Finding backlink opportunities can be pretty difficult sometimes, but SEMRush makes it a lot easier. So in today’s article, I’m going to be sharing with you one screen view that you may find useful in SEMRush that not all that many people make use of. By the end of this article, you’re going to have a list of at least a hundred different competitors that you can start to dig into their backlink profile to find potentially good backlink opportunities for you.
Digging into SEMRush
So the first thing you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to log into your SEMRush account, and then from here, you’re going to go ahead and type in your domain.
For today’s example, I’m going to imagine that I am this a video recording app called screencastify.com. And I’m looking to try to figure out exactly where I might have some backlinking opportunities.
To figure that out, the first thing you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to click into the backlink section of SEMRush, and that’s going to be on your domain overview tab. So go ahead and click that. And then, then once you are there, what you’re going to do is you’re going to click into that very last tab on the screen. So this is going to be the competitor’s tab.
Once you’ve clicked the competitor’s tab, what SEMRush is going to do is going to run through all of the other sites that are similar to yours, or have domains that are also linking to both of your guys’ websites.
And so here, what you can see is that there’s a few key things that are being shown to us. The first thing is the authority score of these respective other websites. In other words, these are the sorts of competitors that are coming up and specifically what their score that’s associated with their domain.
You will notice that if we were to go back into our overview tab, our authority score in this example is 56 and so you’ll see that these comparable websites are also pretty close in terms of being anywhere from the high forties to the high sixties. And then what I’ve done is I’ve gone ahead and sorted it by competition level.
This is essentially a score that SEMRush is giving me based off of what they believe to be what we have in common with these other websites. And then what we’ll also see is that there are common referring domains, as well as total referring domains, as well as a breakdown for all the backlinks to these different websites.
Why exactly might this be useful to us? Well, it’s useful to us because it gives us a competitive outline of the lay of the land in terms of our organic side of things and also because it gives us some new opportunities for us to potentially do some backlink prospecting.
How you can use the list being shown to us
Here’s an example of how you can use this top 100 list. What you can do is you can take a look at which of your competitors potentially have a ton of backlinks or have a ton more referring domains done even you. So by sorting it by common referring domains, what it means is that these are the competitors of ours that have the most links in general, that overlap with people that are also linking to us.
In other words, if we were to reach out to these particular people that are linking to this other competitor, then they may be more likely to give us a link back. So taking a look here, you can see that some of the top results are Flipgrid, Kahoot, and Screencast-O-Matic. I know right off the bat, that Screencast-O-Matic is a very similar solution to Screencastify.
So that definitely confirms to me that this is potentially a good filter for me to run on. And then what I can do from here is I can actually just click into the referring domains of Screencast-O-Matic and start to do some backlink research. So this is where we’ll start to look at the new and referring domains of this competitor’s website and then what we can do is we can actually sort by some of the filters that SEMRush gives you.
What you can do with this sort of competitive research
Right off the bat, one of the first things I like to do is I like to look at things that have potentially, maybe happened in the last six months or so because these are going to be fresher links than others where maybe it’s a new post that was recently released, or it’s just a recently updated page so that particular author would be much more likely to update their page once more.
And then what I can also do is I can actually start to filter even further. If I know, for example, that Screencastify is a website that sells a lot to different schools and whatnot well, then I might be able to filter down just for the ones that SEMRush has said are related to education that are also linking to Screencast-O-Matic. And then I can also filter based off certain authority scores.
So why would you want to do that? Well, in the case where, for example, your domain authority score is a 20, you might want to prioritize the other domains that have an authority score of 20 or higher, because if those respective sites are starting to link to you, then you will gradually be increasing your authority score as well.
So what I can do is I can just go ahead and set a minimum of 20 or more and then what that will do is it will start to filter through all of these it’s to see potentially the best fits for the criteria that I just referenced. You can see how I’ve gone from tons of different results now to just the 327 referring domains that are potentially most interesting to me that are currently linking to Screencast-O-Matic.
Digging into the sites that are currently linking to Screencast-O-Matic
From here, what might I do is I’d essentially figure out a process for me to start researching who exactly is linking to Screencast-O-Matic at these respective domains. So what you can see here, for example, is as I start to scroll through these websites, some of these websites are actually libraries.
And what that means is that they probably are referencing some sort of screen recording software with Screencast-O-Matic. And so what I can do is I can figure out who exactly at this library built the page that is linking to Screencast-O-Matic or in what nature are they linking to Screencast-O-Matic and you can see that they are using this sort of video.
Maybe this is something in which they are using Screencast-O-Matic to show different video tutorials for their patrons of their library. And so what that could mean is that if I wanted to potentially reach out to them, maybe I’m part of the Screencastify team, and what I can do is I can offer them some sort of free trial so they maybe try my software out instead, and then start to build out backlinks for my respective site.
Or I can keep going down the list and see what other people are doing as well. If, for example, I want to open up some of these other sites. I might see remc.org. I’m not sure exactly what this domain is but what you can see is that they are linking to it on this respective page on video creation tools.
So why is this really useful? Because we also cover video creation tools with Screencastify. And so in this particular example, what we would want to do is we will get in touch with the respective person that is building this respect and page, and then work our way in.
What you can actually see is that on this page, Screencastify is referenced as an alternative as well. So, what we want to do is we want to, cross-reference where we’ve already been linked to as well as where some of our backlink opportunities are that are currently being linked to other competitors, but not necessarily to ourselves.
In my particular example here, it’s not as directly easy for me to do because I am using a very clear direct competitor of Screencast-O-Matic, but it would be a lot easier for me to work through this if I were to look at a website that wasn’t such a direct competitor.
If for example, I go back a couple of pages and I’m now back on that competitor’s tab and then I sort by common referring domains, what I can do is I can essentially work my way through other websites that are potentially connected to my niche, but not necessarily a direct competitor of mine.
So I know, for example, commonsense.org might be one. People that are linking to Kahoot might be as well because these are not necessarily people that do the same thing as what my company does, but they are connected to the education world. And the reason why that’s really useful is because you can see that in the case of commonsense.org, as well as Kahoot, there are over 30,000 different domains linking to these respective sites.
And the only overlap we have is really on about a thousand or so on both of these respective domains. This means that there are potentially thousands of opportunities for us to start doing a backlink-building campaign right off the bat.
Do this if you’re struggling to find backlink opportunities
In the case where you’ve ever struggled to find backlink-building opportunities, here’s my recommendation for you.
Typing your domain into SEMRush and then go to the backlink section and then select the very final tab for competitors. Then from there sort it based off of either the most common referring overlapping domains or finding the most referred domains in terms of overall backlink profiles.
From this list, what you will find is you will get tons of new pages that you can then run even more advanced filters through. Then you’re going to want to select the export now button in terms of the SEMRush reports, and then sift through that data and then delegate it to a virtual assistant to start researching these respective domains.
When we search these pages, you’re going to try to figure out exactly who was the author of this page and then find their contact information. From there, it’s a matter of just following what is all out there on the other sides of YouTube in terms of some backlink-building campaigns and language that you can use there.
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