam). No wonder I can’t find anything useful using google :P

    As Catherine mentioned, .ru sites seem to be pretty popular. So does link spamming and then removing the backlinks.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 7th, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Hi Jay,

      Its what you do with that information that counts ;)

  46. axyz

    When you say finding all of the backlinks for each of the top 10 results are you talking about the actual pages or the corresponding domains ?
    I am asking because i tried with ahref and majestic seo to find backlinks for a particular url and they found nothing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 8th, 2013 at 10:25 am

      The actual pages :)

      Sometimes you will find nothing – are you finding nothing for the entire top 10 though?

      If you are, well you are more than onto a winner there!

  47. AJ

    I understand this post is for unranked keyword pushes and affiliate linkage as you’ve produced similar in the past, however no gripe, just a query.

    What if your competition has no back links on the landing page?

    I have a customer with a niche product that has always ranked well and for a long time, everything is optimised discretely and gets good general back links and social media. However over the last 8 months it has gradually been over taken by rubbish info sites and old content. In fact all the eCommerce sites have dropped for the niche keyword (some rightly so).

    None of the competition have back links (except the Wikipedia) or produces much social media for their pages, even though their site homepages generally do. It almost seems that doing nothing on the site is better than something.. or my customer is getting dropped so they spend adwords cash :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 8th, 2013 at 10:24 am


      Actually its the first part of something much bigger but you’ll see in time :)

      Fire me over some more details in an email

  48. iconoclast

    hey matthew not a place to discuss. But i need your advice for something. I pmed you on the forum.

    And this tutorial of yours is awesome. I always wondered how these seo guys talk about high pr links.. I used to wonder how they get these high pr links and then do seo.

    You are BETTER then matt cutts in seo!.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 9th, 2013 at 10:19 am

      Hahaha don’t tell him that :P

  49. Ryan

    Backlinkwatch does allow you to copy and past into excel like you mentioned. What if the URL is to long and it ends with ‘…’ just scrape it? Or is there a way to get it w/o a ahrefs account?

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 9th, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Not that I’m aware of sorry =\

  50. Pete

    I see a lot of “deleted” links in Majestic SEO for my competitor. Is it not worth going after these?

    Also if my competitor has 600 links do I go after all of them (which would take a while) or should I start with 5-10 a week and see where it takes me?


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 10th, 2013 at 12:24 pm


      I would still try and get them if they look worth the punt but would but them on a lower priority.

      Just go after them as hard as you can :)

  51. Vukasin

    Hmm, I just checked yours. You have some nice ideas, I should steal some. Just joking.
    I’m more for creating something unique. I love to discover new sources so I don’t usually steal from others. But stealing competitors rankings can be good for newbies.
    Nice post!

  52. Jerry Hang

    Hi Matthew, how’s there? This is Jerry from Malaysia and I just want to say thank you for blowing my mind away ;)

    I am new for SEO and always tempted from those SEO tools out there like Senuke, Magic S… Do you think is a good idea to use these kind of softwares for our own money making site?

    Many thanks and catch up soon :)

  53. Ruthanne Crosby

    Hi Matthew,

    Very useful guide indeed, will surely try this method. Thanks a lot for sharing all the details.


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 14th, 2013 at 9:26 am

      Hope it helps you out Ruthanne!

  54. Adrienne

    Hey Matthew,

    Wow, that’s a heck of a lot of work.

    I was a little concerned as well if this is still as effective as in the past and then like Ileane had shared, how long does it take but reading through the comments and your responses I got my questions answered.

    I’m not that big on SEO but I will have a product launch coming up and would love to be able to rank pretty well for that so I’m keeping this in mind for that.

    Wow, I know I appreciate having read this so thank you for that. Great share…


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:29 am


      Yes its a lot of work and pretty manual but its low risk and no cost :)

  55. Ngah Benoit

    Hello Matthew,

    I give this post a 5 star rating. It has taught me so many things I did not know of, thanks so much for sharing this post.

    Have a wonderful and successful week

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Hope it helps you out :) I’m having a poorly sick week so far =\

  56. Michael

    Hey Matthew,

    Great post. I used to use SEO Spyglass myself a few years ago until it started to really suck after Yahoo stopped offering up it’s backlink info.

    Now that you have recommended it I am tempted to give it another try.

    What do you think about the other software they provide in the full SEO Powersuite package they offer?

    I am currently using Advanced Web Ranking to track ranking which I’m happy with, but I’m wondering if it’s worth getting the full SEO Powersuite package that includes Rank Tracker, LinkAssistant and WebSite Auditor at £229.

    I doubt I’ll use the WebSite auditor, but wondered what you thought of the other tools.


  57. Seofreak

    In your Ahrefs screenshot I can’t see what setting you used for Ahrefs. It looks like you compared Ahrefs default domain counts with Majestic SEO and Opensiteexplorer default URL counts.

    This results I get for both settings:


    External Backlinks 2,832
    Referring Domains 324
    Referring IPs: 165
    Referring Subnets: 147

    Referring Pages 1,904
    Total Backlinks 1,904
    Referring Domains 218
    Referring IPs 174
    Referring Subnets 151

    Total External Links: 885
    Total Linking Root Domains: 212
    Linking C Blocks: 109


    External Backlinks 24,650
    Referring Domains 1,003
    Referring IPs: 737
    Referring Subnets: 640

    Referring Pages 10,067
    Total Backlinks 13,908
    Referring Domains 1,091
    Referring IPs 997
    Referring Subnets 847

    Total External Links 3,649
    Total Linking Root Domains 403
    Linking C Blocks 218

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:15 am


      I just used the default settings

  58. Al Johnson

    If Mr. William Rock disagrees with you on this one, which does he agree with you on? Tiered linking? One less competitor I guess

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:14 am

      I think we’ll have to agree to disagree :)

  59. Arbaz

    That was a freaking awesome article Matthew.
    I am trying to learn SEO and ranking my websites and today I learned a lot about stealing my competitors ranking and moving up the SERPs.
    Great work mate :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Glad it helped you out =D

  60. 10.17.2013

    Hey Matt,

    Amazing post as usual.I do this too for new sites and its working wonders.This is something that is really good for peoples who are new to seo.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Its a nice way to begin learning the ropes with low risk :)

  61. Jonathan |

    Very Good.

    I use linkresearchtools for search bad links and the best links of other companys

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 10:56 am

      How do you find it?

  62. Erik

    Hey Matthew,

    First of all, I’m a big fan of your blog!

    How many proxies do you use for scrapebox? I have made a list of 8.000 links going to my competition. But when I try to check if they are indexed my (private)proxies get blocked. Even if I set scrapebox at 5 sec interval.

    Thank for your help.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 18th, 2013 at 10:54 am


      Who is your proxy provider?

  63. Matthew Woodward

    Thats for the heads up!

  64. Matthew Fritz

    This is a great and insightful post, full of information that anyone new to SEO should be reading and doing over and over again.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 23rd, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Cheers Matt :)

  65. Taras

    Hi Matthew,

    Great post, but sometimes if your competitor use spam links or the website quality is basically sh*t there is no need to get the backlink from the same website, and sometimes it is easier to make your own list of topic related websites where you can publish guestpost or something.

    Look for Trustflow 15+ guys!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 22nd, 2013 at 9:27 am


      Thats true which is why we spend time looking at that before creating the link

  66. Ben

    Small SEO tools are free online backlink checker and also providing more services which are also free. I am using it and would recommend it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 22nd, 2013 at 9:27 am

      They have pretty limited results in the test above though

  67. Mr.Ultra

    Why I did’t come to your site earlier?

    So much time was wasted and for sure I am going to read each of your posts carefully.

    Thanks for all of your good work.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 22nd, 2013 at 9:26 am

      Hahaha thanks :) Let me know if you have any questions!

  68. Erol

    My proxies are from Nick Crow an newipnow. Could it be that other people use the proxies as well or do I abuse em to much?

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 22nd, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Yeah it could be that, or that the proxies suck in the first place.

  69. gavin


    Been following you for a long time now. I will be developing a link checker + monitor software myself. Let’s see if i can achieve those numbers (should try to atleast match spyglass as our sources are almost same). Anywho probably i will be posting my own income journey very soon. Hope to be featured on your blog.


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 22nd, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Sounds great! Drop me a mail once you have got some income reports done!

  70. makotogim

    simply amazing! thanks a lot!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 23rd, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      No worrys :)

  71. headeulogy


    I go up against large franchise companies that have tons of PR announcement back links. What do you suggest against these? Also what do you suggest about the david vs goliath task of being a local little guy against the big franchises.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 24th, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Well thats the beauty of the internet, there is no david/goliath battle. Most large companies hire clueless SEO agencies so its fair game.

      But if your competition has lot of PR and press mentions – then you can do the same!

  72. Casper

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for all those great tuts on online marketing, always keeps me ahead of the game :). Just one question what software do you use for making these awesome video’s?

    Thanks again Matt!

    Have a great weekend!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 28th, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Hi Casper,

      I’m using camtasia studio and adobe after effects

  73. Rich

    Hi Matt, another great post (as usual!)

    have you got any tips/suggestions of the best way to analyse the hundreds (or even thousands) of competitor backlinks for posting/backlinking opportunities (other than manually trawling through each one!)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 28th, 2013 at 8:59 am


      Not just yet :)

    • Casper
      October 28th, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Hi Rich,

      I think I found the solution, copy and paste all backlinks in SEO spyglass, then update the linkfactors for each link. This can take a while and some private proxies are recommended. When this is finished you can see the link strenght for each link and you can prioritize your link building efforts.

      • Rich
        October 30th, 2013 at 9:23 am

        Thanks Casper, I’ll give that a go

  74. AAComputerZone

    Hi Matt

    Thanks a million for this amazing bit of information. It’s currently 1.20am and I have already started analysing my competitors back links. Fingers crossed this helps my laptop computer repair business. Out of interest is there anywhere where I can find a golden links database that’s already created…


    • Matthew Woodward
      October 28th, 2013 at 8:42 am

      You should sleep :P

      Yeah that golden links database is on the shelf right next to the stock market prices for the next year ;)

      • AAComputerZone
        October 29th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

        Haha thanks for the tip.

        • Matthew Woodward
          November 11th, 2013 at 10:23 am

          No worrys :)

  75. chff

    very helpful and super post. Thanx my dear.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 28th, 2013 at 8:24 am

      No worrys :)

  76. headeulogy

    I seem not to get the dup remover working. It says it takes only ANSI text files when I add my notepad files.

    • headeulogy
      November 1st, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      For those with the same issue I used this non-download tool here

      • Matthew Woodward
        November 11th, 2013 at 10:18 am

        I use excel for this but great little web tool!

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 11th, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Save them in ANSI format in notepad

  77. Leo

    Hey Matt, awesome ideas. Just wondering. Would you recommend us paying the algo updates of SEO SpyGlass?

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 2nd, 2013 at 2:59 pm


      Yes that helps keep it all upto date :)

  78. Ryan Law

    I’ve been using Open Site Explorer up until now, but thanks to this article, I’m exploring Ahrefs and Majestic, and it’s already looking like an improvement! Thank you for taking an in-depth approach to this article, it’s helped fill in a lot of the blanks in my backlink analysis!

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 11th, 2013 at 9:28 am

      No worrys :) I’ll be publishing a more indepth test of them all shortly!

  79. Andrea

    Hi Matt, I just discovered your blog and it’s amazing! Your backlink checker roundup made me switch to Ahrefs. Good job!

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 13th, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Thanks Andrea :)

  80. Jackson

    Is Link Diagnosis still working… For a long time its not working in my Firefox browser. Thanks a ton.. Matthew you are our hero, who gives out your knowledge for the betterment of the entire seo Professionals and marketing community… :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 24th, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Seems to be ok here, give cache a clear!

  81. Harsh Singh

    Excellent Post.
    Thanks for posting. Will read your blog regularly

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 23rd, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  82. DIMI

    thanks for sharing, majestic is my favorite +


    • Matthew Woodward
      November 25th, 2013 at 8:48 am

      No worrys :)

  83. Iwakuni

    Hi mat,

    as you said:
    “Sometimes it might be a blog comment, so you just need to post your own comment.
    Sometimes it’s a forum post so you just need to register and get involved in the discussion.”

    So, do you have any tips how to build safe backlink for blog comment and forum post after penguin 2.1 ?

    Best Regards

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 25th, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Yeah, just look at how your competitor has done it. Do that.

  84. deafharrison

    Hi mat,
    as you said:
    “Sometimes it might be a blog comment, so you just need to post your own comment.
    Sometimes it’s a forum post so you just need to register and get involved in the discussion.”
    So, do you have any tips how to build safe backlink for blog comment and forum post after penguin 2.1 ?
    Best Regards

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 2nd, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Well take a look at how your competition is doing it :)

  85. Jillian

    Hi Matt and thanks for the great post.
    I have been busy doing what you have suggested
    and, although for me it has been a lot of work, it seems to be
    working out quite nicely.
    I will check back in and let you know my results.
    Thanks again!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 6th, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Good luck with your ventures Jillian :)

  86. Paul

    Hi Matt:
    Great post – thanks.
    In my space the competitors that outrank me are guys like Amazon, Ebay, etc. You get the idea – super big giants. I’m in e-commerce space, and its getting quite obvious that Google is pushing lot of love towards the big, big enterprises.

    How do you compete with that?

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 8th, 2013 at 3:00 pm


      Make your pages better, drive social signals through after sales relationships, replicate backlinks and well… you should be selling on amazon & ebay anyway :)

  87. Anna

    Hi Matthew, just starting this task, awesome tutorial!! Just wondered, when I enter my domains into ahrefs to get the back links from my top 10 google results, shall I put the main domain that comes up in google or the subdomain that comes up too?

    The 1st result I get is a large department store but I am only interested in competing against their sub domain that comes up, but other competitors I want to compete site wide if that makes sense?

    Also when using paid ahrefs I extracted ‘back links’ and ‘external’ is this correct? I didn’t tick the ‘one link per domain’. Is this correct also?



    • Matthew Woodward
      December 11th, 2013 at 8:57 am


      The exact URL that is ranking in the SERPS!

  88. Estela Silva

    I give this post a 10/10 rating. It has taught me so many things I did not know of, thanks so much for sharing this post.
    This is a really great post

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 11th, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Thanks :)

  89. cartidevizita

    This is one of the best articles that i`ve ever read! You posted some verry important information my friend. Thx for sharing. You just won a new fan. Me! :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Hehe thanks :)

  90. Aayush Maggo

    This is hands down the best article I’ve read on Link Building. I am a newbie in SEO and the general link building strategies prescribed by the “experts” seemed elusive to me.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 20th, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Thanks :)

  91. Paul Armes

    Dead chuffed I found this page! Thank you so much for the clear cut approach you took. Can’t wait to get started now I know what I am doing!

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 19th, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      Glad it helped you out!

  92. Andy

    Yes your advice works, it takes time but i’m now on page 1 for my chosen keyword from page 10, to 4, to 1 im ranked result 10 on page 1 and still working on this.

    Great tip matty

  93. George

    There is one more site called ranksignals, in ahrefs i think you cant check more than five websites,it will ask you to signup fo further checking.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 30th, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Thanks for the share ^^

  94. Brijesh

    Hi, Matthew

    I wanna ask a question that can i know the content of competitors which who publish on any article, blog, press etc. when content is not indexed anywhere. Can we get it?

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 25th, 2014 at 11:27 am

      So you want to find content online that has not been indexed in Google, so you can re-use it?

      Try your local library and a scanner.

  95. Tanvir

    Thanks you sooooo much Matthew for giving us a great list to analysis competitors backlink.

    Really helped me a lot. I am gonna start following your tips aright away.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 1st, 2014 at 11:04 am

      No worrys – good luck :)

  96. Haroon

    Thumb up.. You have done a great job. i took 2 hour to understand and to deep study of your post. Now i am confident that i can make a list of my competitor backlink.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 8th, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      • Haroon
        February 8th, 2014 at 12:45 pm

        Yes i have many question and i will ask later.
        But here is my one question, that if i able to find the one of competitors backlinks website, then what to do if there is no option of comment over there or no option of guest posting. Then what should i do??

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 10th, 2014 at 11:30 am

          Well work out how they got the link, perhaps their is a paid advertising option they used, perhaps they just sent an email to the site owner etc

  97. Alan

    Thans for this

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 8th, 2014 at 9:44 am

      No worrys Alan!

  98. Ajithskochi

    Nice post ,i also use SEM rush ,how do you rate semrush with Ahref ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 14th, 2014 at 8:41 am

      They aren’t comparable tools

  99. Kat

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your great posts, I love discovering really in-depth articles – they are few and far between!

    I’ve been following this process and am up to analysing the backlinks and have tried unsuccessfully several times to download your rankcracker, but every time I put in my details, it doesn’t download – nothing happens!

    I’ve been able to login to but it keeps telling me “Sorry, it appears that you do not have access to this content.”

    I’ve signed up for it, I’ve “clicked heer”, I’ve done everything but I keep going in circles. Can you help please?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 17th, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Your login details are emailed to you (check spam)

      • Kat
        February 17th, 2014 at 10:58 am

        Thanks for your reply Matthew. I have the login details and can log in, that’s not the problem. When I log in all I see is a way to update my contact details, and at some point in trying to get to the program, I came across a different page with some strange news headlines (?) or something… but at no point did my computer download any program nor could I see a way to start using a program.

        I’m pretty computer savvy, and none of the signs are pointing to ‘go’ so far!

  100. Oglasi Crna Gora

    This is so awesome. Thank you a lot.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 21st, 2014 at 8:50 am

      No worrys :)

  101. Matt Smith

    Discovered this article on The Next Web. Excellent tips for SEO. I’ve just launched my first web hosting business and your tips have come in very handy.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 21st, 2014 at 8:47 am

      No worrys hope it has helped you out :)

  102. Jacqueline

    Great idea, only thing is each of these backlink check sites only let you put in 2-3 web URLs and only let you see 5 backlinks per site searched. They all want you to join and pay about $80 per month. :(

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 21st, 2014 at 8:45 am

      You get what you pay for =/

  103. Hadeel Shounaq

    Amzing tactic

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 25th, 2014 at 8:43 am


  104. Michael Lerner

    Matt, how do you know that these links have not been disavowed by the webmaster because they were considered Spam from the last Penguin update or the sites they came from were hit by Panda… They will still show up on link finding tools. This would be a risk on a long term basis. Doing what competitors did worked for me or 7 years, but Google is now fighting links with a vengeance and I paid the price in the last 8 months.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 4th, 2014 at 9:20 am

      You could apply that logic to every link you build.

      Plus, you only scrape the links of people who are ranking right now, eg not penalised by Penguin

  105. Alan

    Only 2 issues I see with this are:

    1) Comp has tons of PBN links which are the meat of their ranking success

    2) Hopefully the top 10 sites are algo proofed, in lower comp niches this could potentially kill you.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 5th, 2014 at 9:26 am


      I agree with point 1, but this does tell you if you need them to rank – when replicating links use your common sense. If the page is in korean with 3,000 outbound links, avoid ^^

  106. Paul Teller

    Great info to someone new to the SEO world trying to get a jump start on my competitors in real estate.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 7th, 2014 at 8:16 am

      No worrys :)

  107. Himanshu Jain

    I know these all tricks. Share if you have other trick.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 7th, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      Maybe you should teach us some tricks :)

  108. Jabon

    thank matt for your advice tools

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 10th, 2014 at 8:23 am

      No worrys :)

  109. Ankit Gupta

    Hey Matthew, 1st I salute you for your all posts, You are a real Mentor for me.
    But I have a query regarding my experience on linkbuilding,,,,
    I found My competitors backlinks on twitter, pinterest, google+ too and but when I create my own baclink there it does not count as my backlink. I waited for 1 month and but I don’t find any backlink through these platforms.
    I have submitted my blog to many places but still It has not got any backlink or link juice. hel me please????
    and I am thinking to use your tier link building method to increase my SERPs, I want to know how much tier 1 backlinks should I create per week to not hit by any google update. ?????

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 12th, 2014 at 8:38 am


      Just create a profile with a link to your site, the link exists. What makes you think it doesn’t ‘count’ ?

  110. Viktor Iwan

    Hi Matthew, this probably out of topic question. But my site just got slapped by google.. my friend already sent me my backlink profile through his ahrefs account.. do you have any idea/tips to define/detect what probably consider as bad links ? coz i’m about to use disavow tools

  111. Kevin Matthews

    Thank Matt,

    An inspired article and a bog help for our own seo! Much appreciated :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 21st, 2014 at 7:41 am

      No worrys :)

    • Kevin
      March 21st, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Big help! Hit the wrong key. LOL :)

  112. Sudhakar

    Extremely Helpful. I use ahref and backlinkwatch. I gonna try ur free rankchecker. thnx for the useful info

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 28th, 2014 at 8:54 am

      No worrys ^^

  113. Asfak

    Great tutorial! Can you tell me which software you use for making professional video tutorial and adding animation??

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 28th, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Adobe After Effects

  114. Mark Boyd

    hey buddy,

    would you recommend nofollowing the links to competitor sites and would there ever be a point when you’d consider removing them (as your rankings mature/improve).

    cracking blog btw!



    • Matthew Woodward
      March 31st, 2014 at 8:41 am

      No that would only hurt you – linking to your competitors is a great way to boost your rankings.

  115. Prerna

    Thanx for these tip, I just used the backlinks checker and wanted to know that does it matter that a backlink should be a dofollow one to increase ranking or it could be nofollow one also.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 31st, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Some people will say yes, but personally I don’t care about that.

  116. Tanveer Kazi

    Hi Matthew,

    I really liked your post, I gone through the post above & it was what I was looking for. I am new to SEO and this kind of articles help us improve our knowlegde. I didn’t had any idea that Backlinks can be built by this way too. Tools you mentioned and the free one’s ;) look compelling. I’ll also try the ranktracker and let you know my experience. Keep sharing your ideas, and thank you for sharing this incredible ideas.

    Tanveer Kazi

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 4th, 2014 at 7:30 am

      Thanks Tanveer :)

  117. chirag

    Thanks for these free tools!!!
    You saved a lot of my time which would have otherwise got wasted in geting first hand experience on those tools

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 4th, 2014 at 6:32 am

      No worrys :)

  118. Suprabhat Mondal

    Hey Matthew i had tried to download the rank cracker Seo tool for my blog but it shows one problem saying that it required .net upgradation but when i tried to update it get hanged no tell me any other way to overcome this

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 5th, 2014 at 8:21 am

      Just be patient it takes a long time to complete the .net install

  119. Syed Irfan Ajmal

    Hi Matt, great article indeed. Going to use your strategy on more than one projects. I’ve one question. What anchor text ratio should I use? As in, what should be the percentage amount of anchor text for my chosen primary keyword and the same for secondary and generic keywords? I am sorry if this is a repeat question; I did search the site but could not find what I am looking for. Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Look at the current top 10 to see how they break down

      • Syed Irfan Ajmal
        April 17th, 2014 at 10:41 am

        Makes perfect sense. Thanks :)

  120. Syed Irfan Ajmal

    One more question: should I go after mining the backlinks of the exact URL of competitor ( or should I download all backlinks of the TLD ( I will also appreciate if you can share the reason for choosing whichever of these two options you opt for. Thanks :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 12th, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Both ^^

      • Syed Irfan Ajmal
        April 17th, 2014 at 10:50 am

        I feel that I should download all the backlinks of the TLD only if the whole TLD is relevant to my niche. If its only the sub page that’s relevant, I should go after only the sub page. Do you agree?

        • Matthew Woodward
          April 18th, 2014 at 9:54 am

          Thats a wise move!

  121. Hemophilia

    Huge information..
    Thanks for you free excel too :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 15th, 2014 at 7:33 am

      No worrys :)

  122. Gilles Diaz

    Thanks Matt!
    I’m a photographer changing location from Berlin to my home land Colombia, I’m learning more and more about this important strategies so I can compete better over there, you just became number one source for learning all this stuff.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 18th, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Thanks – good luck with it all mate!

  123. Sultan Sumit Arefin

    what will I say? I am impressed. My core feelings says- Love you Mattew.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 18th, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Thanks =D

  124. Greg

    Matthew I am seriously impressed. As a Coach I like to be complete in my execution but this is fantastic. A thorough, smart and in-depth article that has given me more than enough ammunition to kick butt from tomorrow when I wake up! :) I never thought I would be excited to learn SEO tactics as I really wanted to outsource but, I am sure that I can ‘do better’ as my old teachers once said! Thanks for a meaty piece of writing for me to get stuck into!

    Have a great night

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Any advice as a coach to how I could improve things?

  125. Syed Irfan Ajmal

    Hi again Matt, I hope I am not being too annoying with all my questions. I am running a campaign for a client using the same strategy that you thankfully shared above. The issue I am facing in this campaign is that the top 10 sites of SERPs have too few backlinks. Like Only 500 in total. But all the sites ranked are sites with very high DA but the issue is that I can only mine the subpages backlinks in most cases as the TLDs target on more than one niche.
    What would you recommend in such a case? Increase my DA? Any tutorial on how to do that?

    PS: I’ve recommended your blog and this post in particular to a good few people. Thanks very much for your help.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 25th, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Perhaps look at building your own blog network to drive the rankings

  126. Abdullah Rifqie

    Thank you for the tutorial Matthew, By the way. Is this method safe for adsense?


    • Matthew Woodward
      April 29th, 2014 at 10:49 am

      As safe as anything else

  127. Jenny

    This is an awesome article! Ripper list of tools to check all the back links, there’s a few I hadn’t come across so will be trying them out. Thanks mate.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 11th, 2014 at 1:08 am

      No worrys hope it has helped you out!

  128. William

    I am new to all this stuff.. So if I start copying competitor’s links you have to go through all of them one by one to rebuild them? Cause in my niche this guy has 36000 back links..

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 16th, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      Well that depends, if you invest in tools – no. But all you need is your web browser and time if your not willing to invest

  129. kashosoft

    liked your post

    liked your post

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 23rd, 2014 at 12:10 am

      liked your reply ^^

  130. John Smith

    I’m currently using Moz, but it always takes too long to discover new links. I’ve noticed that it can sometimes take months for Moz to discover them. I’ll consider using Ahrefs. Thanks for the great article!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 28th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      Hope it helps you out!

  131. dunia remaja

    Thanks Matt for another great tutorial and showing that it is not always necessary to get the latest, greatest SEO tool or service out there to get started in building quality backlinks.

    All we need is a little bit of elbow grease, some smarts and lots of good help from you!

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 7th, 2014 at 2:21 am

      No worrys glad it helped you out!

  132. Jay

    Hi Matthew,
    Correct me if Im wrong here, but SEOspyglass seems to be a viable analyzer tool for discovering backlinks from sites using their robots.txt/htaccess to from blocking ahrefsbot, rogerbot, and the other usual suspects right?

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 13th, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Yes although I guess it would be possible to block the sources that spy glass uses as well

  133. Ronan Leonard

    Hi Matthew,

    Great post – really helpful. I intend to get a VA to help with this. As the article is nearly a year old is the anything that has changed since then?


    • Matthew Woodward
      June 13th, 2014 at 10:43 pm


      Not at all its an age old technique I’ve been using for years!

      • Wayne Alexander
        June 15th, 2014 at 11:31 am

        Hi Matthew,

        I’ve recently started doing this so hopefully will see some results over the coming month. I read previously that the recent updates were diminishing the usual back link building strategies – is going after links like this likely to incur penalties? Or would it be worst case that they just didn’t didn’t count?


        • Matthew Woodward
          June 23rd, 2014 at 2:26 am

          Any link can contribute to a penalty, just be smart and review each one :)

  134. Ronan Leonard

    Great to hear that it still works today. I have just read the entire blog again and you mention twice about linking to your competitors. Please expand
    1. Do you use Do Follow links to them
    2. Do you link from your main site or blog or a tiered site


    • Matthew Woodward
      June 23rd, 2014 at 2:24 am

      It allows you to become more of an authority/central source of information on a topic.

  135. Andy

    Very good tutotial, thank Matt, you’re awesome! I do step by step carefully!

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 23rd, 2014 at 2:20 am

      Thanks Andy! Hope it helped you out!

  136. Jonny

    Hi Matthew,

    If you’re doing this for a client, how would you know that they don’t already have a link from the domain you’re looking at? Would you have to download all of the client’s links and highlight the duplicates between their domains and the domains you’re about to check? Or is their a tool that could eliminate the need to do that?


    • Matthew Woodward
      June 23rd, 2014 at 1:22 am

      Even if they did already have a link from that domain a second one never hurts!

  137. Myra Love

    A classic post Matthew. I have been avoiding this due to time constraints but honestly, it has to be done! I guess I could outsource the research to save time. I have some of the tools and services, but not all. Can you recommend a good service to use for the research aspect? I would want to personally manage the link building process, however.

  138. Kaxil

    Is there any way in getting your backlinks Index faster or we just have to wait for Google to naturally discover your backlinks.

  139. Raul

    Hello Matthew,

    first of all awesome tutorial, I have a question I asked about using this type of method Google Webmaster Forum and they tell me that this method goes against Google Guidelines since links are not build natural like they called or basically that other people create them not the webmaster like happens in this case. So, my question is would Google penalize my website by using this method? Since links are not natural in Google eyes? I would appreciatte if you can resolve me this doubt since I dont want to be penalize again by Google.

    I am not trying to scare anyone just want to be sure nothing more.



    • Matthew Woodward
      July 2nd, 2014 at 1:14 am

      If you build any link of any type to your website you violate Google webmaster guidelines pure and simple.

      SEO is nothing more than risk management.

      If you don’t want to get penalised, don’t build any links of any type. But even then, you can still get penalised.

      • Raul
        July 2nd, 2014 at 11:04 am

        Hello Matthew,

        thanks for your reply, and yes you are right thanks for clearing that for me!

        But, I have one last question about the tutorial process that I appreciate if you can answer for example I am doing your process and I see that one of my competitors have about 30 links on a forum on different threads and as you say on tutorial “register and enter on discussion with your link” but, my question is how do I add the 30 links? What I mean is do I add the 30 links in one go in each thread or how you recommend to proceed?

        Thanks again!


        • Matthew Woodward
          July 2nd, 2014 at 9:21 pm


          Look at what your competitor did, how they placed the links and copy it :)

          • Raul
            July 3rd, 2014 at 10:02 pm

            Thanks for the tip Matthew :D

            Just one last thing, I promess is last :D … I just checked and he seems to put all 30 forum threads on the same day and post them all like in an hour, I do the same?

            Isn’t this suspicious on Google eyes?

            Thanks again for the time you are dedicating to me.


  140. Koushik here

    Dear @Raul, I don’t think it’s a good idea to place many links(30, as your competitor did) on a Forum on different discussion…first of all same links can’t be suitable for 30 different threads….hence the links are used to spammed on forum by Forum admin or other…I’d like to say at first not to put links, first just participate on threads, leave suitable answers with a signature link…and gradually try to put links into only niche discussion…you must be useful not getting links but also visitors…

    hope @Matthew will agree

    • Raul
      July 7th, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Dear @Koushik,

      Yes I am thinking the same thing, because it will look that was added by software not naturally, in my opinion.

  141. wicaksono banyu

    Really a good article ! I usually traffic travis, because I am familiar with it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 16th, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Ahh I don’t have so much experience with it

  142. John

    Very Cool post. however, the first step may not be a good way to start. as you said

    “Step 1 – Get The Top 10 Results

    The first thing you need to do is gather the top 10 organic results for the keyword you want to rank for.

    Just do a quick Google Search and make a note of each URL.”

    Since google search resule is based on your user setting and cache/cookies.

    The top 10 resules may not be the true top 10s.

    Any better way to get the real top 10s?

    Thank you

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 19th, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Just jump into private browsing/incognito mode

  143. Sandpaperdaisy

    Thanks for the in-depth explanation as well as all the backlink analysis links. I was not aware of many of these, so I found it all to be pretty darned useful. I also appreciated the points made by many of the commentors, including avoiding spamming forum posts with irrelevant links and making sure to use the backlink tools in incognito mode so as not to trigger google’s customized search results. I occasionally read through articles on SEO in my slow quest to educate myself a little more on the process, and I can honestly say this was one of the most helpful and thorough articles I’ve seen so far. Appreciate ya!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 22nd, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you – glad it has helped you out :)

  144. GW

    Hi Matt

    Rank cracker only works on windows? : (

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 23rd, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Yeah sorry =/

  145. akwin

    Hi Matt,

    I really appreciate you tutorial. Thanks a lot for this.

    does “rank tracker” completely filter all backlinks for GSA?


    • akwin
      July 29th, 2014 at 11:05 am

      i mean how to filter “Other Links” section in “rank cracker”.
      as non GSA links still can be usable with GSA.. how to filter them fast and easily?

      • Matthew Woodward
        July 29th, 2014 at 6:06 pm


        The other links section means GSA can’t post to them and you need manual outreach. You could import them into GSA anyway though!

  146. Muhammad Sameer

    Great Work Matt!! :D ….. you are amazing!! i have followed your instructions! got my competitors backlinks from Spyglass, i have GSA and Magic submitter, but i don’t know how to replicate backlinks in them…. can you please make step by step video tutorial of them? or simply tell me the method………. i really appreciate you for this…. waiting for your smile!! :P thanks!!

    -Muhammad Sameer

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 5th, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Well not all backlinks can be replicated with software, sometimes you need to use your noggin a bit and perhaps send out an outreach email, publish your own guest post, pick up the phone and get your hustle on etc

  147. Dimitris

    Hi Matt

    thanks for the valuable info

    Just i get all the backlinks from competitors with the help of Rank Cracker.I begin with the list of GSA software to publish.

    What % anchors for GSA campaign have to use ?
    Have to use the same anchor with competitors of each link?

    What is the frequency time getting links from GSA ?

    thanks again

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 12th, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      What % do your competitors use?

  148. Rodney

    This is just what I needed, thanks Matthew. I’m starting a new business site and this is the foundation I need for success. I always here you need to build links, but this is the first time anyone broke it down like this. Great job!

    Thanks A Million,


    • Matthew Woodward
      August 12th, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      No worrys glad it helped you out!

  149. Mike


    Can you give me detailed information on offsite SEO? Level should be intermediate.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 17th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      Take a look around the blog

  150. Makro

    I want to know how can i find all the backlinks against any specific link with 100% guaranteee ? is it possible ? because some of the links are hidden behind anchor texts ?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 17th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      These tools find the backlinks and the anchor texts used!

  151. Laraib

    Really Helped me ..By the way I had a Problem recently my site traffic gone down suddenly …what should be the reason …i tested everything working fine but search engine result are disappointing now…

  152. Ben

    Great write up!

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 19th, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Ben

  153. Elliot Walker

    Thanks for a very thorough article. I have a question for the author and this community: does anyone know if a link from UK Yahoo Local is still valuable? These are the paid directory links in Yahoo Local. I’m not sure because:
    a. they are paid links
    b. the web link is masked within some kind of redirect tracking URL

    Anyone have any idea on the effectiveness of these links?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 20th, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      I wouldn’t worry about it myself!

      • Elliot Walker
        August 20th, 2014 at 3:18 pm

        Wouldn’t worry as in don’t bother taking the paid Yahoo Local listings? Or don’t worry because these links are effective?

        • Matthew Woodward
          August 21st, 2014 at 3:51 pm

          You don’t need a paid yahoo listing to rank

  154. Involto

    Hi Matt, if for example a competitor has 30k backlinks but only 600 unique referring domains, would it make more sense and save time to just check the domains?

    and in general, why not just check the unique referring domains? or is there an advantage in checking every single backlink that matches a criteria

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 28th, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      I would still spot check them just to see why that is

  155. Adam Lewis

    This is very useful article for me and i’ll use.Thanks for sharing :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 7th, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks Adam :)

  156. Stefan

    Great article Matthew. Thanks for information

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 10th, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks Stefan!

  157. Ron

    very nice information, can’t wait till I can apply this to my company web site

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 11th, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Good luck Ron =D

  158. Thomas

    Thanks Matt! This is exactly what I needed to read! I have for years written quality content and try to make each post very structured as far as onsite factors. I have never been able to figure out how I was being beat and now I have the tools to take my companies farther! Thank you so much. I am now a new subscriber and am looking forward to reading your posts.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 15th, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      No worrys I’m glad to be of service :)

  159. Ovi

    Hi Matt,

    I’ve gone through the whole process you’ve described here and collected 350+ unique backlinks that my top 10 competitors are using.

    But I’m pretty much skeptical about replicating them for my own site. If not all, but a great majority of them is pure spam even if they are on high PA/DA sites.

    I never want to point spam over my site, but I really want to leverage my competitors backlinks.

    Is there any checklist I can go through before replicating any of these links? Is it good enough if a backlink URL has high PA/DA?

    And, most importantly, what would be a natural velocity to replicate all these? I haven’t built a single backlink to my site since it went live last year. If I suddenly throw out hundreds of backlinks, will it affect my sites credibility? If yes, how should I correctly replicate them while keeping the risk at bare minimum?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 18th, 2014 at 1:53 pm


      Not a checklist as such but use your common sense a bit, and don’t worry if they are spam you can get away with some spam – its only when your profile is mostly spam you have an issue.

      • Ovi
        September 18th, 2014 at 2:14 pm

        I talked about the velocity Matt; should I steady build these links 4-5 a day or just finish them up within a week?

  160. Jairo Giraldo

    Hi Matt, i’m new in your blog and I’m really happy with the information you share here, I’m going to follow step by step your recomendation for my new proyect, thanks a lot from Colombia :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 19th, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks – Good luck =D

  161. Matthew Chalk

    What a fantastic resource Matt.

    I love how you went through each of the tools and pointed out the best. Thanks so much!

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 22nd, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      No worrys!

  162. Sukh

    Great post Matthew, I’ll try this strategy now.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 1st, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      No worrys :)

  163. Krona

    Hi Matthew, I’m glad find this article! This strategy is work for me, By using paid subscribe of one of tools you mentioned above, I can read some backlinks of my competitors. Your postings are awesome Matt!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 2nd, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      No worrys glad to help!

  164. Stephanie

    Wow, this is incredible. Pretty much exactly what I am looking for. Can’t wait to give this a shot!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 3rd, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Let me know how you get on!

  165. Bali Tours

    Nice shared Matt, and you bring the post with excellent, I like the strategy steal backlinks from competitors, it will reduced the time hunting quality backlinks.
    Thanks a bunch…, you’re my favorite

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 5th, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      No worrys :)

  166. I. C. Daniel

    Ahrefs still #1 Matthew? Or you use other tools nowadays to spot competitors link profile? Please share them. Thanks!

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 8th, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I still rely on them

  167. Lucia Valori

    Many thanks for your suggestions. I will try to apply also on my site.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 14th, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Good luck =D

  168. amin

    Thank you. It was so helpful :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 17th, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      No problem :)

  169. Ajay A K

    Great post Matthew, in-depth and very informative. The step-by-step explanation of how to go about finding backlink was amazing and easy to understand. I am so surely going to try it out !! Thanks for sharing your views :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 27th, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      No worrys :)

  170. TONY

    Hi Matt, have been searching the web for a problem we have and wonder if you have a solution.
    we employ a guy to do our SEO, been doing well, we were ranking #1 and #2 for our key words.
    “chair repairs” and ” chair repairs Sydney” and others
    the within a week we just vanished from Googles search engine, at first I thought we had been penalized by Google black hat or something but no, that is not the problem.
    could this be done by one of our competitors?
    we are desperate to get our key words pointing to us.
    our SEO guy can’t help he says he has just been doing his stuff and has no explanation.
    BTW i am a total novice and just need a solution to a problem I really don’t understand.
    Thanks for you time

  171. Hossam

    Awesome tutorial, despite of its useful information I really enjoy reading it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 28th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Hope it helps!

  172. Suresh Khanal

    Great post and the references to the tools are really useful.

    In recent days, as Google shifted it’s focus away from backlinks and pageRanks, I wonder if we need some other means to rank better now. I’ve heard that Google now considers the CTR more than anything else for ranking better. Shall we get some tools to work in this direction?

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 6th, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      You mean like Adwords? :P

  173. dosen resep

    waw this information very important, thanks for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 7th, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      No problem

  174. aneka resep indonesia

    wow ya really good, you can try one by one how to get backlinks. but sometimes there is a backlink that is difficult to know the property of others. sorry if my english is bad.

  175. Mahesh

    Hi Matt:
    Great post though I have question. I am new to SEO, is this still relevant ?Some of the folks are saying link building is not that Important with Panda release now.

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 24th, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Panda has precisely nothing to do with backlinks so whoever is tell you that doesn’t even have the most basic understanding of SEO.

  176. Jochem

    Does your tactic still work? Or do you have to update it? (Your programm).

    • Matthew Woodward
      November 28th, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Still working fine!

  177. Sanwar Haider

    Thank you sir for this post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 14th, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      No problem :)

  178. Dubai Web Designs

    Agreed with Matthew. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. This tactic always works wonders for all niches.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 14th, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Exactly :)

  179. Nic Bridge

    Thanks Matt for this how to guide to get my competitors backlinks!
    I have been watching 2 of my competitors and they rank for 1st and second spot on Google for a high searched keyword.
    My site is very new, so much so it is not even showing up in Sem Rush, or even in the top 50 in Google, but with this method (that i am going to start this weekend) i am hoping it will help me get there eventually, well at least into the top 20’s lol.
    If i have any problems can i ask here for help at all?

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 20th, 2015 at 7:30 am

      No problem at all – feel free to ask any questions you have as you go!

  180. Arpit Ward

    Hey great post Matt:)

    I have a question?

    If I am scraping my competitor’s backlink for the keyword which I wanted to rank. So, should I take my competitor’s home page backlink or only the internal page backlink (keyword which I want to rank)??

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 25th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Which ever page is ranking

  181. Alan

    A very informative guide on SEO. I hope to follow some of the tips you outlined on my websites.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 27th, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Hope it helps Alan!

  182. Michelle Lapointe

    It takes me SOOOOOOO long to go through each link from every website. Is there a faster way to do it:)?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 2nd, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Use my free tool linked in the post

  183. Ezra

    Hey Matthew,

    Ive been following your blog posts for over a year now, I can honestly say compared to all the other seo blogs you stand on top of the mountain.

    Top man

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 4th, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks for your kind words!

  184. k4n0n

    thanks for ur such kind of post…but it shows few backlink results. how can i find all backlink of competitors site?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 12th, 2015 at 7:42 am
  185. James

    Great post,

    I find most of my competitors spend lots on Adwords to get there ranking and over time they have got strong Google pr.

    As a new site we don’t have the funds to throw at Adwords and this technique looks great. Do you recommend paying for the site links and is it better to do keyword search backlinks or just look at the competitors site links



    • Matthew Woodward
      February 12th, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Adwords spend has nothing to do with organic rankings

  186. Vishal

    Amazing post. This might help me in increasing my site ranking. Thank you..

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 16th, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Good luck :)

  187. John

    Matthew, I did what you said in this tutorial and checked my competitor backlinks and started going through the list of only indexed links and also had PR from the Page Level. What I found was a lot of blog comments from non relevant niches, most likely some automated tool. I started going through the list and basically putting in blog comments with brand/url/generic anchor text. Do you think this a good strategy even if these links come from non relevant niches?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 16th, 2015 at 7:36 am

      If when you are going through things your spidey sense is tingling, listen to it :)

      • John
        February 16th, 2015 at 8:40 am

        Thanks Matthew my spidey sense is indeed tingling. No more of those blog comments. I’m glad I didn’t do any keyword rich anchor text. The fact that I used brand/url/generic shoildnt get me penalized. I hope not.

  188. Elease Singh

    Hi Matthew,

    I want to rank a blog post #1 in Google for a low competition keyword but seems pretty tough for a newbie like me. Should i build backlinks pointing on my main website or to my blog post?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 16th, 2015 at 7:35 am

      You should do both, put about 70% to the post

  189. Maciej

    Hi, thank you very much for this info. Now I’m going to outrank everybody in my niche…

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 21st, 2015 at 7:59 am

      Good luck =D

  190. ibrahim demir

    thanks for this article

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 21st, 2015 at 7:52 am

      No problem =D

  191. Husein

    Its most valuable information. I think you are an expert in this field. I have read a lot of your article to open my small knowledge. Hopefully to visit my little website. Thanks Matt

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 17th, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Glad to be of service, let me know if you have any questions!

  192. John

    Ahrefs Pro is my favorite backlink checker tools. Smallseotools is best for beginner. Thanks for sharing Great Idea :))

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 24th, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Ahrefs all the way :)

  193. James

    Really good post Matt, now its putting it in to practice which is the hard work I take it!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 24th, 2015 at 7:53 am

      If its not hard work, its not worth doing :)

  194. Tung Nguyen Thanh

    Thank for your article. It’s helpful for me to start something.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 24th, 2015 at 7:52 am

      Looking forward to seeing it :)

  195. Hector Sosa

    Thanks Matt for your valuable tips. I’m going forward!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 28th, 2015 at 8:14 am

      No problem Hector :)

  196. Donn

    Thanks for the post..I was using this method of using competitors backlinks years ago and it did work very well then…unsure if this is a great way now though.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 28th, 2015 at 8:13 am

      Nothing has changed in that respect, this strategy will continue to work forever because its based on the power of observation and what is working in the current moment your executing it.

  197. Vinz Ideas

    I’m using the Monitor Backlinks tools and Cognitive SEO to track my competitors backlinks. I noticed that it is easy to get the same links if it is a blog comments, forum post, directory listing but the guest post is pretty hard.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 31st, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Nahh that guest post just requires a bit of work on your end :)

  198. rudresh

    hey there,
    can you change your copyright date in the footer. you are still in 2014 :P .

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 6th, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Its on the list :)

  199. merawat bururng

    i like to use scrapebox than another tools, because very simple for me, ,actually i want to use another tools buat my budget not enough

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 6th, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Well Scrapebox certainly does an awful lot for the money!

  200. The Anxiety Guy

    What can I say, i’m blown away. Never thought ideas like this were possible when it came to backlinking, great road-map thank you.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 9th, 2015 at 4:59 am

      No problem thank you :)

  201. arch ohak

    your website information is very helpful i read your website every day thanks

  202. jeff hill

    Hi Matthew, great article. I was actually checking out some competitors that ranked on the first page and they only had like 5 backlinks. All those backlinks looked like they were completely made up websites giving “information” about the subject solely for the purpose of creating a backlink. Do you see this quite often? Surprised that google would rank them so high on a blatantly obvious working of the system.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 27th, 2015 at 3:01 am

      Yeah that happens a lot but stinks of oppertunity :)

  203. Mohammed Yusuf

    Hi Matt,
    This was an awesome post.
    Being a small business owner, i realize that inbound marketing is the most effective, yet most neglected piece of the puzzle.

    I would love to spend time doing the tasks as advised by you above, however, the more pressing demands of running a business are making me consider outsourcing this important activity.

    I wanted to know : Do you provide project-based SEO and Link building services? If not, can you point me to any agency or freelance professional who can optimize my website without resorting to techniques that may potentially result in penalties.


  204. Rene

    Hi Mathew, awesome content! I immediately fired up backlinkwatch to analyze the number 1 competitor in my niche. Lot’s of backlinking to work on now!

    Thanks a lot!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 26th, 2015 at 7:34 am

      Hustle hustle :)

  205. RiskSmart

    Thanks for the writing this fabulous post.

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 27th, 2015 at 2:50 am

      No problem :)

  206. Giliard

    Amazing, I just know the blog and am already fan.
    Thanks for the great tips

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 28th, 2015 at 6:54 am

      No problem :)

  207. Ben

    Excellent post! I’ve been looking for information on Ahrefs Rank, etc. and came across your blog.
    I’ve also subscribed to your news letter and look forward to learning more about SEO.

    Many thanks,


    • Matthew Woodward
      May 5th, 2015 at 4:50 am

      Thanks Ben :)

  208. Billy

    Very good guide thanks, going to bookmark :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 13th, 2015 at 4:37 am

      Thanks Billy

  209. louses

    thanks for sharing. managed to create few backlinks for my website

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 18th, 2015 at 7:00 am

      No problem :)

  210. Sean

    This blows my mind. I have an idea for using this that seems like it might work really well.
    1) Use the most generic keyword possible for the industry you want to break into(site results > 100M)
    2) Use This method to compile an industry/Market level list of backlink resources, while listing the niches they relate to (as detailed in the article)
    3) From there, niche down. Build small sites focused on the niches you are interested in within the major industry
    In other words, do this once at the top level, and you can become a player quickly within a number of niches with smaller search volume keywords.
    Does this seem like a sound strategy?
    It sounds to me like a one time project can provide a full time SEO future for someone, even if your goal is to build multiple smaller sites that are all loosely related by the major industry they belong to.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 26th, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Seems solid to me :) A lot of work though!

  211. APKready

    Nice share, You’re a good writer, and your skill and attention to detail is obvious in all of your writing. It’s very useful for me, thank you and Good Luck

    My Blog

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 4th, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks :)

  212. Tracey Dixon

    Thanks Matthew. I’m a realtor in Pataskala Ohio and am just now starting to take my links seriously. This post helps me understand what I need to do to take down my competitors! Thanks again!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 4th, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Glad to be of service Tracey :)

  213. My Attorney

    Very Interesting blog, I am really very impress. This will help to promote my legal website

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 16th, 2015 at 9:58 am

      No one will trust legal with blogspot

  214. Amit

    It is awesome – learned a lot !

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 16th, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Thanks Amit!

  215. jesse

    Great article, I have learn a lot from it and I am going to have a try

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 16th, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Please let us know how you do =D

  216. Dheeraj Yadav

    Very good article for newbie bloggers I will certainly try this

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 23rd, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Good luck stealing your traffic :)

  217. Hafiz

    awesome tips, thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 23rd, 2015 at 8:16 am

      No problemo!

  218. Raj

    Thanks for this good article, it will definitely help us to promote site

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 27th, 2015 at 9:11 am

      No problem Raj :)

  219. Hassan Abbas

    very very nice web for me

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 6th, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Thanks Hassan

  220. Shubham Kumar

    Great Post.


    • Matthew Woodward
      July 6th, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Thanks Shubham

  221. Al Mamun

    Hi Matthew
    Isn’t the post old? i seen public comments here (from 2013)
    If so do you think this tactic still worthy ?
    I’ve another question. I am new in SEO field . Sometimes i see the competitor who have no back links at all. But still they ranked well. I am just curious to know how can i find or know what they did. What kind of job they did yo get ranked. how can i guess what they are doing.

    Thanks in advance

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 9th, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      This strategy will never die (unless they make backlinks irrelevant)

      What tool are you using to check?

      • Al Mamun
        July 9th, 2015 at 9:18 pm

        Opensiteexplorer, Ahrefs, Majestic Seo (free) . Is there any tools that can be helpful guess what they are doing ?

        Or Any suggestion ?

        • Matthew Woodward
          July 13th, 2015 at 3:12 pm

          I would start with Ahrefs personally

  222. burung kenari

    Must be try, nice article