Of course you need not only good backlinks to outrank your competitors but you also need to have an excellent website overall especially the content in order to enjoy great rankings in the long run. To start off a linking plan, you need to analyze the top pages for the chosen keywords. It is of your choice whether to analyze as how many top pages as you want but it is most preferred to take the top results in the first page of SERP as you deem your website to have its place later in the first page as well and by then in the first place of SERP.
It is important to note that this stage should also be a factor for choosing what keywords to target in order to get the best returns especially for a start-up site. Now what SEO metrics shall you consider? I’ve listed several important factors one should observe in order to decide the most effective linking plan to outrank others.
On Page Optimization
Harmonious combination of on page and off page optimization will increase every site’s rankings and so it is just foremost to take a look of how optimized the certain page is. Basically you can do some inspection if the keyword is present in the title tag, URL, Meta tags, header and especially content.
Backlinks are the foremost reason for why a certain website or webpage have been ranked well in the SERP. The idea is the more backlinks you get, the more authoritative and useful the site is for the certain keyword. Perhaps you can recall how many webpages have you visited with backlinks to http://get.adobe.com/reader/ and what anchor text has been used? It’s “click here”. It’s the main reason why such webpage of Adobe is ranking no. 1 for the keyword “click here” even though it was supposedly not optimized for such keyword.
It is advisable to utilize certain available good tools (just Google it) as it can take everything to the next level like for instance providing even deeper analysis of backlinks that your competitor has. Another option is by using search engine through typing “link:www.yourdomain.com” when doing searches. What it basically tells the search engine is to return all site that is linking to “www.yourdomain.com”.
What now after you know your competitors backlinks?
Since you want to outrank your competitor, knowing the number of backlinks they have will tell you to build backlinks greater that what they have. You may also build backlinks to same pages where your competitors are also building especially if those backlinks came from highly authoritative site.
Domain Age and PageRank
When a site is well-established, it is good to say that such site has been live for several years thus older domain age and greater PageRank graded by Google. Google, being the most widely used search engine, are always after of quality that a certain site offers especially for every certain keyword and so greater weight shall be lent to those webpages or websites with older domain age and greater PageRank.
Although this still refers to backlinks, I want to separate social shares as this gives credit to social media and social networking sites which opens to another area of internet marketing but is still connected to SEO. It is becoming more and more evident now that a webpage of significant amount of shares especially from Facebook, Twitter and Google+ has been affecting the way Google sees how credible your site is thus affecting your rankings in overall.
Competitor analysis is vital and is still part of the initial stage which is planning and as an old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Assessing your competitors for certain metrics affecting SEO will not only give you an overview of the strength of your competitor but as well as you’ll be able to decide the linking strategy necessary to outrank the top rankers for the chosen keyword(s) for your niche.