Case Study: Finding Link Opportunities For Through a Competitor Analysis

My good friend Jordan Sherer just recently launched a brand-new product: MnmlRdr – a lightweight replacement for Google Reader.

When I offered to do a competitor analysis for his new product, he jumped on the idea. In return, he allowed me to write about it and even share all the data with you.

What You Need For a Competitor Analysis

To do a competitive analysis you need a list of your competitor’s domains.
Jordan gave me a list of six competitors:


Together with the URL of his website ( and a very, very, VERY early-stage prototype of what will become LinksSpy) we are good to go.

Turning URLs Into Usable Data For Outreach Campaigns

With the URLs we are able to start the LinksSpy prototype. The prototype generates a metric ton of data and spits out some neatly formatted JSON.

The raw data tells you which third party websites (e.g. link to your competitors – but not yet to your website.

Now you have a punchlist of new link opportunities. The suggestions are sorted: First by the number of competitor’s websites they link to and then by Moz‘s Domain Authority metric. This puts the websites that naturally link out in your niche front and center.

Data format of the JSON file

The JSON file contains a lot of data:

  • websites that link to your competitors (including the Domain Authority of the
  • which competitors they are linking to
  • from which pages the links are originating (incl. Page Authority and anchor text) and where the links point to

Take a look at the JSON here: Download JSON file

The format is:
– array of suggestion objects with “src_domain” and “competitors” properties
– “competitors” is an array of objects that describe each linked to competitor
– each competitor object has a “competitor_domain” and a “links” property
– each object in the “links” describes a link from the “suggestion” to the “competitor”

An Easier View Of The Data

All that data comes with a serious drawback: It is a LOT of data. So to make it more digestible there is also a way to create a CSV file that can be opened up in Excel.

Download the CSV file

Much better. Now it’s just one line for each third party root domain that links to at least one of your competitors.

Each line contains the following data:
– a link to one of the pages on the third party websites
– a count of competitors that website links to
– the Domain Authority of the third party website

Dissecting The Data For a Competitive Analysis

Now lets get into the nitty-gritty of our competitor analysis:

Looking at the second line of the CSV file, we can see that links to 4 competitors. One of the pages –
– is given as a quick example for you to look at.

If you want more information (e.g. which competitors are linked from you need to take a close look at the JSON file. There you can see (lines 942-1093) that:

  • Newsblur, Feedwrangler, TheOldReader and Feedly are linked to from
  • Those competitors are mentioned on a range of pages, dating from 2012 and 2013 (which tells us this is a hot topic for this website)

On the 4th line of the CSV we find which links to 3 competitors. Digging deeper into the JSON file (lines 1142-1450) we can again see that techcrunch has linked to the competition from multiple articles and over a span of more than 2 years. This again indicates that TechCrunch is in fact interested in the topic and should be pretty open to inquiries.

Or we can see from item 41 in the CSV file, that the makers of Mr. Reader (an RSS reader for iOS) liberally linked out to a bunch of competitors in a list format. It should be pretty easy to get on that list!

What to do with that data

This data gives you a significant head start, because you can easily tell which websites are really interested in your industry. Reaching out to them and offering them valuable content in exchange for a link (or just simply asking for a link) has a much higher chance of success.

Plus, there are even more really good and easy link opportunities in the CSV/JSON files. I just had to skip over them because I am already at about 800 words and don’t want to bore you to death 😉

Get Your Competitive Link Analysis

I promise there will be further case studies like this one and I will go into more detail there.

Here’s your chance: If you want to get a free competitive link analysis like the one above, send me an email to including:

  • Your website
  • a minimum of 5 competitor websites

I will pick one of the emails and feature it in the next post. So stay tuned and meanwhile sign up for the newsletter:

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