Let’s face it… It’s hard to deliver stellar SEO when the amount of competition is so high in our industry. In the same respect, we’re not trying to rank for Mesothelioma, Asbestos, or Annuity– Google’s most expensive keywords, where this type of competitive analysis would be impossible.
No, we’re just gambling affiliates and as such, we are in an environment that has some unique challenges that really should not require too much effort to rank well, at least for long-string keywords. Plus, we love links! Other webmasters are doing it… why not see how they are achieving their successes? Put down your coffee and slip off your shoes, we need to stay collected and we don’t want them to hear us coming.
The Study of Backlinking
Did you know that Google tailors your search based on previous searches made by you and the people you follow on Google+? If you have been reading my articles and are one of Jared Bates followers, you’ll see my face show up on pages over others that may have better optimization. We can’t have this in our competitive research, and clearing cookies is not enough. I like to search from an IP in the geographic location that my traffic is coming from. But playing with IP addresses is hard right? Hidemyass.com has UK and the USA addresses for use, requires no download, and will give you truly anonymous searches.
Now search away and see where the competition lies. Copy their complete URLs for later. Change the wording and see how much it changes (or doesn’t change). You should already be studying metrics based on your own backlink profile. Using www.opensiteexplorer.org is a great tool to find out raw information about your competitions backlinks as well, but it’s not really spying…yet.
I know it is boring to look at spreadsheet data but, do not worry, it can be simple. Find your competition’s off-page anchor texts. If they are smart, and they probably are since they are out-ranking so many people, domains where those are located have high authority. You may wish to get an anchor text there as well.
Remember when I said to copy your competitions URLs? Search using their url in quotes. Example: “http://www.spyonme.com” Find where their links have been dropped without anchor texts. Because opensiteexplorer and other backlink tools do not show of the vast amount of good links that are nofollowed, this will at least give you an idea as to their nofollow profile as well.
Social Media – and Email lists
I have signed up at all of the top casino and poker sites across the web under various names. I do this under one email address that gets filled up with spam to the point of overflowing daily. It is like a free manual on what my competition is doing. Ut oh, so and so has a $20 no deposit bonus, better call me affiliate manager as ask her to up the offer for my players. Oh look, they are advertising a new casino, I better get in on the action, etc.
Use Facebook graph search and twitter’s advanced search: search.twitter.com to see who follows them and cross-follow / like. When you search using their URL in quotes you will find many of their social networks just waiting for you to leach its nectar, or at least gather some competitive data.
Do you have a great way to spy on your competition? Leave a comment below.