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Think about the top 10 results for any Google search term. There’s an obvious reason why they are listed there – they did the right things. Wouldn’t you love to know what they did? Wouldn’t you love to know which keywords they’re ranking well for? Maybe there are excellent keywords you never had thought of.

I have good news for you: it’s easy to get this data, and even better, it’s cheap.

One of the easiest ways to do effective SEO is to replicate the footprint of websites that are already ranking well in your city.

This is for anyone. Unless you’re in a niche which is impossibly competitive, I’m a huge believer in adding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a key plank of your platform. This is especially important if you have an unhealthy dependence on another traffic source, for example, TripAdvisor.

To replicate the SEO footprint of a competitor, what we’re looking for is:

  • Which websites are linking to our competitors
  • Which keywords they’re doing well for

You’re looking to get links from as many of the same websites as your competition. You’re going to find that in most cases, this won’t be possible, but it’s not just about stealing their links. It’s also about learning their strategy. Have they been appearing at local events? Sponsoring local schools? Getting bloggers to talk about them? Appearing in the local newspaper? These are all things you can do yourself, too!

OK, we get it. How do I get the data for $10?

I’m happy you asked. There are two websites that provide this kind of data:

These tools are expensive: Ahrefs starts at $79/m, and SEMrush starts at $69/m.

But what if you could pay someone who already has an account to generate a few reports? Now we’re talking…

Here’s how you do it:

1. Visit and sign up for in a new tab).

2. Search for Ahrefs or SEMrush.

3. Pick a provider.

I picked AleksCupid for the Ahrefs reports and Hermiesano for the SEMrush report. I didn’t really spend much time picking the providers as the outcome is always going to be the same.

For your Ahrefs report, make sure you ask for a backlink report. For your SEMrush report, ask for a keyword report.

For my case study, I picked New York Walking Tours and asked for data on these companies: in a new tab) in a new tab) in a new tab) in a new tab) in a new tab) in a new tab) in a new tab)

4. Receive your reports.

After 1-2 days, you’ll receive replies from both providers. The reports aren’t beautiful and can be a little hard to understand at first glance, but if you invest 1-2 minutes you’ll see that there are no problems. You’ll notice that you’ll receive a separate report for every competitor you picked.

5. Act on your reports.

Ahrefs Report: You’ll receive a list of pages that have linked to the competitor in question. You just need to visit the page, find the link and think about how to gain that link.

Note that this is time-consuming and may feel frustrating at times. It’s worth pursuing, however – there is a LOT of value in getting those links.

SEMRush Report: This will be a list of the keywords that a particular site is ranking for. It can give you some good ideas for yourself to work on.

Bonus Tip

Are you from an area that has less competition? Buy reports for tour companies in other areas – you can get inspiration from this.

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