Link building has been one of the pillars of SEO since the beginning, However, while it is still just as important, the best practices for generating links has changed a lot through the years.
Search engines like Google are very particular about how they treat any backlink to your website. They consider its position, relevance, anchor text, and more.
With link building being a lot more complicated, it’s a good idea to look into using effective link building tools. There are many useful tools that make it much easier to plan, execute and track the performance of your campaign.
Here are 25 of our favourite link building tools that we think everyone should try.
Best Link Building Tools
With the list below, you should not expect to use all 25 tools. Some of them serve the same purposes, making it redundant to use more than one. We recommend you use this list as a launching point to research each one in-depth so that you can find what works best for you.
Ahrefs has been around for a long time, but has evolved with the changes to SEO to grow into a comprehensive SEO resource. For link building, they have a few very useful tools that let you check a competitor’s links. That feature makes them one of the best SEO and link building tools out there.
One of their unique features allows you to see where a linking domain intersects with multiple competitors. That can make it easier for you to tell if the site is open to linking to multiple domains so you can prioritize them.
Guest posting is one of the few acceptable means of getting links from websites. It’s also one of the easiest, making it one of the go-to link building techniques. However, it can also be very time consuming to research relevant and authoritative sites that will accept guest posts.
That makes Guest Post Tracker a simply superb tool. It maintains a database of over 1,500 websites that accept guest posts, and allows you to filter them by category. This tool is a must for any business or agency that does a lot of guest posting.
The most time-intensive parts of guest posting is the outreach—finding who to contact, and managing the first contact. GroupHigh is a tool that includes tens of thousands of individual bloggers and their contact information in one database.
They also include very useful information and metrics about each blogger to make it easy to know who to prioritize. They include stats like audience size and demographics, blog categories, domain authority, social media followers, and more. It also lets you manage and track your outreach directly through their platform.
BuzzStream is another outreach platform that makes it easier to find, contact, and organize all your relationships. It’s a lot easier than trying to keep track of your email clients manually or creating spreadsheets.
It lets you find websites and contact information by categories, and contact them directly by connecting your email to your BuzzStream account. It also shows you the status of your emails, according to the stage of the relationship. You can also customize some fields to organize everything in the manner that works best for you.
One of the least enjoyable parts of link building is disavowing toxic links that hurt more than they help. Rather than manually creating and uploading the disavow tool to submit to Google, Disavow manages it for you. Best of all, this tool is free!
You will still need to add the sites and links you want to disavow, but the tool will tell you if any sites will not be disavowed. It’s a handy tool to make that job much easier and more likely to work.
JustReachOut is a comparable tool to GroupHigh, but for public relations and journalist outreach instead of bloggers. It lets you find journalists and rank them according to how interested they might be in your outreach.
Most importantly, it sources opportunities from PR and journalists who are actively looking for a source like you. By connecting with the likes of HARO or Twitter, you can find easier opportunities with better chances of success.
The most common technique for finding link opportunities is to check the websites that are linking to your competitors. Moz’s Link Explorer tool lets you do just that, while also showing important metrics such as domain authority and anchor text.
Like Ahrefs, Moz has been in this game for a long time. Link Explorer is just one of their useful tools for SEO. For link building, it is partially free, but the trial will limit the number of searches you can run and what information you see. If you plan on larger scale link building, the paid version is worth it.
An outreach tool very comparable to BuzzStream and GroupHigh, NinjaOutreach’s selling point is the massive database of influencers. It was not always as good as it is now. Older reviews may fault the clunkier interface and a lack of useful features.
Now, however, it is much cleaner and more intuitive to navigate, and is useful beyond its database. For example, it has very useful email templates according to the type of outreach you want to try (interviews, guest posts, broken links, etc). It also includes useful SEO metrics so you can prioritize the best opportunities.
One of the most time consuming parts of a link building campaign is researching opportunities. Manually typing searches with the all of the different variations of boolean strings you need to get relevant results is a pain. That’s what Link Prospector was built to help with.
You just have to enter the keywords and phrases you want to base your searches on, and it does the rest of the work for you. Their search results will also analyze the results to let you filter them by quality and relevancy to your needs.
BuzzSumo started out as a content marketing tool, where you could see the most viral content to use as a basis for your planning. However, you can be clever in how you use it for your link building campaign too.
First, the best links you will ever get are the ones where people organically link to your great content. Second, BuzzSumo has a tool where you can see what influencers in your area of business shares content — including your competitor’s content. That’s very helpful to see what people are open to linking, and what content they like to share.
cognitiveSEO is like Ahrefs and Moz, in that it is a complete SEO resource that includes some useful features for link building. Their unique selling point for link building is their unnatural link tool.
This lets you check a website you wanted to target for links to see if it might be toxic. If you don’t avoid or disavow such links, it could lead to your site being penalized by Google. It’s other calling card is the ability to see a breakdown of your links by level of domain authority.
Pitchbox is a complete link outreach tool that covers every part of that process — research, prospecting, contact, reporting, and so on. It has a very intuitive system that lets you plan your link building campaign from start to finish.
It also includes different features depending on the type of campaign you want to run. For example, what you can do with their guest blogging features is different than product reviews or competitor backlink research.
Ontolo is a similar tool for link prospecting as BuzzSumo. It helps with researching prospects with its database, but you can also upload your own list if you already have one. You can use its filtering system to search for groups to target for a specific link building campaign.
It’s UX is not as intuitive as BuzzSumo, but it has a more robust set of features that can help with your campaign.
Hunter.io is another tool for finding the contact information of a website you want to target for outreach. It might also be the best of the lot, depending on what you like and need in such a tool. It finds results very fast, and in our experience it is also very accurate.
Its accuracy is due to sourcing their database of contacts from multiple sources, and then verifying the contact information. It’s a huge help to know that you are contacting the right person before you send your first outreach.
Monitor Backlinks is a tool that pulls their database of links from both Moz and Majestic SEO, but adds their own features. For example, they have very detailed link reporting for your analysis, including SERP position tracking. It also has a disavow tool.
It is not as comprehensive in its features as Ahrefs or Moz, but it is also a lot cheaper. If you’re new to building links and SEO it may be better for you to get started here before moving on to more advanced tools.
Sometimes, it’s still better to get down and dirty and do your link prospecting on Google manually. First, familiarize yourself with boolean operators to learn how to perform more advanced searches.
Next, use the keywords and type of sites you want to target and you can find hundreds if not thousands of prospects instantly. Having a link-scraping tool is useful for gathering them in a spreadsheet quickly, and you can proceed to your next phase.
17. Google Alerts
Want to find websites that are talking about topics and linking to websites like yours? Google Alerts lets you receive email notifications whenever a new web page is published that matches an alert you set up.
It can help you find sites that review products you sell, or businesses like yours, so you can add them to your outreach. You can also add your own business name in case someone mentions you without adding a link.
Scrapebox is a tool for quickly gathering links from a Google search, and even allows you to set up multiple searches before running it. In that sense, it works like the Link Prospector tool mentioned above.
However, it can be more complicated and expensive. It requires you to set up proxies to really do serious scraping. For light work, it is still very useful.
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out, and is a great tool for getting links from real journalists. When a journalist is working on something and wants quotes or information from relevant experts, they put out a call for help on HARO.
You can then sign up on HARO to receive lists of these calls for help including details on the topic and the specific kind of expert they want. If you meet the criteria, you can reach out to them to give them the information they want. If they accept it, you can ask them to link to your site in return. It’s also free!
20. Muck Rack
Muck Rack is very similar to HARO, and is also a free tool to use. You can set up daily alerts for calls for help and information from journalists. You can then reach out to them to provide them with the quote or information they need. They include it in their article, and you can ask for a link when they mention you.
Muck Rack contains other features that can make tracking your work through their tool easier for the sake of reporting. Otherwise, which is better varies from person to person.
21. URL Profiler
URL Profiler is a fantastic tool that helps pull metrics and information from several other tools into one convenient location. They include Majestic, Ahrefs, Moz, Alexa, SEMRush Google Analytics and Search Console, social media, Bing links, and more.
You just drop in a link you want to check and select the tools and metrics you want to include in your report. It’s easy to export the data into a CSV spreadsheet to mix up however you want.
22. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is mostly known as a technical SEO scanning tool. However, it includes a few features that are also useful for link building. It’s URL Profiler lets you bulk import data that you can connect to your Google Analytics and Search Console accounts.
It can also directly integrate with your Ahrefs account to pull their SEO metrics. You can include a breakdown of nofollow and dofollow links, broken links, and more.
MailShake is a relatively new outreach tool that is turning heads with its interface. It’s extremely easy to use, making it ideal for beginners to link building and outreach. You can import emails one by one or import a list you already have in a spreadsheet.
From there, you can customize your outreach emails according to the group you upload and send your outreach in a snap. You can also track the results (including clicks and opens), so you can test subjects and email content to find what works best.
24. Majestic SEO
MajesticSEO works similar to Moz’s Link Explorer tool. It shares the same types of metrics that they calculate their own way. It showcases a number of links, linking domains, and their versions of domain and page authority.
It’s not as complete a tool as others listed here, but is also cheaper than most. If you are on a budget and don’t need some of the more advanced features that other resources have, it’s a good choice.
Broken links are a blessing and a curse for link building campaigns. It’s frustrating to build a prospect list of websites, only to find several that are broken. Having to check each one seems like an annoying extra step you’d rather not have to take.
However, if you find other sites that have broken links to similar sites or content to yours, they’re a great prospect to target. This is especially true if the broken link is from your competitor. You can also find your own broken links to old content, and ask the site to update to something new.
All of these link building tools should show you just how much is involved in running a link building campaign. There is a lot of work involved, and time you need to invest to have a real impact. That’s why these tools are so valuable: they help significantly cut down on time spent so you can get real results faster.
Whether you’re planning a campaign for your organic SEO, or need to focus more on local link building, these tools will help you reach your goals.