2 Million blog posts are created and published every day.
And the top tier, long-form content generates 9x more leads.
For content marketers looking to publish the next big “Definitive Guide To X”, that’s bad news.
You can’t afford to slave away for weeks on a post just to get outranked by the 3,000 other SEO’s writing the same content.
You need unique, fresh, long-tail ideas that are almost guaranteed to bring in new inbound traffic.
And where better to start than a keyword research tool that helps you spy on the competition?
Here’s a few ways to steal content ideas with Open Site Explorer to take your content to the next level:
How Open Site Explorer Works
Moz’s Open Site Explorer is super easy to use.
The interface is simple, yet the data is never ending:
It enables you to conduct valuable keyword research, SERP analysis, and competitive spying with just minutes spent on the platform.
OSE is a one stop shop for checking your site strength, backlink profile, link building opportunities, keywords and more.
If you wanna get the upper-hand on your competition and scout trending keywords, you’ll feel right at home.
To get started using it, I’ll show you the basics on how Open Site Explorer works:
First, head over to www.opensiteexplorer.com and type in your URL to get started:
Next, you can analyze page link metrics:
To a new user, the amount of metrics can be a bit overwhelming.
But, we’re just scratching the surface of the incredible data you can extract.
The page link metrics box highlighted above shows the data specifically linked to the URL you input.
You can quickly view domain and page authority, as well as your basic link metrics.
Keep in mind: Page link metrics are specifically for that URL you entered, NOT the entire site.
So if your backlinks seem low, that’s why.
If you want to check out your entire site’s link profile, head over to the “compare link metrics” tab:
Next, scroll down to your root domain metrics:
Here you can analyze your total internal and external links, domain authority and more.
Now that you’ve got the basic feel for Open Site Explorer, let’s dive into using the tool to generate and steal content ideas.
1. Scout the Competition’s Profile For Targeting Ideas
First off, Open Site Explorer is an incredible tool for spying on your competition.
Seeing which keywords they’ve targeted, and which they rank high for.
It’s great for analyzing SERPs to examine why content ranks high for that keyword.
Another excellent use is scouting the competition’s backlink profile for new audience targeting.
Let’s say that you sell a clothing/fashion subscription style service like BirchBox, and you want to expand and grow your current target audience.
Start by searching your competitor in OSE and checking out their inbound links:
The goal here is identifying which press outlets have featured your competitor (BirchBox, in this example), and target their Facebook fans.
If a publication is writing about your competitor, likely, their fans care about the content of your competitor and the value they offer.
So, now you’ve just gotta piggyback on their efforts by creating custom audiences to target their followers.
2. Reverse Engineer Your Competitor’s Campaigns
Next up, you can use OSE to reverse engineer your competitor’s backlink profile.
The goal here isn’t to directly copy your competition, but to understand how they are acquiring high-quality links.
What’s the broader acquisition strategy they’re using? Are they running specific campaigns?
You want to be able to develop a similar approach to leverage your brand strength and build the same plethora of high-quality links.
To do this, simply search the competitor’s URL and scroll down to their inbound link profile:
Just by combing through their link profile you should start to pick up on trends. Possible campaigns they’re running and testing.
In this example, you can see that the Hard Rock in San Diego, CA ran an impressive Black Friday / Cyber Monday campaign.
Heck, they got three excellent links out of it.
To replicate their strategy, run your own newsworthy promotion and conduct outreach to the same publications that posted about it.
Since they’ve covered the topic before, you know they’re open to covering great deals again.
3. Find Sites for Outreach and Poach Emails
If you constantly notice your competition posting on high-level sites in your industry, or getting featured posts, it’s easy to conduct that same outreach.
To replicate that same formula and take advantage of that already done work.
When searching your competitor’s URL, sort your inbound link filters like this:
Sorting by root domain will give us the backlink profile of the whole site, rather than just the home page.
We also want any link source type and all link types.
But, the key here is selecting “group by subdomain and show social/contact links”:
Using this nifty little feature allows you to get email addresses of content managers at the specific sites on a competitor’s backlink profile.
Basically, you just stole their outreach list from right under their nose.
Here’s how it works:
Once you sort with the filters I gave you above, you’ll notice social and email links on the right-hand side.
Click on that little mail icon and you get instant access to coveted information:
Now, use those newly acquired contacts to pitch your content and get featured.
Then, sit back and watch the traffic roll on in!
If the site doesn’t have an email linked to it, simply add it to a spreadsheet for later outreach when you’ve got time to dig for email addresses.
4. See What Content Works and Steal It
Your competitor is constantly outranking you.
Their guide got more social shares and backlinks than yours.
They rank higher for the keywords you want to rank for.
We’ve all been there. Struggling to get those top spots and generate the leads we dream of.
Here’s the deal:
You can achieve that too, just scout their top content and see what they’re doing right.
Why are people linking to them? What kind of content is producing these links for them?
Are they piggybacking off current, trending topics, or posting unique long-form guides?
Here’s how to do some easy, simple digging.
Navigate to the “top pages” section and you’ll see the most popular content from your competitor.
The second result, behind the home page, is a long-form guide about Facebook ad costs:
It’s got a page authority of 61, meaning it’s got some high-quality links.
Look over to the right and you’ll notice it’s got 369 inbound links. That’s impressive.
Now that you’ve found an excellent post from your competitor, take that post’s URL and plug it back into open site explorer instead of just the domain:
Now you’ve got a curated list of everyone linking to that successful blog post.
You’ve got a master key to unlocking some powerful backlink opportunities from relevant industry blogs looking to talk, post and link to content like this.
Now, do you remember tip #3?
Enable “group by subdomain and show social/contact links” to get easy access to these backlink targets:
Then, create great content around the same topic as your competitor’s post, and reach out to those backlink sites to see if they’ll mention your content in their next post!
Moz’s Open Site Explorer is a powerful marketing tool for any level marketer.
From noob to pro, any company can benefit from the data that OSE provides.
You just gotta know how to use it. How to pull the right data and examine the right metrics to improve, strategize and conduct competitor research.
It’s powerful keyword research tools gives you endless content ideas and data.
But, the real hidden gems are waiting on the profiles of your competition.
Plug in their URL and scout their profile for audience targeting ideas to use on social media or PPC.
Reverse engineer their campaigns to generate easy backlinks.
Poach sites and their contacts within minutes, and steal content ideas that exploded their growth.
Go out there and stick it to the competition.