How to Use a Backlink Gap Analysis in Your SEO Strategy

A backlink gap analysis is a powerful SEO technique that can improve your website’s rankings and drive more traffic to your website, ultimately increasing revenue.

It involves identifying the backlinks your competitors have, but you don’t.

With a backlink gap analysis, you can discover new link-building opportunities that can significantly improve your website’s search engine rankings.

This analysis also helps you understand where you are falling short, giving you the opportunity to build more backlinks and improve your SEO results.

However, performing a backlink gap analysis can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we are here to help.

Here is our comprehensive guide on all that you need to know about backlink gap analysis.

Let’s dive in.

What is a Backlink Gap Analysis?

A backlink gap analysis is the process of identifying the links that your competitors have, but you do not.

By analyzing this gap, you can discover backlink opportunities and improve your search engine rankings.

Let’s understand this in more detail.

Backlinks are like votes of confidence from other websites. They are one of the most important Google algorithm ranking factors, as you can see from the image below.

Image via First Page Sage

So, should you try to get as many backlinks as you can for your website?

Well, yes and no.

Having a good number of backlinks to your website is a good thing. But the quality of backlinks matters more than the quantity.

A backlink from a high-authority website that is relevant to your industry or niche and uses a relevant anchor text can have a greater impact on your search engine rankings than many low-quality backlinks.

That’s why you need backlink gap analysis.

It is an effective technique that helps you analyze the backlink profiles of your biggest competitors to identify the websites that are linking to them but not you.

These sites may be potential opportunities for you to acquire new backlinks and rank on Google.

Most marketers use backlink analysis tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or Semrush to analyze the backlink profiles of your competitors.

This is what a backlink gap analysis report from Semrush looks like.

Image via Semrush

You can then use this information to develop a strategy for acquiring similar backlinks from referring domains.

Why is Backlink Gap Analysis Important?

If SEO is the battleground, your competitors are the enemy, and backlink gap analysis is your ammunition. That’s because it allows you to identify opportunities to boost your SEO efforts by analyzing your competitors' backlinks.

As we mentioned earlier, backlinks are an important ranking factor for search engines. Websites that have a high number of high-quality backlinks tend to rank higher on search engine result pages.

Backlink gap analysis supports SEO competitor analysis by analyzing your website’s backlinks with that of your competitors to figure out where your website is falling short.

It can help you identify specific websites that are linking to your competitor’s website but not to yours.

You may then reach out to these websites to request a backlink.

Better still.

You may use the skyscraper technique to create better content than what these websites are linking to, and then request them to link to your website instead.

All in all, backlink gap analysis is important because it helps you:

  • Develop an effective SEO strategy
  • Strengthen your website’s backlink profile
  • Boost your website’s search engine rankings

How to Conduct Backlink Gap Analysis

Now that you know what a backlink gap analysis is, let’s see how you can go about it.

Here are the steps you need to follow to conduct an effective backlink gap analysis.

1. Identify Competitors

Start by identifying your top competitors in your niche or industry.

Follow these tips to identify your biggest competitors.

  • Do a manual search of your target keywords on Google. Say, you search “backlink gap analysis,” as shown below.

Image via Google

The websites shown in the image above are the top-ranking websites for this keyword. So, these websites are likely to be your competitors for this particular keyword.

  • Social media is another good place to identify your competitors in your industry. You can use hashtags or keywords related to your business and see which accounts are posting similar content.
  • You may also use business listings and online directories to find businesses similar to yours that may be your competitors.
  • Use tools such as Ahrefs or Ahrefs alternatives to analyze your backlink profile and get a list of websites that link to your competitors. These websites may be your competitors as well.
  • Attend business events, such as seminars, conferences, and trade shows, and take note of other businesses in attendance. These businesses may be your competitors, but you can always find opportunities to build a link building partnership.

2. Use Backlink Analysis Tools

The best backlink analysis tools, such as Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz can be extremely helpful in backlink gap analysis.

So, how do you use these tools?

We will use Ahrefs as an example here. It’ll involve these 3 steps:

  1. Enter your domain and the domains of your competitors in Ahrefs, as shown below.

Image via Ahrefs

  1. Ahrefs will display a list of backlinks for each domain. The report will look somewhat like this.

Image via Ahrefs

Check your competitors’ incoming links to find backlinks that your competitors have, and you don't. These are the links that you should focus on acquiring.

Image via Ahrefs

  1. Ahrefs provides a feature called “Link Intersect” that helps identify the gaps between your site and competitors.
    Click on “Link Intersect” and select the competitors you want to compare with. Ahrefs will show you the links that your competitors have, but you don't.

Image via Ahrefs

Pro Tip: Use Ahref’s “Content Explorer” feature to search for relevant content and filter the results based on various metrics, such as referring domains, organic traffic, and more. This will help you identify high-quality content that is likely to attract backlinks.

3. Analyze the Data

Now that you have the list of links your competitors have, it is time to analyze the data.

Find websites that are linking to your competitor, but not you.

But, it doesn’t end there.

You will also need to prioritize the links that you want to acquire on the basis of domain authority, relevance, and traffic potential.

Here are 4 things to look for to determine if a backlink is of high quality.

Image via High Level Marketing

4. Identify Link-Building Opportunities

Once you have identified the links you want to acquire, develop a plan to acquire them.

In a competitive landscape, acquiring backlinks is easier said than done. These tips may help you acquire more inbound links.

  • Reach out to websites you have identified and request them to link back to your content. Personalize your outreach messages and highlight how linking to your particular page is beneficial for their audience.
  • Another great way to acquire backlinks is guest posting. Find websites of high quality where you can write guest posts. In exchange, you can request them to link back to your site in your author bio or within the content.
  • Creating high-quality content is a great way to increase your incoming links naturally. You may create valuable content in different formats, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts.
  • Influencers in your industry or niche can also help you get high-quality backlinks. Reach out to relevant influencers and offer to collaborate with them on a project or campaign. In exchange, you can ask them to link back to your site.
  • Keep an eye on the backlinks that are pointing to your site. Disavow any low-quality or spammy backlinks to avoid any negative impact on your website’s search engine rankings.

Here are some more link-building strategies you may explore.

Pro Tip: Social media platforms can be a great source of link-building opportunities. Use social media to share your own content and reach a wider audience.

By creating valuable, shareable content that resonates with your target audience, you can attract links and build your online reputation as an authority in your industry.

5. Track Your Progress

Track your progress over time to see how your link-building efforts are paying off.

Identify which strategies are working and which are not.

Focus on the strategies that are driving the most results and adjust or abandon the ones that are ineffective.

Tracking progress also allows you to measure the success of your link-building efforts. You can set goals and track your progress toward achieving them. This helps you determine the ROI of your link-building efforts and identify areas where you can improve.

Backlink Gap Analysis: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Backlink gap analysis can be an excellent way to improve your website’s rankings and drive more traffic to your site.

However, you should also be aware of some common mistakes to avoid.

Focusing on Quantity over Quality

Never prioritize quantity over quality when analyzing backlinks.

Not all backlinks are created equal. It is better to have a few high-quality backlinks than a lot of low-quality ones.

Ignoring Relevance

Backlinks from irrelevant websites can actually harm your website’s rankings.

When conducting a backlink gap analysis, make sure to prioritize backlinks from relevant websites in your niche or industry.

Not Considering the Difficulty of Obtaining Backlinks

Some backlinks may be very difficult to obtain, such as links from websites with a high domain authority.

When analyzing backlink gaps, consider the difficulty of obtaining the backlinks you identify and prioritize backlink opportunities accordingly.

Overlooking Internal Linking

Internal linking can also be an important part of your backlink profile.

Analyze the internal linking strategies of your competitors and identify any opportunities to improve your own internal linking.

Failing to Update Your Backlink Gap Analysis Regularly

Backlink profiles can change over time. Update your backlink gap analysis regularly to ensure that you are aware of any new opportunities or gaps that arise.


Q1. What are backlink gap tools?

A. A backlink gap tool is a type of SEO tool that is used to analyze the backlink profiles of a website and its competitors. It allows users to compare the backlink profiles of two or more websites and identify any gaps that may exist between them.

It can help marketers:

  • Identify new link-building opportunities
  • Improve their website's rankings
  • Drive more traffic to their site

Q2. How do you analyze competitors' backlink profiles?

A. The easiest way to analyze the backlink profiles of your competitors is to use backlink analysis tools, such as Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, and so on.

Here are the steps you can follow:

  • Identify the top competitors for your target keywords. Invest time in keyword research.
  • Enter your competitor’s URL into the backlink analysis tool you are using.
  • Analyze the backlink profile.
  • Identify high-quality backlinks.
  • Compare your backlink profile to that of your competitors to identify the gaps.
  • Develop a backlink-building strategy.

Q3. What is a link gap?

A. A link gap refers to the difference in the number and quality of backlinks between two websites, typically your website and your competitor’s.

A gap indicates that one website has more high-quality backlinks than the other, which could impact its SEO rankings.

Q4. Why is a backlink analysis important?

A. A backlink analysis helps you analyze your website’s performance and identify issues that may impact its ranking on search engines.

Regular backlink analysis not only improves search engine rankings but also helps in identifying new link-building opportunities. Having a strong backlink profile also improves the domain authority and credibility of your website.

Q5. What types of backlinks are important in SEO?

A. If you want to get on the first page of Google, you should be looking for backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites.

Here are some types of inbound links that are important in SEO:

  • Editorial backlinks
  • Guest blogging backlinks
  • Backlinks from webinars
  • Free-tool backlinks
  • Backlinks in business profiles

Incorporate Backlink Gap Analysis into Your SEO Efforts

Backlink gap analysis can be super helpful in identifying new link-building opportunities. It can also help you better understand the link-building strategies of multiple competitors.

If you have not yet done a backlink gap analysis, we hope this article will help you understand why it’s an extremely important part of a solid strategy for SEO.

In case you have more questions about backlink gap analysis, link building, or digital marketing in general, please do get in touch with us.

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic | 5K keywords on page 1. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business2Community, TechCrunch, and more.

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