Last week, we revealed the existence of Backback, a Chrome extension that can help you track and analyse your competitors’ links on the web. The extension essentially works by placing a tracking pixel on every page you visit, so that you know exactly where it is when you return to that web page. While that may not sound like a fun feature to have, this particular tool has many viable uses beyond simple link hunting.

One prominent example is the ability to see exactly how a particular link on your competitor’s site is performing. You can find this out by viewing the analytics for that particular link, however, that can be a little more complicated than just loading up Chrome and browsing to a certain URL. With Backback, you can set it up to alert you when a link you’re tracking performs particularly well or poorly, which may give you an advantage in terms of gaining that competitive edge.

Set It Up

To use Backback, you’ll first need to install it from the Chrome Web Store. Once installed, you need to visit the extension’s main page, which will give you the option to either disable the extension or set it up to track a single URL or domain. For the sake of this example, we’ll set it up to track the domain, GoDaddy. In general, you’ll want to avoid tracking just a single URL, as that may skew the data. After that, you need to visit the URL you wish to track, or enter the domain name in the Search bar and hit enter, or click on the Tracking Images button to make sure the tracking pixel is indeed placed on that particular web page.

Once you do that, you’ll see a small badge at the top of the browser window with the number of tracked URLS in the form of a green tick. In this case, we have three URLS tracked, but you can see how many pages you’ve got tracked across all of your browsers and devices. You can click on the URL to see the stats for that particular URL.

Let’s have a look at the analytics for the GoDaddy website, shall we? To do that, click on the domain name in the list and you’ll be transported to a new page with all the stats for the domain. As you may have guessed, the stats for this particular domain are pretty high-profile, especially since it’s one of the largest domain name registrars in the world:

  • 40.07M Domain Authority
  • 30.71M Page Authority
  • 24.36M Unique Visitors
  • 12.47M Browsers
  • 4.68M Devices
  • 1.17M Referring Domains (those domains that lead you to the site)

Analyse The Data

Once you’ve set up your own URL to track, you can use the information presented to you in the dashboard to see how visitors are finding your site and engaging with your content. You’ll see stats such as the number of pageviews, bounce rate, time on site, and much more. From here, you can drill down into specific parts of the site to see how visitors are interacting with different elements, including the most popular pages, the most popular blog posts, and more. You’ll also be able to see how visitors are finding your site and engaging with it from various locations, including mobile phones.

One of the major benefits of this particular tool is the ability to slice and dice the data by day, week, or month to quickly see which days, weeks, and months are performing best and which ones need work. If you find that one of your domain’s most popular articles isn’t converting well, you may want to review the copy of that article and see if there’s anything you can do to improve it. One of the most useful features of Backback is the ability to create custom dashboards to suit your needs, so you can always find the information you need without having to wade through unnecessary stats. For example, if you’re interested in knowing how visitors are finding your homepage, you can create a dashboard just for that.

Extension Limitations

Backback only tracks web pages that have a 1×1 tracking pixel on them, so if a page doesn’t fit that criteria, you won’t be able to see its analytics. Additionally, you can’t use this tool if you’re tracking a page on a website that’s hosted on a forum or blogging platform like WordPress or HubSpot. Those platforms don’t allow for 1×1 pixels on individual pages, so you won’t be able to track those articles or forums if they’re on such sites. This restriction may not bother some people, but it can be a deal breaker for those that wish to have complete control over which links they can track and which ones they can’t.

Why Should You Care?

In today’s world, a lot of information is available online. To ensure that your business obtains the most out of that information, you’ll need to put in the time to curate content and find the sources of that content, whether that’s from Facebook, Google, or a third party. With the rise of digital marketing, link building, and content curation, the ability to track and analyse your competitors’ links has become essential.

Being able to see which links are performing well and which ones need work is essential in order to determine the effectiveness of your link building efforts. For example, if you’ve engaged in paid link acquisition but don’t see much traffic coming from those links, it may be time to reconsider your strategy.

In this day and age, a lot of information is out there, and if you wish to have a successful business, you’ll need to make sure that you obtain as much of that information as possible. The good news is that with modern analytics tools like Backback, this task becomes much simpler.