Building backlinks can be tricky, especially if you’re not using the right link building tools.
Venturing into the world of gaining backlinks without these essentials is like stepping into a boxing ring blindfolded.
Chances are, you’re going to come out battered and bruised.
But equipped with great tools and a well-thought-out strategy, you can become a formidable player in the off-page SEO arena.
Since I’ve tried and tested countless link building tools that help with SEO, I’m going to share my favorite ones for specific aspects of link building, including analysis, outreach, and reporting.
As a bonus, I’ll also point out the best AI link building tools, and give you some tips for using Google’s free search capabilities to find opportunities.
Here’s a preview to help you navigate this post.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Link Analysis Tools
- Outreach Tools
- Reporting and Tracking Tools
- AI Link Building Tools
- Bonus – The Best FREE Backlink Research Tool
But before we dig into the tools, let’s take a look at the absolute best method to attract more backlinks. It’s not a new tool or widget — it’s a way to look at your content strategy.
The #1 Way to Build More Backlinks
You’re an SEO pro, so you understand the dance — you need content that not only grabs attention but is so good (and relevant) that others can’t resist linking to it.
So when you’re thinking about link building, keep in mind that you must create content that matches search intent, resonates with your audience, and prompts them to link back to your site. As you know, there’s no better stamp of approval in the SEO world than a quality backlink.
However, before you do any backlink analysis or send a single outreach email, make sure your SEO copywriting is top-notch. Creating compelling content radically improves your chances of getting backlinks.
Now let’s dig into the best link building tools you can include in your SEO arsenal, broken down by category.
Link Analysis Tools
Link analysis tools help you identify and evaluate your site’s existing backlinks so you can flag problems and spot growth opportunities.
Semrush is an all-in-one SEO platform that includes tools for keyword analysis, on-page optimization, backlink management, and AI-powered competitive intelligence. Think of it like a Swiss Army knife for SEO that gives you everything you need to top the SERPs.
Semrush’s link analysis platform gives you access to an impressive amount of data. The platform gives you a holistic view of your backlink profile, complete with overviews and specific data points about individual links.
You’ll be able to spot high-value opportunities and neutralize potential threats with backlink audit tools. Armed with that information, you can make fast adjustments.
Other tools may offer more segmented data, but Semrush gives you a comprehensive and cohesive understanding of your link landscape. For more information, check out our full Semrush review.
Best Feature: Backlink Gap Analysis
My favorite feature is the Backlink Gap tool. It allows you to compare your website’s backlink profile with up to five competitors. You can see which domains are linking to your competitors — but not to you — then strategize how to snap up those backlinks.
Ahrefs is another well-known link building tool. Its backlink analysis and competitor research are based on an extensive link database and a highly active crawler.
To build links using Ahrefs, you can use these tools:
- Site Explorer: Investigate your competitor’s backlink profile and identify potential link opportunities.
- Content Explorer: Find well-performing content in your niche, create improved versions of this content, and reach out to sites that linked to the original pieces.
- Link Intersect: Discover the sites that link to your competitors but don’t (yet) link to you.
You can view backlinks to the site you own for free. But to research and view other websites’ backlinks and use their more advanced link building tools, you’ll need a paid plan starting at $99/month.
Best Feature: Content Explorer
Ahrefs Content Explorer is a searchable database of billions of pages. It’s a great source of prospects for link builders. If you’d like to compare Ahrefs to Semrush, check out Nick’s post on Semrush vs. Ahrefs.
Moz is a comprehensive SEO software platform that includes everything from keyword tracking to on-page optimization capabilities.
Moz’s link analysis tools help you identify potential link opportunities, check the domain authority of linking sites, and monitor changes in your link profile over time.
Moz’s link analysis features enable you to:
- Find out who’s linking to your competitors (but not to you).
- Decrease the number of spam links to your site.
- Discover potential link building opportunities.
- Get complete link metrics for any website.
- Identify broken links to your site.
- Analyze every link’s anchor text.
- Research competitor backlinks.
Moz offers some link analysis options for free. Premium levels are available for $99-$599/month, depending on features and user seats.
Best Feature: Anchor Text Analysis
Anchor Text Analysis lets you see the most common anchor text in a site’s backlink profile. If I run this analysis and see a lot of exact-match anchor text, that’s usually a sign of black hat link building.
Outreach tools help you streamline the process of connecting with potential link sources that could have a positive impact on your SEO KPIs. You can find prospects, craft persuasive pitches, and manage follow-ups, all in one place.
Pitchbox is a link building and outreach platform designed for advanced link builders. It includes personalized outreach, automated follow-ups, and integrated SEO metrics that help you identify opportunities, build relationships, and attract high-quality backlinks.
Pitchbox’s advanced search can help you identify, filter, and sort link prospects, including influencers and bloggers.
Once you identify your targets, you can use Pitchbox’s personalized outreach features to grab email addresses, craft customized emails, and automate follow-ups.
$495-$1350/month (billed annually)
Best Feature: Metrics Filters
You can filter your results by specific quality metrics, including Moz Page/Domain Authority, Majestic Citation Flow, and Trust Flow.
HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a service that connects journalists with expert sources. It’s an unconventional but effective tool for building high-authority backlinks.
When you sign up for HARO, you’ll receive daily emails containing requests from journalists looking for expert insights or quotes.
You can respond to relevant requests in your field of expertise. If the journalist uses your response in their article, they’ll typically include a link back to your site, giving you a high-quality backlink.
Basic memberships are free. Premium features are available for $19-$49/month.
Best Feature: Head Start
When you’re responding to HARO requests, time is of the essence. If you respond quickly, your pitch is more likely to be seen. When you sign up for Head Start, you’ll get notifications about press opportunities before everyone else.
BuzzSumo, a powerful research tool, helps you discover influential bloggers in your niche. Its content discovery, influencer identification, and social media analysis features can inform your link building strategies.
You can use BuzzSumo’s Content Research tool to discover the most shared content within your niche. Look for content with a high number of backlinks and identify why it’s popular, then use your insights to create superior versions of this content on your own site.
The platform’s Influencer and Backlink tools help you find industry leaders and monitor who’s linking to your competitors. This gives you valuable opportunities for outreach.
$119-$999 per month.
Best Feature: Brand Mentions
BuzzSumo’s Brand Mentions are like supercharged Google Alerts. You can create alerts for your brand and your competitors, and jump right into outreach when you get pinged.
NinjaOutreach is an SEO outreach tool that offers a large database, automated email features, and influencer metrics analysis. SEO professionals can use it to discover link building prospects and build beneficial connections.
NinjaOutreach’s substantial database of bloggers, influencers, and businesses gives you lots of opportunities for link building. Its social metrics and SEO data can help you start prospecting. You’ll be able to assess the quality of the prospects and access their contact info.
Once you’ve identified promising targets, use NinjaOutreach to create automated email campaigns to propose collaborations or guest posts.
$155-$459/month (billed annually)
Best Feature: Email Campaigns
NinjaOutreach’s automated email campaign features are particularly valuable for link building. You can create personalized emails, schedule them, and send them out automatically to your prospect list. This functionality improves efficiency and can lead to higher response rates.
Reporting and Tracking Tools
So we’ve looked at link analysis and outreach – but those tools can’t tell you if your link building is effective. Measuring efficacy is critical.
The following platforms can track link performance and rankings over time so you can adjust your strategy based on solid data.
Linkody is a tracking and monitoring platform that gives SEO professionals crucial information about a site’s backlink profile. You’ll also get tools for disavowing harmful links and alerts for changes in existing backlinks.
Linkody can give you a comprehensive view of your backlink profile, including the number of links, linking domains, and the overall health of your links. You can also monitor your competitors’ backlinks and identify opportunities where you might also be able to secure a link.
If you discover harmful or low-quality links pointing to your site, use Linkody’s disavow tool to disassociate your site from them.
Best Feature: Backlink Alerts
You can set up real-time backlink alerts that notify you immediately when you gain or lose a backlink. You can respond promptly to changes, either capitalizing on new link opportunities or addressing potentially harmful links.
AgencyAnalytics specializes in advanced SEO reporting. You can track backlinks, monitor keyword rank, and perform website audits. These features make it a useful tool for devising and executing link building campaigns.
Use the tracking and monitoring features of Agency Analytics to:
- Understand which keywords are driving traffic, which can help guide your content creation and link building strategies.
- Get a detailed view of your website’s backlink profile, including the quality and quantity of backlinks.
- Generate detailed reports to help you analyze and optimize your link building strategies.
- Identify technical SEO issues that may be impacting your site’s linkability.
$12-$18/month, per client campaign. Agency Analytics also offers custom enterprise pricing.
Best Feature: Dashboard
The best feature of Agency Analytics for link building reporting and tracking is its comprehensive and customizable SEO dashboard. The dashboard provides a holistic view of all your link building efforts, so you can analyze trends and measure your progress.
Cyfe is an all-in-one business dashboard application that includes an SEO widget for tracking backlinks, organic traffic, and keyword rankings, making it a beneficial tool for link building strategies.
You can integrate Cyfe with SEO data sources like Google Analytics and Moz. The tool provides a real-time dashboard view of your backlink profile, keyword performance, and organic traffic.
Competitor website tracking also helps you spot potential link opportunities and monitor the success of specific links to determine which link building strategies are giving you the best results.
Best Feature: Dashboard
Cyfe’s standout reporting and tracking feature is its customizable dashboard. You can set up your dashboard to gather all your key SEO metrics in one place, from backlink data to keyword rankings.
AI Link Building Tools
AI link building tools expedite the process of finding high-quality link opportunities by leveraging machine learning. These tools rapidly analyze data and predict trends, then offer suggestions to maximize your link building.
Link Whisper is an innovative SEO plugin that uses AI technology to facilitate intelligent internal link building. With this platform, you can simplify creating and managing SEO-friendly site structures.
Link Whisper reads and understands your content, then uses AI-powered recommendations to suggest the most relevant internal links for every new piece you create or edit. This intelligent assistance speeds up your link building process and helps you build a better site.
The tool also helps you identify posts with few or no internal links and prompts you to update them to spread link equity across your site.
My favorite feature of Link Whisper is its detailed link reports. The reports give you a comprehensive overview of both inbound and outbound internal links for each post or page on your site. You can also see which articles have the most or least internal links, and which could benefit from additional links.
BuzzStream is an outreach CRM that helps you keep track of your relationships and stay organized with link building. It offers AI-powered research automation, personalized outreach, and tracking features that help SEO professionals achieve their goals.
You can leverage BuzzStream’s AI capabilities to automatically research prospects. Enter your keyword or domain, and BuzzStream will locate potential link opportunities and pre-fill contact information and social metrics.
This allows you to focus on crafting the best outreach message rather than spending time on manual research.
$24-$999 per month
Best Feature: Custom Fields
Buzzstream’s Custom Fields let you organize and customize campaigns in any way you want. You can sort contacts by relationship stage so that you can understand the current status of your relationship with each person.
SEO professionals can use Hunter to find accurate email addresses for link building outreach in seconds. If you need a fast way to connect with the right people without spending hours doing manual searches, Hunter is a great tool.
Hunter uses AI to predict the most likely email address for a specific person in a given organization. By analyzing patterns in the known email addresses associated with a domain, the AI can extrapolate probable email structures and generate highly accurate email suggestions.
Free-$499 per month
Best Feature: Email Verification
Hunter automatically verifies every email it gives you, so you know the address is good before you send any outreach emails. You can even upload bulk lists of email addresses for verification.
The Best FREE Backlink Research Tool
Google’s advanced search operators are an incredible free resource for honing your link building strategy. Search operators like ‘site:’, ‘inurl:’, and ‘intitle:’ help you find specific types of pages and sites relevant to your niche.
Use the ‘site:’ operator to filter results from a specific domain and check the relevancy of potential link targets by viewing their content. You can also use it to find guest post opportunities or resource lists on sites.
Meanwhile, the ‘inurl:’ operator is helpful for finding specific types of pages, like ones that contain your keywords in their URLs. These results can help you find potential linking partners already writing about topics relevant to your site.
Lastly, the ‘intitle:’ operator is handy for finding pages with specific phrases in their titles. This can help you find content that’s relevant to your target keywords.
These operators can save you time and provide more relevant results than a generic search. When combined, these operators can form powerful search strings that pinpoint the exact types of sites and pages you want to target for your link building campaigns.
Rising Through the Ranks
If you want to rank higher, having the right link building tools is critical. Without them, you’ll be relegated to the second, third, or fourth pages of search engine results.
The tools I’ve reviewed can give you what you need to analyze links, find backlink opportunities, reach out to new possibilities, and track your progress.
Remember, each tool has its own strengths and is suited for different needs, so choose the ones that align with your specific goals and strategies.
If you’re looking for one powerful tool to get started with today, you can’t go wrong with Semrush.