Friday, 20 July 2012

Spy On Your Competition With The Link Classifier Backlink Analyzer

Ever want to know why some site's rank well in the SERPs, while others are not?  Well one way to do this is to carefully examine the backlink profile of the site.

So how do you do this?  Well, services like MajesticSEO, OpenSiteExplorer, and aHrefs make it easy to get the backlinks that are pointing back to your site or pages.

But to really make use out of the data, you need to run these backlinks through a tool like Link Classifier.  Link Classifier is an alternative to the Link Detective tool that was made popular by this post , How Garbage Ranks in the SERPs: a Case Study.

Link Detective is an online service, while Link Classifier is a self hosted script that you need to install on your own web hosting.  Link Detective is a bit more polished looking, but it only works with SEOMoz's OpenSiteExplorer export files which makes its use more limited.  Link Classifier can take a list of urls from any service.

Here is a video of the Link Classifier script in action.

How would you use it?

Lets say you have a site that you want to rank for a specific keyword in Google.  Do a google search for that keyword and look at the sites that rank in the top 3.

For each of these sites, put them into your favorite backlink service.  All of them will allow you to output a CSV file that contains the backlink urls.  Analyze with Link Classifier and look and see how it categorizes the links.  Lots of Footer/Sidebar links could indicate paid links.  Lots of Comment links could indicate comment spamming using software like Scrapebox.

Also make sure to examine a handful of the In-Post links.  If a site is using blog networks to rank, then you can easily tell by looking at the links here.

Finally, pay close attention to your anchor text distribution.  In this post Google Penguin world, having any keyword appear more than 15% of the time is just asking for trouble.  Any more than that, and you are leaving a huge footprint for Google to see.

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