How To Gain a Competitive Advantage
The number one reason why people fail online is because they do not take the time necessary to investigate the strength of the competition in their marketplace. This means that they never get a front page listing in Google, which in turn means they never get any real traffic to their website and therefore never make any real sales.
In this lesson I’d like to share with you some of Market Samurai’s most powerful features that can quickly and easily help you to improve your Google ranking. The amazing thing about these features is that Many Market Samurai users don’t even know they exist!
Specifically we’ll be looking at:
- What is a link network and why it has a massive impact on your Google ranking
- 3 factors that influence your link network and why you must understand them
- And how to reverse engineer your competitor’s link network using Market Samurai to gain a competitive advantage.
What is a Link Network?
Every page on the Internet has a link network which is made up of the pages that link or point to that page.
These links can come from other pages on your own website which are called internal links and from other websites that link to you which are called external links. Together these links form a link network that is unique to each page.
Factor 1: The Number of Links to a Page
Now let’s take a look at some of the factors that influence the impact of a link network on the authority and ranking of a particular web page.
The first factor that influences the rank of a page is the number of incoming links. A good way to think of this is that each link is like a ‘vote of confidence’. If a lot of other websites are linking to and thereby voting for a page then it suggests that the page contains good quality content.
Factor 2: The Authority of the Linking Pages
A second factor that influences the rank of a particular page is the authority of the linking pages. For example lets take a look at two pages on the Internet which both have 3 incoming links.
The first website is linked to by 3 relatively new bloggers who just enjoyed reading the page. These linking pages do not carry a lot of authority and so the ranking impact of these links links will be minimal.
The second website on the other hand, is linked to by CNN.com, USA.gov, and NASA.gov.
These linking pages clearly DO carry a lot of authority. The fact that these high authority sites are linking to this page transfers authority to the page and has a high impact on its rank in the search engines.
Factor 3: Anchor Text of the Links
A third factor that influences the rank of a particular page is the anchor text of the incoming links.
Google uses the text of the links that point to a page to gain a better indication of what a page is about. For example let’s look at these three external websites. If all three of these linking sites use the word ‘dog training’ in their links, then there is a very good chance that the page they refer to is about dog training.
So just to summarize, each page on the Internet has a link network that is made up of the internal and external pages that point to that page.
The impact of this link network on the rank of a page is based, in part, on the number of links, the authority of the linking webpages and the anchor text of the incoming links.
Reverse Engineering Your Competitor's Link Network
One of the most powerful and effective strategies for improving your ranking in Google is to use Market Samurai to reverse engineer the link network of your competitors.
For example, imagine that you had the number 7 ranked website for the keyword ‘dog training’.
What you can do using Market Samurai is analyze the link networks of the sites ranked 1 to 6 and discover exactly where they are getting their high authority backlinks from.
In many cases, you will be able to get similar backlinks to your own website which can in turn help to improve the ranking of your site.
Let’s take a look at Market Samurai so that I can show you exactly how this works in the real world.
Create New Project
For this example I’m going to start a new project...
Enter Seed Keyword
...and I’m going to investigate the term ‘bomboniere’. This is a term used in some countries to describe wedding favors.
And just for a change I’m going to target the Australian market for this term. To do this all I have to do is come down here and select ‘Australia’ from this drop down box.
Click 'Create' button
I can now click the ‘Create’ button.
Access SEO Competition Module
The features I’d like to show you in this video are in the SEO Competition module so I’ll just click this button to access the module.
Generate Competition Data
And to investigate the strength of the competition for the keyword ‘bomboniere’ in the Australian market, all I have to do is click the ‘Generate Results’ button.
Market Samurai now conducts a real time SEO competition analysis on the top ten websites that appear when someone enters the term ‘bomboniere’ into google.com.au.
And if I was building a website to compete in this market, here are the websites that would be my competition.
Click Small Arrow
Now in order to dig deeper and explore the link network of a particular website, all I have to do is come over here and click this small arrow next to the website URL.
Access Link Network Analysis Options
Market Samurai then displays an additional level of powerful analysis options.
In this video I’m going to focus on the PR Analysis and Anchor Text Analysis features.
Note: since this video was made, the Backlink Analysis tool has been updated to use the "Citation Flow" metric instead of PageRank. This number is similar - higher is better! - and you can read more about it in our Knowledge Base article.
Clarification of Page Rank (PR)
Just to clarify, PR stands for Page Rank which is Google’s measure of authority.
Google gives every page on the Internet a rank from 0 to 10 to indicate its level of authority. A brand new web-page usually has a rank of 0 and the home page of a site such as USA.gov has a page rank of 10.
It’s important to note that the Page Rank scale is not linear, rather, the authority of a webpage increases exponentially with each increase in Page Rank.
What this means is that a PR 1 website has approximately 10 times more authority than a PR 0 website, but a PR 5 website has approximately 100,000 times more authority than a PR 0 website.
This is why a single link from a PR 5 website is more valuable than 100 links from PR 0 sites.
So coming back to Market Samurai, I’ll now click the ‘PR Analysis’ button to explore the link network of this particular website.
PR Analysis Table
Market Samurai then opens a new window and conducts a real time page rank analysis.
This table shows me the total number of backlinks that point to the page I’m analyzing.
It also shows me the Page Rank breakdown of these backlinks.
So the link network of the homepage of this site is made up of:
- 106 links from webpages having a PR of 0.
- 6 links from webpages with a page rank of 1
- 2 links from pages that have a page rank of 2
- 2 links from pages that have a page rank of 3.
URLs of Contributing Pages
But it gets even better, because over here on the right I can see the URLs of the actual pages that are contributing to my competitor’s page rank.
Explore Competitor's Link Network
One of the best things I can do is explore the links that are providing my competitor with high page rank backlinks.
For example, this site is providing a page rank 3 backlink to my competitor’s link network.
To see what this site is, all I have to do is click on this link.
Check High PR Links
Market Samurai opens another window and now I can see that this is the dmoz directory.
Now of course, I am completely free to submit my own website to the dmoz directory and there is a good chance that if it is accepted, I will be able to get a high PR back link to my own website which will in turn improve my ranking in Google.
So I hope you can see that by reverse engineering your competitor’s link network and then working to be just a little bit better than them, you can systematically construct a more effective link network for yourself and thereby move up in the Google rankings.
Anchor Text Analysis
Another incredibly powerful feature of the competition analysis window is that I can also come up here and click on the Anchor Text Analysis button.
Anchor Text Results
Market Samurai now analyses each of the backlinks that make up the link network of my competitor and displays the actual anchor text for each of the links.
Anchor Text Example
For example, this particular link comes from a Page Rank 1 website and uses the anchor text ‘perfect wedding’
Anchor Text Matrix
I can also check this matrix to find out what are the most commonly used terms in the anchor text of linking websites.
Now don’t worry if this all seems a little confusing at first. Remember the basis of the strategy we’re using here is quite simple.
All we’re doing is reverse engineering our competitor’s link network to identify what sort of backlinks contribute to their ranking. We can then use this information to create our own backlinks and enhance the strength of our own link network.
Once you start using this feature in Market Samurai you’ll very quickly realize what an incredible competitive advantage it gives you.
So just to summarize, in this video we’ve discovered that every page on the Internet has a link network which is made up of the pages that link or point to that page.
We also saw that three of the factors that influence the ranking of a webpage are
(1) The number of links in the link network
(2) The authority of the linking web pages
(3) The anchor text used for the links
And finally we looked at how to use Market Samurai to reverse engineer your competitor’s link network in order to gain a powerful competitive advantage.