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Brighton SEO: How To Identify Your Competitor's Paid and Sponsored Backlinks

Chris B
September 06, 2023

Brighton SEO: How To Identify Your Competitor's Paid and Sponsored Backlinks

BrightonSEO talk on How To Identify Your Competitors' Paid and Sponsored Backlinks from Freelance SEO Consultant .

View video of this talk from
Brighton SEO .

Chris B

September 06, 2023

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  1. Sites that rank well on Google in my experience often

    buy or sponsor links to their sites as the number / quality of links to a site is widely considered to be one of Google's three major ranking factors: http://bit.ly/3oZhoEF
  2. Google states that “buying or selling links that pass PageRank

    can dilute the quality of search results. Participating in link schemes violates the Google Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.”
  3. ”Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking

    in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.”
  4. Based on my experience since 2012 working on various sites

    with ranking drops and one with a formal ‘unnatural link penalty’ from Google: Google isn’t good at detection of all paid links, often only detecting the egregious link networks with widespread ‘money keyword’ anchor text abuse (with multiple websites possibly on the same IP address).
  5.  As part of competitor analysis, to potentially copy their

    link building strategy  To do unpaid work for GOOG by reporting these links to undermine your competitiors
  6. Note if you are buying or selling links for your

    client or own site, reporting your competitors’ paid and sponsored links to Google may cause your (client’s) backlink profile to be scrutinised by GOOG as well .
  7. Google SEO is in my experience working to create multiple

    incremental (sometimes marginal) improvements, and the basis of this is understanding implementing the Google Webmaster guidelines especially in relation to user experience, the fundamental aspect of which being quality information. This same knowledge will help you scrutinise & undermine the competition.
  8. “You can prevent PageRank from passing in several ways, such

    as: 1. Indicating the link is sponsored adding a qualifying attribute to the <a> tag 2. Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file”
  9. How to Identify Some of your Competitors' Paid / Sponsored

    Links* * This will only include the links indexed by backlink checker tools
  10. These posts sometimes have some or all of the following

    characteristics: 1. they look out of place e.g. a post on “Digital Marketing Tips” on a Weddings blog 2. do not have an author name / byline / bio . The article may be labelled as a guest blog, “paid promotion” or similar
  11. 3. have ‘money’ keyword-rich anchor text for the external links

    like 'best seo consultants london' 4. selectively 'nofollow' certain external links on the page for no apparent reason
  12. To identify your competitors' paid / sponsored links: 1. Review

    / export a list of their backlinks using your backlink checker of choice.
  13. 2. Sort the list by 'nofollow' tag and / or

    anchor text if the export allows, or you can check this manually in your browser with a plugin like https://addons.mozilla.org/en- GB/firefox/addon/nofollow- advanced/ .
  14. 3. Check the pages are still live with a tool

    like https://httpstatus.io/ 4. Manually review the pages in question with Linkrr.com (a tool to open backlinks in bulk – you may need to adjust your browser settings -it works in Firefox) and revise your list as appropriate!
  15. Google asks if you believe a site is engaged in

    buying or selling links that pass PageRank to tell them about it : https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/p aidlinks?pli=1
  16. TLDROL As well as the GOOG, Bing and Yahoo guidelines

    there are the rules / laws of e.g. ICANN UK Advertising Standards Authority UK Competition and Markets Authority etc
  17. The basis of Google SEO is understanding & implementing the

    Google Webmaster Guidelines especially in relation to user experience, the fundamental aspect of which being supplying quality information for the user. This same knowledge will help you scrutinise the competition. Google encourages us to report violations of it’s guidelines.