Today, I thought I should write about something, which is close to every webmaster’s heart. Well, okay, it might not exactly be very close to your heart, but doing it right can prove to be essential for your online success. And yes, it’s ‘link-building’.
The landscape of link building is ever changing, and in order to thrive online, implementing the right strategies is vital. Link building is a process of acquiring links (or hyperlinks) from other websites to your own. Users use these links to navigate between websites, while search engines crawl the links between the different pages on your website, as well as links on all the other websites.
Many SEOs will agree that link building is the most difficult part of their jobs. Although the process itself might vary in difficulty, most SEOs spend a huge amount of time trying to do it well. If you can master the art (and science) of creating high-quality links, it can truly put you ahead of the game.
In simple words, quality links are like votes for your websites. The more you have, the better you rank in search engines. Here are a few great tools that will help you streamline the process.
A highly regarded link-building management system, BuzzStream provides comprehensive modules that focus on link research, prospect relationship management and backlink tracking and analysis.
It’s the only program of its kind that offers services starting from $29/month. It is perfect for webmasters who do not (yet) need the more advanced (and expensive) features that come with other similar management programs.
Majestic SEO designed as a link browser that allows users to track link information for any domain – be it your own or your competitors’. It allows you to thoroughly understand your competitors’ link profiles, helps you observe websites that are linking back to your competitors’ websites, and enables you to identify new opportunities for link building.
The program also offers limited-free reports on any domains that you own. It is especially helpful in terms of judging if link sources are continuously linking back to your website. However, to access the full spectrum of the data, users have to upgrade to the paid version.
Users can also buy credits to obtain the same information about other competing websites. Majestic SEO is a great tool that also provides daily updates on new inbound links.
Open Site Explorer
Rand Fishkin’s Moz is a big name in the industry, known for delivering high-end, user-friendly products. The Open Site Explorer offers features that are similar to Majestic SEO, but their link index is smaller than Majestic SEO.
Their Competitor Analysis option gives users a clearer understanding of how competitors are designing and executing their online strategy to gain more visibility and traction, all of which can in turn guide and inform your own link-building strategy.
All you have to do it to enter your competitor’s website and pay close attention to their inbound links, anchor texts and linking domains. For more information on their social media weightage, consider upgrading to the paid version.
The Raven Tools are a bit on the expensive side (starting at $99 a month) but it is well worth the expense when you understand the value that the program has to offer.
Raven Tools can feel a little overwhelming to use at first, considering the many features that it offers, but most of these are quite easy-to-use, except for the very advanced options that may take some time getting used to.
The company’s Link Manager program allows you to identify potential link partners, grabs webmasters’ contact information and automatically sends link request emails, all from one easy-to-use window.
Ontolo is a fabulous, but sometimes complex, suite of link-building tools that is best-suited to larger companies, or advanced level webmasters – individuals or teams who are dedicated to this kind of work full-time.
Some of its features are unparalleled, including link prospecting. However, you have to be very specific when entering the search phrases, otherwise the program would come up with hundreds of generic results.
Starting at $97/ month, Ontolo’s unique features including automated link prospecting and enhanced competitor link profiling set it apart from its competitors.
Search Engine Journal’s Chuck Price writes about Ahrefs “the best link-building tool you’ve never heard of.”
One look at the program’s features and you will know why. Ahref’s Backlink Analysis feature allows users to get a detailed analysis of a site’s inbound links, including its ALRs – a detailed measure of the number of visitors following each link per month.
The best thing about this tool is that it helps you quickly prioritize the sites that should be your first preference as link-building partners to ensure that the ones you choose bring the best results and the biggest gains for your website.
SoloSEO is a link building and link management program that helps in tracking the various inbound links to your website, while also assessing the strength and weaknesses of the links. A free trial can help users judge its usability before opting for the paid version.
Essentially, SoloSEO is a very simple-to-use program. Just type a keyword in the search bar and see the magic! The program is currently being used by 140,000 users worldwide.
As a linkbuilder, I’m sure you already know what a big headache (and heartache!) it can be to find top-ranking sites that are relevant, and also likely to link back to you. This is exactly what the program does best!
Its founder, Garrett French who first started Ontolo, went on to create Citation Labs. The program is ridiculously simple to use. Just choose the type of link or website that you’re looking for, add a few relevant phrases and viola! This way, you also get an exportable and relevant list of sites as per your keywords. Citation Labs services range from $27/ month to $2 per report.
Tout wasn’t built as a link management program, instead it was created as an email management solution that allows you to seamlessly extract contact information from different websites, create emails using its aesthetically appealing templates or use pre-written email content that comes with the program.
Programs like Tout can be immensely helpful if you are having a hard time contacting all the potential link partners that you would like to get in touch with. Needless to say, link-builders find the resource very helpful.
WhoLinkstoMe, as the name suggests, was developed as a reporting service that provides a detailed report of the kind of backlinks your website has.
Recently, Google has tightened its grip on websites that have been using spammy backlinks. The program helps you analyze the quality of your backlinks, scan their data and content to figure out, and correct potential problem areas. The service comes with various price points for the different user experiences.
Like Tout, Mechanical Turk wasn’t designed as a link-builder but rather as a micro hiring program (that performs a number of other functions), but linkbuilders have found ways to automate the process of link-building using this service.
Mechanical Turk is a very resourceful program in terms of searching and categorizing relevant sites.
Whitespark aims to get local businesses more visibility. If done right, more visibility can literally change the game for small businesses. The tool’s effective and easy-to-understand local citation feature finds relevant potential local link partners almost instantly.
All you have to do is enter your type of business, refine your keywords and that’s it. In a few seconds, you will have a list of potential link targets. Starting with only $20 a month, the program may not be as advanced as BuzzStrem and Raven, but it can be a very powerful tool for your local business.
Although Market Samurai has been developed as a keyword research tool, some of its features are also helpful for link-building activities.
With a one-time subscription of $149, the tool happens to be much cheaper in the long run compared with all its other peers. Its ‘Find Content’ module allows you to track down websites, blogs and other web content – all of which represent link-building opportunities.
Link Research Tools
Link Research Tool‘s Competitive Landscape Analyzer is fit to be called an ‘intuitive’ tool. This intelligent program goes much further than its peers in bringing results that are as astounding as they are spot-on.
Its unique programming allows you to know whether you should focus more on SEO or branding links, why you may have lost rank within the SERPs and where your existing link profile stands in comparison to that of your competitors.
Starting at $199/ month, the tool is expensive, but can make a huge difference for people who are operating in the more competitive niches.
These were some of the tools that are sure to make your life much, much easier. However, if there are any others that you have been using, and would like to share with us, by all means do. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section.