Does your competitor have some sweet old links you wish they didn’t have?
Well, here are two sneaky ways – one’s even sly and nasty – to get your competition’s links dropped.
1) Run their site through your favorite backlink research tools.
2) Use something like Xenu Link Sleuth or your favorite link checker to look for 404 pages on your competitor’s site that have links.
3) Contact the webmasters linking to said 404s and use broken link building to get the link for yourself instead.
If the link is on a hub page that links to many pages in the field, you don’t even need the competitor’s page to 404.
1) Run the hub page through a broken link checker.
2) Write an email to the hub page’s webmaster with a large list of the broken links – but don’t send yet.
3) Add your competitor’s link to the list near the end.
Q: Why would the webmaster remove your competitor’s link if it’s not broken?
A: Laziness and trust – if the first dozen links were all broken, the next dozen are probably broken, too. Why keep checking all of them?
While I think it’s fine for you to do the first to competitors, the second approach isn’t ethical. It’s an approach to be aware of though, so if you have a link management software like Buzzstream, follow up with the appropriate webmaster if a link disappears. And of course, monitor your 404 errors in Webmaster Tools and server logs.