The 6 Best Link Building Tools You Need in Your Stack
If you’re creating high-quality, well-researched, keyword-optimized content without seeing an increase in organic traffic, you already know that there is more to SEO than keyword-optimized content. SEO is a formula, and its most important variable is site authority.
Authority is shorthand for Google’s understanding of how knowledgeable and reliable your site is about the topic you’re writing about. You’ll know when Google feels your site is authoritative because you’ll see your ranking and organic traffic start to take off.
We call this point the Critical Authority Threshold. Although some sites can reach this pivotal juncture through publishing quality content alone, it typically takes longer than a business or content creator is willing or able to wait. The quickest way to reach the critical authority threshold is to build quality backlinks — that is, increasing the number of backlinks from other sites that point to your web pages — in addition to your content efforts.
Link building is a broad term for the process of actively working to acquire new links to your site. When links come from sites with high domain authority, it signals to search engines like Google that your page authority is on point and can be relied upon for accurate, substantive, valuable information on a topic or theme.
Link building involves activities such as email outreach, guest posting, broken link building, and creating top-quality content worthy of earning links. It’s a key component of SEO strategy and contributes to increased rankings. According to 48% of SEO experts, link building positively influences rankings. A further 34% agree as long as there are no technical SEO issues on a site.
Because link building can be an unwieldy process with lots of moving parts, it’s crucial to have the right resources to make your campaigns a success. To help you get started on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of our top six link-building tools that will help you acquire more high-quality, relevant links and ultimately increase rankings and traffic.
6 Link Building Tools to Help Build Your Site’s Authority
There are several tools on the market now that you can use to track your backlink profile (how many website backlinks your site has and where they are coming from), identify new outreach targets, choose the best anchor text, and otherwise support your link building strategy.
Some are more robust, more frequently updated, and generally more accurate and informative, while others are less reliable.
We recommend turning to these six tools as you assemble your link building strategy and toolkit.
Ahrefs is an immensely popular and robust research tool for link building outreach and other SEO metrics like keyword research, rank tracking, performing a site audit, identifying optimization opportunities, and competitive analysis.
This powerful tool stands out for its ability to apply filters and customize reports on a granular level allowing for advanced link analysis and link building tactics.
You can also use its Site Explorer tool to find link opportunities through competitor backlink analysis, broken link building, and link reclamation. Use the Content Explorer to generate link-worthy content ideas and a list of referring domains, find existing unlinked mentions, and link prospecting.
At Growth Machine, we use Ahrefs’s backlink checker tools for a number of content marketing and technical SEO-related activities, for example, to locate and disavow low-quality, spammy, or toxic links for our site and our clients. We can attest to its efficacy, but given its advanced functionality, it may not be the best tool for beginners.
Get Ahrefs Webmaster Tools with limited access to Site Explorer for free. Pro plans start at $99 per month and are flexible and customizable to your organization’s needs.
BuzzStream is a tool to automate email outreach for link building campaigns. This tool offers dynamic templates that allow you to customize and personalize cold outreach emails at scale. This aligns your link building campaigns with your brand identity and voice and saves an incalculable amount of time compared to relying on a mail client like Gmail for outreach.
It’s extremely fast and easy to use: Simply upload a spreadsheet of prospects, and the tool scrapes contact information ready for link building outreach. Or have the tool automatically build a list of top prospects in your niche. Then scale your link building efforts by sending bulk outreach emails with automated follow-ups.
In our experience, this is an excellent tool to ensure the delivery of cold outreach emails. Not only does it save you time, but it helps you circumvent a major pitfall when trying to conduct outreach through your everyday inbox. Emails with massive CC lists, or too many duplicate emails sent from the same account, are much more likely to be flagged as spam and filtered out faster than the recipient can see them.
BuzzStream’s big downfall is that its contact data isn’t always accurate. Hence, you’re better off using it with a tool like Hunter.
BuzzStream offers a 14-day free trial, and pricing starts at a reasonable $24 per month for 1,000 contacts and two users.
The primary use case for Hunter.io is to find and verify the contact details of link prospects. In our experience, the email verification results are highly accurate and valuable for bulk link building campaigns because they ensure that your link-prospecting emails reach the right person every time.
Unlike working without a tool, Hunter helps you to identify the right decision-maker to target within an organization and get you their direct contact information. That way, instead of reaching out to a generic inbox like “firstname.lastname@example.org,” you can connect with a decision maker like the blog editor, company CMO, or content manager.
Hunter recently added a Campaigns tool to its platform. Similar to BuzzStream, it can be used to compose, schedule, and track outreach campaigns. It also includes built-in templates for high-performing cold emails ready for you to customize.
Hunter offers a free account with 25 searches per month and campaign management for one Microsoft or Google account. Paid plans start at $49 per month.
SEMRush is another popular and comprehensive SEO tool often used interchangeably with Ahrefs and Moz Link Explorer. It’s user-friendly and suited to a range of skill levels.
Many SEO experts find that Ahrefs’ strength lies in keyword research and tracking, while SEMRush is better known for its analysis and tracking capabilities. Although both tools can do both types of work well, SEMRush’s interface displays your best link building opportunities clearly. There’s no need to analyze complex data sets or metrics yourself. But if you’re interested in manual or complex analysis, there are advanced features to explore.
With their Backlink Analytics tool, you can monitor your link building metrics, research competitors, and form link building strategies based on link patterns.
SEMRush offers a free account but limits the number of daily searches. Paid plans start at $99.95 for an annual subscription.
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a different kind of backlink tool. While it requires a little more manual work, it can generate high-authority link building opportunities. You may find backlinks from major media outlets in various niches that are worth the extra effort.
It’s essentially a listserve and is free and easy to sign up for. Once you’re on the list, you receive email blasts with industry-specific queries from journalists, influencers, and bloggers looking for an expert to answer a question or provide topical information for a story or article. You reply with a short pitch for yourself and your expertise, and if chosen, you will be quoted in the article, typically with a high-authority backlink to your website.
But this free tool that provides so many high-quality backlink opportunities comes with a catch: The opportunities are only lightly curated, and the volume of opportunities is massive. You’ll receive three (long) emails daily full of opportunities, so you must ensure you or someone on your team has the bandwidth to cull through the lists promptly to actually benefit from this tool.
BuzzSumo is a content marketing platform offering a range of tools to facilitate digital PR, competitor analysis, content strategy, and, of course, link building.
Generate ideas for the most link-worthy content based on trending topics and important metrics. Analyze competitors’ link profiles and content to discover which content formats and subjects earn the most links.
BuzzSumo is also one of the best platforms to find influencers, journalists, bloggers, and other content creators to target for link prospecting. Use its Influencer tool to filter prospects and find those that meet your specifications — like only verified social media accounts or those that reply often.
In the past, we’ve used the platform to generate data-driven guest post ideas and discover the prospects most likely to publish these guest posts. Naturally, it makes the guest-posting process much more efficient.
Get 10 searches per month for free, or opt for a pro plan starting at $99 per month.
Build Links at Scale
Link building boosts domain authority and, therefore, SERP rankings. It’s impossible to do this at scale without a couple of handy link building tools.
The tools on this list are suited to different skill levels and link building goals. Choose a few that work in unison to improve your link building efforts. For instance, you may find link prospects on SEMRush, accurate email addresses on Hunter, then use an outreach tool such as BuzzStream to make contact.
There’s no denying that tools make the link building process more efficient and increase your chances of earning links. Yet, link building remains a hefty undertaking.
Don’t have the time or skills to execute your own link building campaign? Fill our our contact form and find out how we’ll build high-quality links to your website.
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