Your Business vs. Competitors | How to Visualise your Link Profile against your Competitors

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By Dave Ashworth
on 4/1/13

When researching into who your online competitors are, it is always a good idea to look at their link profile. Often referred to as a ‘backlink profile’, there are a range of tools available that enable you to see the links pointing to your competitor’s site and therefore gives you a clear understanding of what brand exposure they are receiving.

With all of the tools that are available to check links on the internet, the best tool to use is still Microsoft Excel.  However, to quickly see your backlinks against your competitors you will firstly need data.  For this a reliable source, and my personal choice, is  OpenSite Explorer because the information itself is the quickest to get and the weighting is good for the links.

How to use Open Site Explorer

Step One:

The first step is to enter your URL and get the data from OSE, once the report has been completed download the CSV (remember to uncheck the “Email me when my report is complete” box, you will have the information you don’t need it sent to your inbox.).

Step Two:

Ideally you should take your top  3 search or online competitors to your business and compare their backlinks.  Repeat the same methods from ‘Step One’ when took s the data for your own site.

Once completed you should have 4 CSV documents with all of the relevant link data in.  The next step is to move all of the data from the 4 CSV’s into 1 document.  The quickest way to do this is to move all the data into the first document that you downloaded.

Step Three:

Once you have completed this you should have a singular CSV file that looks like the below:

(The URL, Title and Anchor Text have been blanked to keep URL’s hidden, also target URL has been changed for the same reason)

Before we can visualise these links we need to add an extra column on the table called “Count”, then if you give each of the entries on the site the value of 1.

It allows for each of the links to be counted for each of the URLs that you are comparing.

Step Four:

Once this has been completed, highlight all of the data in the document and press the “Pivot Table” button, this will load the data into a new sheet.

(Located under the insert tab on Microsoft Excel)

Once the Pivot table has been completed tick the following fields in the right hand navigation.

After you have enabled those fields move them into the positions below.

This should arrange the data so that you have all of the websites that you are comparing going across the top, with the domain authority listed down the left had side.  Example of this below.

If you then select all of this data, excluding the “Grand Total” column and then insert a 3D area graph.  This will give you a quick overview of what link you have against the links your competitors have.

As you can see I have ordered the graph so that” Competitor A” is displayed at the back of the chart as it has the most links and would hide the rest of the information.

You can see that Competitor B and C have very little in terms of the links but they do have links from strong domains.  This method is good just to get a quick overview on performance, to do a full analysis you would have to look at all the links individually and assess them for relevancy and strength.

If you would like to have your site assessed by one of our team please contact Return on Digital on 0845 869 0342.