For finding affiliates, Majestic rocks and is another powerful use, beyond link analysis. It is also a powerful tool for affiliates themselves to discover which merchant programs might have certain characteristics. If there’s a cry for more detail on the latter, we’ll write that up, but first let us see how… as a merchant… you might be able to track down all the affiliates of your competitor. Clearly, being able to do this could make a huge shift in your own fortunes!

Tracking down a competitors’ affiliates requires a few things:

1. You need to identify the part of an affiliate program’s link that is a signature of the merchant who’s affiliates you are trying to understand and

2. You will need to force a new analysis of the backlink structure in the options menu of your control panel – to ONLY show links with that signature element in the URL.

So let’s take you through an example…

One of the top results in the UK for “bingo” is A quick look at their backlinks shows me that links to foxybingo. Knowing Loquax is a very respected affiliate, those links should suggest a “link-signature” for the merchant. Sure enough, the link on the generic bingo page goes to a dedicated foxy page on the site and fron there the link to foxybingo is:

So we can see that the link signature for affiliate links to foxybingo contains the text “?a=”.

Now I go into the options in the control panel for my analysis and set the “Include, if URL contains” text box to “?a=” (without the quotes). I also ensure that I include all image links, nofollow links, redirects and any other type of links except maybe the deleted ones.

Then I click “save and force a new analysis”

I now have a 1000 websites that link as affiliates to Foxybingo. I also have them in ACrank order. If you want them all, you’ll need to try this for yourself – but if you want 20 of the strongest affiliates of  Foxybingo – then by way of demonstration, they are:

You can also find the best affiliate link from these sites, the number of links from these sites and the nature of the links from these sites!

Now – this is not the only way to use technology to discover strong affiliates, but you can’t do this with Yahoo… in-fact the only other technology I would know to use would be Hitwise, which looks at the upstream and downstream traffic to and from any site. It doesn’t specifically identify the nature of the relationship… i.e. that it is an affiliate relationship in this case.

Any website owner can use Majestic on their own site free of charge, so if you are a merchant, you can look at how easy it is to see your own affiliate link signature.


  • Samuel

    Hi Dixon,
    Is it possible to use this method when the affiliate links are passed through another url?
    For example:



    February 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm
  • Dixon

    It should be possible, but you need to find out how the redirect works. Usually, you need to analyze the back-link of the AFFILIATE Network domain, not the merchant. You need to get all their backlinks (or the decent ones) and then force a new analysis, so you ONLY look at links to affiliatenetwork domain that CONTAIN

    This will usually work, but if the link to the network gives creating responses (I think 301) then the link MAY be attributed to the merchant domain anyway. You’ll need to test it out a bit, using standard reports, before using all your monthly subscription on an advanced analysis of a massive affiliate network.

    February 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm
  • steve

    This is quite intriguing, that is tracking down and analyzing the affiliates of your competitor. Majestic SEO seems to be really a powerful tool. Thanks for sharing pal!

    September 13, 2010 at 8:30 am
  • Marc

    Does this scenario still work? I found it pretty interesting and was tinkering with it, but cannot seem to replicate anything that provides results. Also, is “Save and force a new analysis” now “Update & Force Analysis”?

    November 17, 2010 at 12:17 am
    • Dixon

      Hi Marc,
      Yes this should still work – although many merchants go through a network like tradedoubler. The problem here is that analyzing Tradedoubler is VERY expensive, because they have so many links (Every link from every affiliate of every merchant on their books). It is therefore much easier when merchants use a link structure that encourages affiliates to link “direct to site”.

      Oh – and yes – “Save and force a new analysis” is now “Update & Force Analysis”.

      November 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm
  • H.C

    That is very interesting indeed, but doesn’t the PR of the actual affiliate page play a significant factor?

    February 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm

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