So How Are Footprints Created?
Basically, not enough variety. No creativity. Being lazy.
Do you use the same theme on several sites you own? Do you have the same link in the footer on every site? Use the same anchor text or wording on every site? Do you get links in the same places for all of your sites? All of your sites on the same server? All sites have open WHOIS?
Starting to get the point? All of that kind of stuff can be detected by a smart SEO tech. We might backtrack your links and notice you’re getting sitewide links on 20 different sites with the same anchor text. we check them out and they’re all BANS or all Wordpress or all directories. A quick IP check shows that they’re on the same server. We check out the WHOIS and they have the same owner … And We've busted their network. We look for a pattern they use, then do a search on that pattern. If we can do this, you can bet Google can too, especially if they’re tipped off.
How Can You Find Footprints?
To Find You Competition’s Links Go to Yahoo
Find Backlinks for Given Keyword
linkdomain:site.com “make money online” -site:site.com
Find Backlinks from Footprinted Software
linkdomain:site.com “Powered by Build A Niche Store” -site:site.com
Find Backlinks from .info Domains
linkdomain:site.com +site:.info -site:.com -site:site.com
Find Backlinks from .info with Keyword
linkdomain:site.com “make money online” +site:.info -site:.com -site:site.com
Find Back Links From .info with Footprinted Software
linkdomain:site.com “Powered by Build A Niche Store” +site:.info -site:.com -site:site.com
So, those are just a couple of searches that can be used to locate and track your competition’s footprint. You can use a variety of combinations and keywords to location various sites your competition is using to get links.
What Are You Looking For?
All of the above searches return hundreds of links, but what are you looking for. You’re looking for links that do not appear natural. These may be footer or sidebar links. These may be tons of links with the same anchor text. This could be a lack of variation in themes. Once you find this, you can check out the IP and WHOIS information to determine the owner.
Once you’ve found a few footprints your competition uses, you can locate sites on their network. Then continue the process on their network sites to find even more sites. They might be link laundering and layering their network sites to hide them. Its possible to work your way back pretty far if they don’t make effort to mask their footprint.
Prachar is the owner of IndSEO, A India based search engine marketing firm offering a variety of SEO related services including reputation management, social media marketing, email marketing, website conversion metrics and mobile phone application development. Please contact Prachar@ymail.com to learn more