It’s always a bad idea to cheat on a test by copying a seatmate’s paper; not only because it’s wrong, but also because you might be getting all the wrong answers. The same concept applies when SEO companies try to mine their competition for links. There could be a few gems hidden in other people’s websites, but there’s always the possibility of getting a few rotten links that can affect the good ones.
Ensuring that all the mined links will result in positive returns for a site is labor intensive, and will only suit the philosophy of very few companies. Fortunately, there are a few basic ways of getting beneficial information from competitors without necessarily copying them. This will serve as a launching pad for people unfamiliar with SEO towards understanding how they can view the advantages of their potential competition.
Back to Basics
SEO companies like seoreseller.com already perform some of these basic tasks for their clients and they’re unlikely to be blown away by what’s written here. But this isn’t for them; it’s for the people who are new to SEO and need some help understanding what exactly is going on. Consider this a primer on identifying the kinds of links a company wants and doesn’t want.
The first step is knowing how to recognize links that are authorities in the industry you’re in. The competition can help in this area by showing you the relative websites they’ve linked to. For example, you found that majority of them have connections to a single third party site, contacting that third party is a good start to building your links.
Playing Keep Away
The more important thing to know, however, is what sites to avoid. There aren’t any tools that can make this part any easier for a beginner, as the status of a website can switch from healthy to poisonous and back again in a matter of days. A good way to keep track of sites that can potentially do more harm than good is a “Keep Away” database.
This database is a list of sites that had or currently have penalties from Google. Some veteran webmasters might advise against this because of the potential missed opportunities. But that involves higher levels of analysis, which you don’t have right now.
Learning about SEO involves taking it a step at a time. Master the basics and the more advanced techniques will be easier to learn and apply.