29 Experts Reveal The Best Link Building Tools For SEO

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The SEO game is a marathon, not a sprint. And if you are not using the best link building tools for SEO you are facing an uphill sprint.

So I got 29 experienced SEO’s to answer this for us:

Which SEO/link building tools are critical to your businesses success & how do you use them?

What is even more interesting, is the results these people are getting.

For example, one blogger got 180,000 monthly organic search sessions without actively building links, solely through keyword research.

Here is a break down of the top votes-

The Best Link Building Tools For SEO (as voted by 29 experts!)

  1. SEMRush – 8 votes
  2. Google Webmaster Tools – 7 votes
  3. Majestic SEO – 7 votes

Other mentions:

Here are the answers in detail. Enjoy the post, take notes and implement the info.

Don’t forget to share it with your friends and colleagues.

Andy Crestodina

Links happen when great content becomes visible to someone who creates links. Who creates links? Writers, bloggers, editors, journalists, podcasters and event organizers. In other words, the trick to link building is to create visibility among creators.

So here are three networking tools that can be used for link building. I recommend these tools because they focus on research. The first step is to find the content creators…

FollowerWonk

FollowerWonk – Enter your topic name (whatever industry you’re in) along with “blogger” “writer” or “author” This will produce a list of content producers in your field. They’re sorted by number of followers by default.

You can also see the general social influence of each. If that number is in the signal digits, it’s probably a spam account.

InkyBee

Inkybee.com – This is a paid service, but very powerful. Use it to find blogs and bloggers on any topic. Then track and manage your outreach within a dashboard.

This tool includes MOZscape data so you can see the domain authority of the bloggers right there in the list. That saves a step. Also, a new feature helps you find bloggers who already follow you on Twitter. That’s a big shortcut!

Topsy

Topsy.com – You may already have bloggers who like your content. Put your content into Topsy to see who’s sharing it. If there are influential bloggers who are already enjoying your content, it’s easier to reach out, connect and collaborate.

Once you’ve found these content creators, you can add them to a spreadsheet. Use Open

Site Explorer to find the domain authority of each of their blogs, and add that as a separate column. You’re ready to combine social media with SEO.

Time to start networking.

Add them to a Twitter list or Google+ circle so you can watch them more closely. Now start mentioning, sharing, commenting, chatting and collaborating.

Links will happen after there’s a genuine connection.

James Brockbank

As an SEO consultant, I both oversee and am involved in a range of campaigns for clients in a whole host of industries.

As such, having a great toolset to help carry out routine and detailed tasks makes my life far easier and the campaigns of my clients ultimately more successful!

Here’s my top three must have SEO tools:

Serpfox

Having tried numerous position tracking tools, Serpfox is by far the best I’ve come across and one which I use on a daily basis.

By setting custom alerts, I receive an email alerting me whenever a search term I’m tracking enters the top ten positions, leaves the top ten or changes either way by more than ten positions.

That way, I know exactly how core search terms across my clients sites are performing in almost real time.

Of course, having reliable tracking software also makes reporting at the end of the month far easier as well!

SEM Rush

When a new client enquiry comes in, the first thing I do is run their URL through SEM Rush.

Whilst only an approximate level of search traffic is shown, it’s a fantastic indicator as to whether the site may have experienced a penalty or algorithmic adjustment at any stage in the past.

SEM Rush provides me with an instant overview as to the current and historical performance of a site both in terms of ranking positions as well as link, PPC campaigns and a whole host more.

This is, as far as I’m concerned, the best overall SEO tool out there and when it comes to audits, is invaluable!

Majestic

As far as link research tools go, you can’t beat Majestic. I

In comparison to other similar tools, the depth it goes to is sufficient enough to carry out a detailed link audit either as a routine measure or in the event of a manual penalty or Penguin adjustment.

Being able to see a nifty little overview of anchor text breakdown helps with a very quick analysis of a sites backlink profile whilst being able to pull off detailed reports makes the process of marking links for removal requests that little bit more bearable!

All in all, having tried a number of link research tools over the years, it’s Majestic I go back to time and time again.

Erik Emanuelli

The first tool I like to mention is MyBlogU.

It’s a relatively new platform I use to be promoted online, creating new connections and backlinks, by sharing my knowledge in the topics I feel to be expert.

You can choose among brainstorm, media and interview. I normally use the latest category, the core features of the site, both for creating interviews for my blogs or finding relevant projects to participate.

I think it’s one of the most effective ways to create natural backlinks and new connections within blogosphere.

SearchMetrics has huge potentialities. I use it to gather data for each website I analyze, with information about SEO visibility, backlinks and much more.

The graphs feature is an effective way to discover any Google algorithm issue, by noticing a sudden drop of visibility.

On the other side, a fast increase of visibility gives you indication of a possible malicious link building. Check also the keywords rankings, to identify the most suitable websites to target.

Lastly, the social ranking feature gives you insights on whether a website is doing or not a good social media marketing job.

MajesticSEO comes in handy to determine backlinks quality of a website, and analyze anchor texts or rankings. I use it to identify the tops pages linking to my blogs and to find out my website’s top pages.

Graphs gives you insights about referring domains and trust or citation flow. Alternately, use it to make research of a phrase you want to rank well on Google, then export and filter the results, in order to find the links and duplicate your competitors building campaign.

I like also the “neighbourhood checker”, as it helps you identify the domains with most backlinks hosted on any IP, in order to let you understand co-hosted sites which may be dangerous.

Lastly, with the historical traffic analysis you have at your disposal up to 2 years of ranking history.

Jamie Knop

BuzzStream

I’ve been using BuzzStream for a couple of years now and for good reason. If you’re doing outreach and not using it then you’re in for a treat.

Essentially it enables to easily manage your relationships with websites you’re outreaching to, whether that be bloggers, businesses or journalists.

It lets you import a bunch of websites for prospecting and gathers lots of data for you so you can decide if the website is a good fit for your campaign.

For example the Domain Authority of a website and how many followers they have on Twitter (yes it scrapes a websites social profiles!).

Once you’ve prospected some websites it then allows you to easily contact them directly through BuzzStream. You just hook your email up in the settings and you’re ready to outreach. This is where things start to get even better.

If there is an email address listed on the website BuzzStream will get it for you, and if not it’ll show you the contact page URL.

Then you are able to setup templates to speed up outreach and you’ll even get statistics on what your response rate is like so you can optimise and improve your email copy.

Once you’ve got a link BuzzStream will then monitor it for you and if there are any changes, such as a link being taken down you will be notified. Pretty neat!

There are so many tasks you can utilise BuzzStream for such as PR, blogger relations, unnatural link analysis and link monitoring, you’d be daft not to give it ago.

Screaming Frog

When it comes to technical audits Screaming Frog is my go to piece of software. It will crawl an entire website and scrape all the important data you need.

Some of the common tasks it helps me carry out are,

– Fixing page errors such as 404s

– Making sure redirects have been correctly implemented

– Checking on-page items such as Meta information, headers and content length

– Making sure canonical tags have been implemented correctly

– Generating sitemaps

– Viewing pages that have been set to noindex

These are just a few of the things that Screaming Frog will help you with. It can be used for a whole bunch of other things, even link building.

For example, you can scrape a website you want a link from, find all the broken links, email the website owner letting them know and suggest your link as a replacement.

URL Profiler

Fairly new to the SEO market is URL Profiler. It does what it says on the tin, helps you profile URL’s. It can gather tons of information on thousands of URL’s you input into the software.

Such data that can help you qualify the quality of website such as Majestic metrics, Moz metrics and Ahrefs metrics.

It can scrape the social accounts from a website and email addresses to help you in your outreach efforts.

You can even utilise it when carrying out on page audits to make sure none of the content is duplicated and checking Page Speeds.

Marcus Miller

I am not a big tools guy. There is always another new tool coming out and I often find they are simply recycling old ideas. That said there are a few essentials that we use in our day to day at Bowler Hat so let me give you an overview.

Google

Yep, Google. Old School, right? Ultimately, you want to know what pages Google thinks are important – then ask Google. Fortunately, Google gives us a range of search operators to query the index and find pages that may be of interest to us or our clients.

Want to find local charities that link out to sponsors? Then ask Google.

There are a series of operators that tend to be useful but the following tend to be key:

inurl:

intitle:

site:

So, if we are looking for charities in Birmingham that list their sponsors we could try:

charities in birmingham inurl:sponsors

charities in birmingham intitle:sponsors

Maybe we find specific charities and we want to filter by a specific site – no problem, we can chain operators together:

site:www.example.com inurl:sponsors

We can also take advantage of the ‘~’ operator to find related words and the minus (-) operator to remove or filter the results.

site:www.example.com inurl:sponsors -“we don’t want this text”

There are almost too many options to cover here but if you want links and you want to find the sites and pages that are likely the most valuable then there is a good chance Google itself is the only tool you need to identify more than enough opportunities to keep even the most fevered SEO team busy. Plenty of more ideas here:

https://support.Google.com/websearch/answer/2466433?hl=en

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is like the SEO’s Swiss Army Knife. We do a lot of Technical SEO Audits and have used this tool for years and I am still finding new things it can do or show us.

Example – found a site that you really, really, really want a link from? Well simply crawl that site and get list of the external links and review 404’s and build a strategy out of that.

Want to know what anchor text your competitors are using for internal anchor text?

Want to see a sites most important (linked pages). Screaming frog can do all of this and so much more. I tend to enjoy having a problem to solve and seeing how we can use Screaming Frog to solve it.

Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics

I am a big fan of Webmaster tools and Google’s tools in general. If you can get any diagnostic information direct from Google then you are a fool not to use it.

Recently the page speed and fetch & render tools have added to an ever increasing tool set that can be used and understood by everyone to some extent.

Google Analytics again provides so much data to improve your performance in organic search, paid search and any online advertising that most businesses never need anything more complicated.

Honourable Mentions

There are a few tools I like. I am a fan of Bright Local and WhiteSpark for the Local SEO Toolsets.

I like some of the Moz.com pro tools and especially the site crawler.

Maybe a slightly boring list but I don’t have a super secret SEO tool. After 15 years in the business I am yet to find such a tool so either I really suck at looking (which would be bad given my field) or these tools don’t actually exist.

The best SEO tools out there are the consultants that are in the trenches each day fighting the good fight for their clients!

Gabriella Sannino

One thing that’s apparent, if you’re paying attention to the changes occurring in SEO: it’s more than analytics, technical and content strategies – it’s about human behavior, too.

How are people making those connections? The easiest and most time consuming way is earning links. That is important for SEO. Actually it’s two-fold process.

The first and most important reason is the connections you make outside your digital footprint that reinforce and add value to your readers.

The second reason of course, is that search engines use those signals. Yes, search engines view links as part of the authority given to your web presence and will continue to do so, while updating algorithms that combat crappy links.

I’m sure you’ve seen those comments people make. “Google is ranking company xyz better than ours, yet our content is better.” I get it, really I do. But at the end of the day, allowing Google to dictate your day-to-day operations is like being a hostage with no clarity for your future.

Let me be clear, ranking should not become your Holy Grail. Contradiction much you say?

Sure, but at the end of the day ask yourself who’s buying from you?

I’m pretty sure you’ll agree it’s not Google.

Maybe you should add earning links as your top must do in 2015. It’s an organic process and yes, its time consuming but when done organically it’s like a facelift, it becomes ageless.

At least for the next 3-5 years LOL. Which when you consider how long a strong organic link lasts, the odds are for you, and not against you.

Below are my top three organic link-building tools. Each one offers a variety of options that will not only help with your organic efforts, but that will point you in the direction of “where” you should look first.

Remember there are millions of people online daily, therefore, when trying to capture local business you have to guide your efforts locally.

For example start a resource list for local organic produce shops if you are a restaurant.

Start a local review about great bike trails if you’re a bike shop.

Basically, get creative and make sure you pour a lot of time and relevant research in order to produce an excellent linkable piece.

Matt Wolfe

SEO is an interesting topic for me because I personally don’t put a ton of focus in to it.

What I’ve learned is that, the more I stop trying to create something that the search engines want and the more I just start creating something of great value for the audience, the better I actually tend to do in the search engines.

Saying that, there are a few tools that I do use that help give me a bit of a “leg up”…

My number one SEO tool has to be the WordPress SEO plugin from Yoast. Since everything I create is created with WordPress, this plugin bakes SEO best practices right in to every blog post that I create.

It handles the page and post titles, it takes care of sitemaps, it helps me analyze the optimization of a post before I hit publish, and much more.

It’s the main tool in my SEO arsenal.

The second tool, that I recently discovered, that is really quite cool is called the Blog Post Headline Analyzer from Co-Schedule.

It’s a simple tool where you type in the title of your blog post and it will analyze it for things like length, how powerful or emotionally driven the words in the title are, and much more.

I run the title of every blog post I write through this tool first now and then analyze and tweak until I have a highly optimized post title.

Finally, I use BuzzSumo a lot now to find great topics to post about.

This tool helps you analyze other posts from around the internet to find what’s receiving the most social engagement. If you find a hot topic that everyone’s talking about, you can jump on that bandwagon and make your version of that topic or post better.

Search engines weigh bounce rate heavily in to their algorithms.

Creating amazing, shareable, content that keeps people on your page and wanting to browse deeper in to your site will help improve ranking.

As you can see, I’m not big on “link building” or have a ton of SEO tools. I’m big on creating content that people really really want… I then invite others to share that content and expect that my content will grow in the rankings organically.

When I’m going for super fast rankings, I’ll use some web 2.0 properties to create mini-posts on my topic and point them back to my main post. For this, I’ll use sites like Tumblr, LiveJournal, and WordPress.com…

These mini-posts will tease the idea of my bigger post and use anchor text to point back to them. It’s probably not the most effective SEO strategy on earth but it’s shown results for me and it’s the little bit of link building that I’m willing to go out and do.

Patrick Coombe

Bet you thought I was going to say Scrapebox or Screaming Frog, didn’t you?

Lately I’d have to say the #1 SEO tool in my arsenal is Schema markup. Schema is a great way for you to set your brand apart from the competition in the SERPs.

In case you weren’t aware, Google Knowledge Graph uses schema markup to display those nifty little boxes in the SERPs. If you have your wits about you, you can give your brand a nice boost (I didn’t say rankings boost) by getting your KG game on point.

Knowledge Graph uses schema markup to display those nifty little boxes in the SERPs. If you have your wits about you, you can give your brand a nice boost (I didn’t say rankings boost) by getting your KG game on point.

Webmaster Tools is also one of my favorite tools. Yes, the data is practically never correct but there are a number of features that I count on to function as an SEO in today’s climate.

The first one are the search impressions. This is literally the only way to accurately extrapolate how many impressions your keywords are appearing for in the search engines.

There are 100’s of analytics programs out there but none of them can do what Google does, and most of them rely on this data anyway.

This is an excellent way to truly see how your SERP CTR is and make make changes to your titles / descriptions based on that.

The second mart of WMT that I consider vitally important is the mobile warnings / testing tool. I don’t know what the latest statistic is, but mobile makes up a s*** ton of overall traffic.

It is no secret that if you website isn’t responsive, it isn’t going to rank. Google does a good job of giving you the suggestions that you need in order to get your site ready for war.

In the past 5-10 years I’ve been back and forth a number of times in my thinking with SEO in general. I started off thinking it was all about signals, backlinks, and Googlebot.

The longer I am in the industry the more I realize it is all about quality control and UX. Give the people what they want, and Google will reward you!

Marcus Taylor

The three SEO tools I use the most (besides the really common ones) are SEMRush, URLprofiler, and Screaming Frog.

While SEMRush has a lot of cool features, I’m a particularly big fan of their site audit feature, which tends to flag a lot of site issues missed by Google Webmaster Tools and Screaming Frog.

On top of this, the competitive data that you can get from SEMRush is extremely useful when doing competitor analysis, and a (surprisingly) accurate way of seeing which keywords are generating the most traffic for a given site.

URLProfiler is one of my favourite tools for scraping link data, as it collects data through Majestic, Moz and Ahrefs’ APIs, and then allows you to export the information with a lot of control over different filters.

Finally, Screaming Frog is my go to tool for getting a birds eye view snapshot of a website’s onsite structure and general health. It’s also particularly useful when you need to get a snapshot of all of a site’s title tags and meta information, along with the character length of each.

Nathan Rossow

There are a few tools that I use in my day to day work. My Top 3 are LongTail Pro, Moz Pro, and Bright Local.

A couple of honorable mentions are Majesitc SEO and< a href="http://www.spyfu.com/"> SpyFu.

LongTail Pro Platinum

This is #1 in my SEO Tool box. Keyword Research in my opinion is one of the most important things in SEO.

I made several mistakes early on when pursuing new niches, I targeted the wrong keywords because I wasn’t quite grasping the appropriate use of keyword sets. I’d realize my mistakes too late, after I’d spent hours and hours of work and money.

Looking back, maybe I should have spent more time digging a little deeper into my research. This doesn’t just mean spend more time on research, you actually have to go about it the right way.

Moz Pro

I use Moz Pro Open Site Explorer to take a look at my sites and the competition. I use this almost daily when I’m checking out a client’s site or competitor’s backlinks and domain metrics.

A great way to start your backlinking campaigns is to look at the competition.

There is no need to recreate the wheel!

Take a look at the 1st page results and see what properties they are linking to the 1st page sites. Too many people are looking for some kind of magic sauce when it comes to backlinks and SEO in general; chances are if it’s working for your competition it’ll work for you.

Also OSE is great to get a quick look at the DA and PA for a site. I use this when I’m scoping out expired domains to add to my network of sites. PBN’s aren’t dead, just saying.

Bright Local

Bright Local is a great tool for me and my business; it is great for anyone doing any kind of Local SEO.

The keyword tracker allows you to select the town or city for the particular keywords that you are tracking.

This is a big deal when it comes to tracking keyword positions for the local business. Bright Local lets you track and see if you are in that coveted 7 pack.

The Citation tracker that they have is pretty good as well; citations are the bread and butter of local SEO.

There you have it, my top 3 SEO tools. They keep me and my business on track for success. They are all paid tools, but they are well worth the price for to the time that they save me alone.

My agency can be found at www.YakSEO.com and I blog at www.TakingActionOnline.com where I talk about SEO and getting started as an Online Entrepreneur.

Scott Moran

Here are my 3 favorite tools for SEO and link building for 2015:

1. PBN Lab’s Expired Domain Crawler

How do you launch a new website, complete with an existing backlink profile including powerful links from current, high-authority websites – before the website is even online? Or, quickly rank your existing website?

Expired domains are the cornerstones of my link building/backlinking strategy, because they’re a fast, easy and cost-effective way to get my websites authority instantly – without any fuss!

I was so frustrated with trawling domain drop lists and bidding for domains at auction. I didn’t want to purchase them from brokers at a premium price and it made no sense spending countless hours myself manually crawling, filtering and fumbling with lists, to finally look up the domain metrics only to realize they were all rubbish…

So I scratched my own itch and personally developed my own web-based expired domain crawler, which “does it all” in one easy step, and have released it as a tool for the world to use.

Now, in less than 30 seconds of my time, I can generate my own list of expired domains – which nobody else even knows about!

To do this, I simply enter in relevant keywords, a country and period in time. The software automatically generates a list of seed URLs to crawl based on those parameters, and from there the crawler does all the heavy lifting!

PBNLab-Job-Wizard

Just minutes later, I have my own private list of well-established (but now expired) domains – complete with Domain Authority, Page Authority, MozRank and Link metrics from Moz – available for registration at any domain registrar.

The domain lists are filterable and sortable, and have quick links to Moz, Ahrefs, MajesticSEO, Wayback Machine (and more) so I can quickly and easily validate the domains, ensuring they have a clean, well-established backlink profile.

PBNLab-Results

There are other methods for crawling too. You can use a manual list of seed URLs, or paste in raw HTML and parse it for seed URLs. I.e. Perform a very specific search in Google, then copy and paste the result page HTML source into the wizard.

This means it’s easy to crawl authority sites like Wikipedia, or any .gov, .edu sites for expired domains. And when you find those domains, you know they have great authority right now, with backlinks from those authority sites.

You can sign up today for access to use my expired domain crawler at www.pbnlab.com.

2. Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool

If you don’t think your page load times matter, think again!

We know this is a ranking signal used by Google, and slow loading websites simply will not rank well – especially not for highly competitive keywords.

Beyond Google’s ranking signals, consider your visitor for a moment. You have 7 seconds to impress them, and then have them take action on your website. Every second it takes to load, is a second less you have to get your message across!

I use the Google Developers PageSpeed Insights tool to quickly establish what’s slowing down my websites, so I can take action to resolve those bottlenecks.

Google-PageSpeed-Insights

Simply enter in the URL of your website, and Google will analyze the server response time, compression and caching, scripts plus the visual elements of your website relative to both mobile and desktop browsers.

Google will return a score out of 100% for the URL you provided, and will show you which rules you passed.

Best of all, for each rule you don’t pass – Google explain in simple terms what it is exactly, and their recommended steps you can take to resolve it.

Get your site above 90%, and watch your rankings climb!

3. David Naylor’s Keyword Density Tool

A page over-optimized for your target keywords is more likely to “tank”, than rank.

Getting your keyword density somewhere between 1% and 3% is good (it depends a little on your total word count) and not forgetting that you should also be using semantically similar keywords and phrases.

Using David’s online Keyword Density Tool, you can quickly analyze your entire page and ensure you get your keyword density spot on. There’s no need to guess!

What I think makes this tool really unique is that it provides you with keyword density relative to your entire page, and not just the body of your article.

Consider that your keyword may appear in your site name, every menu and other internal links – you can quite easily, and unknowingly, over-optimize a single page, even if you get the body of your content spot on.

Head over to the Keyword Density Tool, and enter the URL of the page you’re trying to rank – and the keyword terms or phrase you are trying to rank the page for.

You’re first presented with the summary results page, which provides you with extensive on-page analysis, including a detailed breakdown of one-word and two-word keywords, your internal-to-external link ratios, and the juice-passing external links, among other values.

But, where this tool comes truly becomes valuable is the comparison page.

The comparison page fetches the top 20 Google results for your keywords, and for each page, it performs the same on-page keyword analysis for those pages as it has done for your page.

Looking at the table of results, with your site on the first row, you can now quickly compare your page to your competition, and see exactly how hard they’re competing for those same keywords.

Keyword-Density-Comparison

You’ll find pages that aren’t necessarily targeting those keywords at all in terms on-page optimization, but you will find the sites/pages who truly are working as hard as you are to get inside the top 20.

First step is to check your site:

  • Have you “ticked every box”, and have your keywords placed at least once in each page element? If not, there’s room for improvement.
  • Ensure your total keyword density sits in the 1% to 3% mark – keeping in mind your total word count.

The next step is to take closer inspection of your competition’s pages (and even their entire site).

If they’re competing hard for those keywords, these are the pages you need to pay particular attention to. How are you going to outrank them?

Looking at their pages, do a little research and consider these questions:

  • Is this site specifically targeting your niche? Or is it just a single page about your topic on an authority site? If it’s just a single page, the site’s relevance and internal linking structure is less likely to be relevant – good news for you.
  • Is the site old, or new? Older sites tend to hold better rank due to the domain age, but they can be outranked regardless.
  • Does their page better answer the question, or provide more value than yours? Don’t let them provide more value to the visitor. Add more content, make your page easier to read, put in more relevant pictures or photos.
  • Where are their links coming from? Throw their URL intoMoz’s Open Site Explorer,Ahrefs and/orMajestic SEO. Are the links from other sites in your niche? How many powerful links are pointing to their page? How many links are there in total? Can you replicate their powerful links, or outweigh their many weak links with a few powerful links?

So now that your page is optimized for your keywords, and you know who your competition for that page truly is – time to get to work outranking them!

Chris Higgins

As a marketing agency we are fortunate to have access to a whole host of cool tools and pieces of software to help us with our day to day tasks.

They all do their job really well, but I definitely have my favourite and as you may expect these are the ones I use most often at all stages of a client’s campaign, from inception through to ongoing monthly delivery.

SEMrush

The first port of call for me is always SEMrush. The interface is really intuitive and gives a quick snapshot of a client’s visibility in just a few clicks.

Having a visual representation of a client’s traffic and keywords over a period of time really helps take stock of how well a current campaign is performing.

I’m not the only person in the office who’s a massive fan of SEMrush. Our paid search team also use it to track and analyse competitors paid campaigns.

If the above wasn’t enough to be shouting from the rooftops about, SEMrush also allows you to analyse sites across more than twenty TLDs, this has been invaluable when it comes to us pitching for global campaigns.

Ahrefs

Once a client comes on board we take stock of their current e-assets; including how well their site is performing, as well as auditing the backlinks pointing to their domain. In order to do this we need to pull data from a reliable and trusted source.

My personal preference is Ahrefs. Now we do gather data from other sources, but I find ahrefs gives you the highest number of active links; Handy if your client needs a little backlink cleanup before the start of a campaign. This is based on our own research.

The other reason Ahrefs wins my vote over the other data providers is the speed of download. Sometimes I can be waiting a lifetime for OSE to download!

LinkRisk

Similar to SEMrush there is another piece of software I use throughout the lifecycle of a campaign. LinkRisk is a platform of apps designed to help the discerning digital marketer in a number of ways.

My first port of call within LinkRisk is always the audit app. This allows me to automatically import links pointing to a client’s site and quickly filter and weed out any potentially unnatural or spammy links.

I’m then able to compile a disavow, if needed, ready to be uploaded to the client’s Webmaster Tools account. Before LinkRisk came to be I used to do this in Excel.

Now while excel is a powerful tool, it took an age. Hooray for LinkRisk.

There’s also a handy rankings app, which allows you to keep a close eye on client’s keywords across different countries. You can set up alerts when rankings drop, gain or reach the coveted number one spot. Handy if your client is rankings motivated.

I’m also a massive fan of the aptly named “Peek” app, which allows you to search for sites for outreach. Simply search using buzz words around your topic and filter using the metrics or page attributes tools.

This app is just perfect for blogger outreach and more traditional PR.

Use tools to help you work smarter and save you time and money

The one thing that all these tools have in common is the ability to save you time, lots of time, hence the reason they make it into my top three list and firmly on my bookmark bar.

Nauf Sid

My 3 favorite free SEO tools are – Google Keyword Planner (GKP), Open Link Profiler, SEO Quake.

Although I have many more paid tools that I use, these tools can give beginners an edge of their competition.

How I use them effectively:

Google Keyword Planner

Nothing new here, it’s an awesome tool we all use and know. For my keyword research phase, this is my go-to tool even though it is built for advertisers. It can be used in a variety of ways ie. for keyword research, niche research and advertising.

But let’s discuss its use for niche affiliate sites.

I brainstorm and enter my main keyword and note down 5-8 keywords it throws up Then I plug them all in again one by one in GKP. Now, that I have multiple CSV files, I have thousands of keywords with low search volume that are just waiting to be dominated.

Then I just follow the inverted pyramid model and build articles on keywords having low search volumes.

This gives me enough foothold in the SERPs to build upon.

Open Link Profiler

It’s again a free tool to find backlinks of your competition.

If you don’t have Majestic or ahrefs subscription, use this as it’s quite good for a free tool and displays good information and has tons of filters.

SEO Quake

It’s a free toolbar available for Firefox and Chrome. SEO Quake reveals tons of info about your competition in the SERPs and is my top tool for doing niche/competition research.

Just enable it and browse the SERPs and get a bird’s eye view of the top sites in the SERPs.

I use it in conjunction with MozBar.

ALERT: Get Instant Access To My Personal List Of FREE Internet Marketing Tools

Philip Kleudgen

There are several free link building tools and paid tools I use for different purposes. Those who know me may have recognized that I’m all about viral marketing, that’s why SEO isn’t my first priority.

That doesn’t mean I don’t know the value of quality on-page SEO or backlinks, I’m just not involved in stuff like PBNs or automated link building for my main blog currently.

As far as I can tell there’s a proven structure I follow to gain new backlinks and traffic at the same time without additional effort. That’s where the tools come into play.

WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast

This free plugin helps you to get every single aspect of on-page SEO in place with ease. I like the breadcrumb function and also the ability to remove the “category” slug from URLs on my niche affiliate sites.

It also makes it easy to add unique meta tags in several places and disable or nofollow archive pages. There are other options that can help to verify different analytic codes like Google or Pinterest analytics.

If you have a video site there’s a nice paid add-on available to improve visibility in the SERPs even more.

For me, this plugin is a must-have SEO tool on every site I build. If you haven’t installed it already go and check it out.

Twitter

Because I follow a more social marketing approach my second SEO tool has to be Twitter. It’s the network I’m most active in on a daily basis and it makes any outreach process a breeze.

I use Twitter to connect with Influencers by favoring and retweeting their tweets regularly, do advanced keyword research and much more. You can also message people directly and 9 out of ten times get a response.

This has helped me to get hundreds of shares in no time and also backlinks from other bloggers who saw those shares. I’ve had shares from accounts like @seosmarty or @seo, for example.

Over time, I was invited to take part in roundup posts and gained natural backlinks from mentions in other blog articles. Definitely one of the most underutilized tools in my eyes and far more helpful than most website owners know.

Buzzbundle

Like Matt I use Buzzbundle every week to promote new and older articles on different social platforms. It automates a lot of my Twitter outreach too and makes my time spent a lot more efficient.

I especially love the fact that it tracks all my posts in some kind of timeline so I can see clearly what I did on any given day. There’s a free version of this tool and you can check out Matthews tutorial or the review I have on my site to learn more.

In summary, I want to make a point that no matter what tools you use outreach is the best way to success. Networking is key and will get you on track faster than you ever thought possible.

Josh Tasman

Building a network of backlinks is not a quick process. Well, it could be if you buy them, but that’s not a good idea. Google’s algorithms will notice if you have a huge surge in backlinks overnight and they’ll penalize you for it.

Never buy backlinks, instead just use these simple “tools” to improve your backlinks.

Guest blogging is one of the best ways to add backlinks to your site and improve your SEO.

Just reach out to other bloggers in your niche and ask them if you could write a guest post for them in return for a backlink.

That helps them out, because it adds one more fresh blog post to their site and it helps you out by providing a backlink (and likely increasing your viewership).

Get active on social media and forums.

Every forum and social media website offers you the ability to store a website or blog on your profile or in your signature, so if you’re active more people will see those links and click them which helps Google know their valid backlinks.

That not only helps your SEO, but it also helps you build relationships with other people in your niche.

Create custom made graphics for your site and submit them to Pinterest. Pinterest is one of the most widely used social networks around, which can equate to lot of backlinks if you submit your graphics to it.

When I started using this strategy, my Pinterest views jumped 70% in about a week. It’s crazy how useful Pinterest can be for generating backlinks!

If you do start creating your own graphics to use on your site, make sure they are eye catching. In other words, make sure someone would actually want to click on it.

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to backlinks and SEO, but if you leverage the above methods, I guarantee you’ll see results!

Nathan Thomas

SEMrush, Google keyword planner/Market Samurai and GSA.

I love SEMrush mostly for looking into competitor keywords to see what kind of content and keywords are ranking, how much traffic they’re getting from it and analyzing if it is something I can easily “steal” away from them.

Often times I will find someone ranking for a lot of keywords and topics that I never even thought to target. When I first discovered SEMrush, It allowed me to triple my search engine traffic within 60 days just by having better content, and on page optimization.

I like things that are easy, and when it comes to SEO, I like finding relevant, profitable traffic and ranking a site, blog post, or article the easiest way possible. This tool allows me to do that.

Another SEO tool I can’t live without is Market Samurai, though one could argue that you can get by on just using the Google Keyword Planner, which is true I suppose. I’m a bit biased though since Market Samurai was the first keyword research tool I ever bought.

Easy competition analysis, expected traffic and traffic value makes it a very useful tool for me. It’s not going to help you find any additional keywords than what you find in Google’s Keyword Planner, but it does automate the process for you when analyzing some important competitive stats.

When you start out, it seems you have more time than money but once you get going you definitely have more money than time, and that’s where the benefits of automation come to play.

To be honest, I have never been big on backlinking but have always used link pushing and tiered links as part of my strategy for hard to rank properties.

Most of my clients are in the local SEO arena, and it’s a slightly different game, most sites can be ranked with little to no backlinking, even in extremely large cities.

Back in the day I liked doing a bunch of link wheels and using SEnuke and while I guess the software still serves a specific purpose, it’s hard to mention tiered links and not have GSA in the same sentence.

Combine GSA with Kontent Machine and you have quite the 1-2 combo for tier 2 properties.

I also love GSA because it’s not just for tier 2 blasting.

I’ve been able to build really great, high quality and relevant backlinks for tier 1 properties.

Mandy McEwen

1.Raven Tools – By far my favorite all-in-one tool I use almost daily. Raven Tools is well worth the $99 a month as it provides invaluable resources for my firm, Mod Girl Marketing.

In terms of link building, Raven Tools has numerous features.

Raven is great for competitive link building research. By using Raven’s “Backlink Explorer” function, you can run a “fresh index” of a competitor’s website URL to see what links they have been acquiring over the last few months.

It also lets you sort by the source, citation flow, date, anchor text, nofollow, or image link. It also has a search bar so you can type in keywords to pull up particular links.

If you want to view a URL’s historic link history, you simply check the “historic index” box.

There are lots of other tools within Raven that are helpful for link building and all around digital marketing.

For example, you can also use Raven’s “Link Manager” to monitor your links. You can turn on link monitoring to get alerted when your links change. It also shows you screenshots of your links, which is nice for reporting.

Raven is my #1 SEO and link building tool.

2. Google Webmaster Tools – I use GWT to help with various SEO tasks including link building. By looking at the “links to your site” tab, you can view sites that link to yours, how often they link to you, and the pages of yours that are linked the most.

You can also view the anchor texts used to link to your site.This feature plus by looking at the “search queries” tab, you can see how people are linking to your pages and how they are finding your pages.

Take a look at the keywords being used and make a list of ones you see as being the best “buyer keywords” and make sure you have those included within your inbound marketing campaigns.

You can also make a list of great keywords and run them through the Google Keyword Planner and find even more related keywords and view search volume.

Choose the best keywords and use them when creating your inbound marketing campaigns.

3. Ahrefs.com – For a quick, no-need-to-login analysis, Ahrefs is a great solution. I use their free account version when I’m wanting to view various factors of a URL, and quickly. You don’t need an account to view the number of links, URL rank, domain rank, referring domains and more.

Personally, I like Ahrefs better than Moz’s Open Site Explorer.

Mikael Uusitalo

I like to keep my toolbox small and light. Meaning, I don’t need or use that many tools on a daily basis. I rather master the complete ins and outs of a few ones than being an average of many of them.

As of now I mostly use these ones:

Ahrefs – There is an ongoing battle between the link indexes everyone claiming to have the largest index. I on the other hand just keep an eye of the round figure in terms of number of links and URL’s and stick with the one that seem to perform well.

I jumped onto the Ahrefs wagon a long time and I yet to find a reason to move. I mainly use Ahrefs for two reasons, link profiling for clients, their need and potential issues, and link building, gaining the same links as any competitors, for both clients and my own projects.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider – Screaming Frog is the tool every SEO needs to have in their arsenal. If you are like me, working with clients, it really is the Swiss Army Knife of on-page analysis and evaluation.

Whenever you get in on a new project or finish one up you should use Screaming Frog to verify that your on-page is on par.

URL Profiler – With solid off-page and on-page capabilities out of the way it’s time to tie the disciplines together, enter URL Profiler.

This tool adds another layer of data from additional services and extends my capabilities to perform link- profiling and prospecting, outreach, and on-page analysis even further.

Some highlights:

Content wise I can import and run analysis data from Screaming Frog and apply data from different services to for example, assess the amount of dupe or thin content through Copyscape, while at the same while comparing the same URL’s with data from Google Analytics.

Off-page wise I have the ability to add even more link data from other link indexes, import social shares, classify content types and topic for easy categorization and scrape contact information easily for expedited outreach.

For the anyone building a PBN there is also a set of great tools to extract valuable information on the domain you plan to buy to verify the quality of said domains, including drop history, WHOIS and Archive.org data.

Darren DeMatas

I am always evaluating my SEO toolbox and I am constantly switching out tools as my business evolves. It seems like every other week a new tool is launched or an established company updates their SEO software.

This is the reason I only do monthly subscription, not annual.

Right now, I am currently using 4 tools: Ahrefs, Buzzsumo, BuzzStream and SEMRush.

All of them are “critical” to my daily workflow. Here is a breakdown of my top 3 tools, in the order that are most important to my business.

My first go-to SEO tool is BuzzStream.

I love BuzzStream because of its flexibility and customization. You can pretty much make it do anything from a CRM point of view. BuzzStream is a critical tool for me to scale content promotion and email outreach. At the end of the day, it is people that create links to sites.

Building relationships with other site owners is the most important thing to my business. When you can add value to another online business, the links will start to flow. BuzzStream is powerful, but it can be easily misused.

Don’t treat it as a link begging tool and you’ll be better off.

Buzzsumo is one of those tools that kind of popped up from nowhere and is getting a lot of traction with SEO’s and content marketers. I use Buzzsumo for two main purposes.

The first is to help me identify sharable, linkable content by topic. This helps me create content that people will love. As Rand pointed out, social sharing is a critical aspect of increasing reach, which can indirectly result in links.

The second purpose is to find influencers that will be interested in my content. Oftentimes, I will export influencers from Buzzsumo into Buzzstream and then conduct outreach from there.

In most cases, people are happy to get a heads up on something I just published because they are really interested in the topic of my content.

Every SEO needs a backlink analysis tool. None of them will be able to find every backlink on the web, but after testing several tools, Ahrefs is my go-to. It is super easy to use and they are constantly making their product better.

I stand behind any company that continues to innovate. I am constantly evaluating sites within my niche to see which ones are getting links. The next step is to figure out why they are getting links and what I can do to adapt their strategies to my websites.

Jon Dykstra

1. Google Keyword Planner

2. Ubersuggest.org

3. Hittail

My SEO focus these days is keyword selection primarily seeking out long tail keywords. I don’t actively build links. Instead I publish plenty of content targeting long tail keywords and promote that content across each niche’s growing social media channels.

This strategy has worked very, very well for me over the past year.

For example, I launched one blog in February 2014 and within 12 months, hit 180,000 monthly organic search sessions without actively building links and publishing decent content targeting long tail keywords.

Here’s a screenshot revealing the organic search traffic for the past 30 days:

Organic SEO Traffic Woodward Jan 26-2015

The 3 SEO tools listed above are what I currently use for keyword research. Each serves a purpose.

Ubersuggest.org is very good at helping me find new topics and very long tail keywords.

Google Keyword Planner I use to check search volume as well as to find keywords.

Hittail suggests long tail keywords based on current organic search traffic (it does a good job at finding some gems based on existing traffic).

Ashley Faulkes

I think it makes sense to start at the beginning when it comes to SEO, and that is with keywords. Without the right keyword research, the rest of your SEO is wasted.

I use a combination of Google Keyword Planner (for the basic volume and idea research) and SEMRush for further ideas and competition research (to show me what I might have missed).

It is not always an easy task to find keywords that you can rank for, so having multiple ways to do this helps you reach your goal.

For example, it might be that you are in a crowded niche and untouched keywords are hard to find. But when you look at a competitor in SEMRush you find that they rank for a term you had never even thought of.

And in many cases these words never come up in simple keyword tools. So SEMRush has helped me uncover many hidden gems in SEO.

No SEO is complete without a link analysis tool, and I love using Majestic for a number of reasons.

They have their own metric (Trust Flow) which is one of the few ways we have of knowing how well ranked a site could be (the other is Domain Authority from Moz). Especially since Google has not updated PageRank for so long.

The other area I love is their huge backlink index. It allows you to see a website’s links in detail which is useful for a whole bunch of reasons.

I use it to monitor anchor text ratios, which is crucial for keeping Google happy (no more over-optimizations please) as well as exploring mine/my clients links and those of competitors.

This is also a great way of uncovering lots of new and unheard of link building opportunities.

There are also lots of other ways Majestic (and tools like it) can help you with SEO. They break down which pages have the best links and from where.

They also show you what new links are coming into a site (so new link ideas to watch out for) as well as where you have lost links recently. All in all, such a tool is an absolute must.

Christoph Engelhardt

Twitter

I’m trying to build good links to my website and that means I need to reach out and build relations to influencers in my niche. Twitter is just ideal for that: You can enter just about any conversation and over time build a relationship to people.

My friend Paul Shapiro has recently shown me an interesting way to target influencers, that I am currently trying out: http://searchwilderness.com/get-followers-on-twitter/

KingSumo Giveaways

This has got to be a total outlier among the tools mentioned here. This plugin for WordPress lets you set up giveaways very easily.

The unique thing is that the contest is very viral: When you enter the contest you get one entry in the contest and a „lucky URL“.

Now if you share that lucky URL with your audience and other people sign up, you will get three (3!) additional entries per sign up.

You know how in normal giveaways it’s a bad idea to tell others about the contest, because it dilutes your chances of winning the prizes? It’s the exact opposite here!

You need to share your lucky URL with people and get them to sign up or else you stand no chance of winning.

This build in virality makes sure you get a lot of links back to your website.

My friend Josh was able to grow his email list by almost 200,000 – and get a bunch of links – just using this plugin.

Tip: Sign up to Josh’s newsletter and receive a 50% discount for the KingSumo giveaway: http://joshuaearl.com/kingsumogiveaways/

Google Webmaster Tools

OK. At first I wanted to add my own tool to this list, but that’s lame – right? Right!

So no of this self-promotional bullshit. Instead, I’m going with the obvious answer. So obvious in fact, that it is often overlooked. But if you get any meaningful traffic from Google, you absolutely need to set this up.

First of all, if Google considers your site to be „spammy“ they’ll let you know through Google Webmaster Tools.

Secondly, Webmaster Tools is the only place where Google gives you a guesstimate of your search engine rankings. Hey… it’s something.

Lastly, there are a number of other helpful tools like submitting a sitemap or structured data viewer here, that are well worth exploring.

Pro-Tip: If your site runs on HTTPS, set it up accordingly in GWT. Believe me, it’s easy to get this wrong when you are too hasty…

Dustin Woodard

I’ve been exposed to a lot of tools during my 17-year career in SEO.

Before I share my 3 must-have tools, I’d like to mention that my least favorite tools are page-grading tools that try to dumb down SEO by assigning a score to pages on your site & providing “fixes”.

If you are relying on tools like this to drive your SEO efforts, you are likely operating at an amateur level.

Here are 3 critical tools for my SEO consulting business:

1) Google Webmaster Tools – Nearly a decade ago, Google brought me in for user testing on GWT and there wasn’t much reason to use it. That has changed dramatically.

Whether I’m studying crawling issues, duplicate content issues, keyword data, internal or external link data, or search impressions, having access to my client’s Google Webmaster Tools is critical.

2) Basecamp – communication is key for most consulting arrangements. I give my clients free reign to ask me questions anytime they want as often as they like.

Basecamp allows me to communicate with individuals or with a group in a much more reliable manner then email.

We can share files, assign to-dos, and keep track of our evolving strategies and conversations.

3) Crawling tools – It’s is very valuable to crawl sites like search engines do. For heavy-duty crawling, I prefer to use Screaming Frog.

If your crawling needs are a little lighter or the interface is too daunting, Moz’s crawler might fit your needs.

I’m always on the look out for improper redirects, dynamic URL issues, poorly optimized title tags or meta descriptions, coding mistakes, and crawling issues.

No tool or platform is a replacement for SEO expertise. There is much more to SEO then a narrow focus on technical aspects.

Knowing what to do with the information tools provide, plus digging into aspects a tool could never provide, is what separates highly successful SEO results from mediocre results.

Dom Wells

I use loads of different tools, but knowing which 3 are critical is tricky. Sometimes we use tools only for a short time, like once a month, but the work it does is essential.

Other tools I might use on a daily basis, but I could probably make do without.

So based on a mixture of the importance that they play in my website/business’s success, and the frequency that I use them, here are my 3 most critical tools.

1.) WordPress.

Don’t laugh! WordPress is essential to my SEO needs. A lot of people don’t realize just how much easier SEO is when your sites are built on WordPress. There are some basic mechanics and coding practices that you don’t even have to pay attention to thanks to WP.

Matt Cutts said years ago how much of an advantage WordPress gives you, and I couldn’t agree more.

You can type up a post, fill out a few boxes and the title, hit publish, and Google will be able to find your post, read it, and know what it’s about pretty much right off the bat.

I don’t think I’d know where to start with meta titles and things like that if I was building a site in HTML.

2.) A Keyword Tool.

No one tool is necessarily more critical than the other. I’ve used multiple over the years to great success. I currently swear-by Long-Tail Pro, but Market Samurai and others are fine too. What’s critical is that there is SOME keyword research being done.

People will tell you that keywords are or aren’t everything (depending on how they do things), but when it comes to SEO, I don’t know how you can do it without at least a foundation built on keywords.

Even if you’re writing the posts first and then finding a keyword that fits, you’ll still be getting a lot more traffic and better SEO results when using a well researched keyword.

On a personal business note, since I sell ready-made and custom-built niche websites, I wouldn’t get very far if I didn’t have a good keyword tool!

3.) Open Site Explorer.

As the first two tools I’ve listed are SEO based, I’ve picked out a link building tool for the final one. Out of all the link checking tools, OSE is the one I use the most. Majestic and AHRefs are for deeper analysis, but I find I’m always going to OSE first.

Whether I’m checking out a competitor’s link profile, investigating an expired domain, preparing a skyscraper post, or whatever the need, I probably use Moz’s tool on a daily basis.

Plus, if you rearrange the letters of OSE, you can get SEO, which is always a good sign.

Joking aside, no real link building campaign will get very far without at least one visit to OSE per day, which is why it makes my list.

Sante J. Achille

Link building is a mix between art and science, a hybrid activity, difficult to immagine and conceive at the very outset with an unpredictable outcome.

The paradigm shifts in Search Engine technology have profoundly changed the way links are perceived amongst the more illuminated search professionals: a signal of trust and cooperation, a source of quality traffic of a trusted source as opposed to a beam of energy to boost rankings.

With billions of pages and trillions of links on the web, finding an answer to the question which SEO/Link Building Tools are critical to your businesses success & how do you best use them is complex to say the least.

Software tools are only as good as the hand (and the head) of the user: experience, good judgement and painstaking work are the ingredients to success. The SEO world is a colorful arena populated with an ever increasing array of tools with slick interfaces offering tons of data leaving us with the arduous task of interpretation.

I am not a software tool freak, there are less than a handful of tools in my SEO Tool bag and there are many reasons for that – maybe we can address this in another Q&A.

Now to what I use for Link Building in my SEO Efforts. Majestic, the Marketing Search Engine and SEO Backlink Checker.

Majestic is your best bet to reaching a qualified Clique of websites for you to quickly identify and evaluate as potential link building prospects.

A completely independent platform of tools built to fit the needs of professionals in a number of fields (not only SEO), Majestic offers 3 key elements to SEOs and professionals in Search Advertising and Social Media:

– Trust Flow

– Citation Flow

– Topical Trust Flow

Start your link building efforts by creating a short list of 10 neighboring categories. With the Majestic Search Explorer you can research and create a list of quality websites. Each website can be analysed and ranked in light of their Trust Flow, Citation Flow and Topical Trust Flow, down to page level.

Sounds complicated? It’s not “Trust” me ;)

More info at www.majestic.com

Tommy Landry

As an SEO by trade, I’ve used a number of SEO tools in the past. Most of them are focused on analysis and interpretation.

While I’ve tested true “link building” tools like GSA Search Engine Ranker and others, those methods come with too much risk.

Along that line of thinking, let’s focus on the key tools I find myself turning to most frequently.

Bing and Google Webmaster Tools
When I first started out consulting for search engine optimization, my business was bootstrapped very tightly.

We didn’t have the money to invest in monthly SaaS fees for analysis tools. Instead, we made up for it by leaning on the search engines themselves by way of their standard webmaster tools offering.

These tools cover most of what you need for the basics, from on-page audits to link analysis to page load time and crawl errors. Sure, it takes some work to extract the information you need and format it for presentation, but it was worth it for the rock bottom price of free.

Raven Internet Marketing Tools
Once the business reached a decent run rate, I immediately adopted Raven for all members of my SEO team. Raven connects to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to pull in all of the data available in those platforms.

But even better, Raven can API over to your social media accounts, your blog, Majestic (for link analysis), Moz (for standard metrics like MozRank and Citation Flow), and quality keyword research platforms.

For a $249 monthly investment, you get access to a wealth of information that saves a great deal of time an effort as compared to manually assembling data from the various platforms they partner with.

Market Samurai
I originally adopted Market Samurai on behalf of an employer several years ago, and it remains one of the best tools in my arsenal.

Although my primary uses for Samurai are keyword research and SERP competitive analysis, they also provide features for rank tracking, content publishing, and promotion.

For a one-time license that lasts in perpetuity, Samurai is one of the better values among the SEO Tools on the market.

Pavlos Giorkas

The first tool – if I can call it a tool – for me is fiverr.com

You can find many vendors there who use top quality methods to produce quality PR 8 & PR 9 links manually for 5 bucks only.

No hassle, time-saving method. I produce links through this method to the different blogs I operate once per month. This way I get to look more ”natural” to Google’s eyes.

Since I stated using this ”tool” I’ve seen my content to overthrow other top 10 place holders many times.

The second tool I use is SEMRush.

With SemRush I am able to monitor my competitors and actually understand where do they get their backlinks from, what websites connect with them, from which keywords they receive their traffic from and a ton of other features that help me understand my competitors better.

Competition is a good thing. It makes you want to become better and better. That is why I always choose 2 – 3 competitors from the niche I operate in, (that have slightly better stats than mine) and I try to become better than them.

Sometimes I am not able to achieve it but the adrenaline generated and the increase you bring to your websites stats, simply worth every minute you spend.

The third tool is called Long Tail Pro. Long tail pro was build by Spencer Haws – an SEO Professional – who made a lot of money through niche sites.

This tool is essential for my online niche website building business because It let me choose which niche to ”invest” my time,with – literally – lightning speed and hellish accuracy.

Apart from that, Long Tail Pro has a number of other features that make my life a lot easier that simply I will not going to analyze here. Just remember that speed is a better motivator that anything else around you.

Jonathan Tavarez

Majestic SEO – With this tool, we’re able to keep an eye on our link building progress as well as that of competitors.

This tool and those like it are essential in getting an idea of what Google is indexing as a link and the power behind that link.

I can easily compare the top competitors, their backlink profiles, identify link opportunities, and more. An alternative to this is Ahrefs which some people prefer. I tend to use both whenever possible for two reference points.

Screaming Frog – It is common knowledge that SEO is a combination of on-page optimization (context, topic, performance) and off-page optimization (link building, citations, mentions, social).

This tool is perfect for on-page SEO which can be done manually, but who wants to do that?

If you have a decent sized site, nothing beats that speed of Screaming Frog. With this software, we’re able to spot any red flags in the fastest amount of time. Time saved is money earned!

Scrapebox – This tool has stood the test of time. If I ever need to scrape Google for possible link building opportunities or content creation ideas, Scrapebox delivers. It’s best to use private proxies for higher success rates.

Several other good reasons to use this tool is for an additional source of competitive analysis, local seo citations building, and even market research.

Competitive analysis can be done with the Backlink Checker add-on. You simply load the sites you want to pull backlinks from and WAH LAH!

Do you do local SEO? Well, with Scrapebox you can find your competitors citation sources with little to no effort. Just add their NAP and harvest!

Probably the most underrated reason to use Scrapebox is market research. You can easily find communities/websites where your topic is being discussed for either an opportunity to A) Chime in and/or B) Connect with influencers.

Gerald Weber

The 3 link building tools that are critical to success as it applies to link building are SEMRush, Majestic SEO and Moz.

While there are many different applications for SEMRush the specific way I use this as it applies to link building is to identify organic search traffic trends of a particular domain.

While metrics like Domain Authority and Majestic’s metrics such as trust and citation flow can give you some idea as to the authority/quality of a domain, SEMRush can tell a story that isn’t always apparent with other metrics.

The idea here is if you see a sharp delcine or a complete drop off of organic search traffic then it’s probably a safe bet that the domain has fallen out of favor with Big G and therefore a link from that web property is not likely to help you very much regardless of other domain metrics.

Next up is Majestic SEO. With the death of PageRank as we know it trust and authority metrics are more important than ever before. This brings us to one of the common reason I use Majestic SEO for trust and citation flow metrics.

These two metrics are both great metrics I use when sizing up links targets. I also use Majestic SEO to do competitive backlink analysis and also to take a look at the backlink profiles of prospective link targets.

Lastly but certainly not least on the list is Moz. I most frequently use Moz for domain authority and page authority metrics when Identifying links targets. lastly I use Moz’s open site explorer to do competitive backlinks analysis.”

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it – the experts have spoken!

Here are the top link building tools as recommended by the experts above ranked by order of votes-

The Best Link Building Tools For SEO (as voted by 29 experts!)

  1. SEMRush – 8 votes
  2. Google Webmaster Tools – 7 votes
  3. Majestic SEO – 7 votes

Other mentions:

What are your favourite SEO & link building tools? Let me know below in the comments!

41 Responses

  1. 3.27.2015

    Excellent round-up. Not just because we were included but this list of wonderful people I follow and respect is a keeper. Bookmarking this and of course sharing! Again, thanks for the inclusion, it was fun!

  2. 4.2.2015

    Hi Matt. Nice post! Btw,
    Please check on the “Patrick Commbe” section for double post.

  3. 4.15.2015

    Great roundup Matt!
    It’s interesting to check which SEO/Link Building Tools these experts are using and it’s good to have alternatives.

    Thanks for including me, tweeting right now.

  4. Josh
    4.21.2015

    Thank you for another super useful post!

    Most of the tools are well known, but some are great surprise, like pbnlab.com – which isn’t working now by the way! I can add some tools for searching expired domains for your PBN – I usually use registercompass, domainsrforever.com and expireddomains.net.

    And I’m glad to see SemRush on the top places – well deserved!

  5. Balqis
    4.26.2015

    Great seo techniques.
    Thanks andmin I learn seo through your website.
    send regards for success.

  6. Richard
    5.21.2015

    Great SEO info as usual your website. Thanks for sharing

  7. 6.21.2015

    Excellent roundup.

    p.s. Just featured this article in my latest article on link building – http://wooguru.net/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-ecommerce-link-building/ under “More resources”

  8. 7.7.2015

    Hi Matthew!
    Please save me from this confusion !
    My language is Farsi/Persian and not English,
    1st: Is it any good if i make backlinks in English websites (socials, bookmarkings, articles etc.) or not?
    2nd: if yes, should i use English keywords, titles etc. while building backlinks? for sure non-Farsi visit isn’t good for me.
    3rd: if not, then what method would u recommend me to build backlinks?
    Of course backlinking in non-English websites is harder, for instance here we ALMOST don’t have a good article directory websites.
    Thank you

  9. John Woodman
    7.10.2015

    Thanks for sharing this info. Interesting stuff and I know a few people who would love to give this the once over – I’ll forward the link to them. Great work.

  10. BundleSEO
    7.11.2015

    Great post ,
    I’ve used a number of these techniques & SEO tools and I can say first hand, they work very well.
    One thing that you failed to mention in here is the how high quality of content needs to be. You’ll never make it to the first page of authoritative websites with anything less than amazing content. Your content promotion strategy post f****** rocked – that makes content promotion much easier.
    Most marketers fail in their inability to create great content, and so consistently for a long period of time.
    This is why I disagree spammy method – I hate that it’s become a quasi buzzword in our industry.
    Every halfway decent SEO knows they’ve got to create content to be successful. The days of ranking a home page for “best b**** pills in the world” are over. You’ve got to have substantial content on your site that builds authority, sharing, links and trust to get substantial organic traffic.
    Because they know this, they’re pumping out a ton of regurgitated content. They use this skyscraper technique to redo content that doesn’t need to be redone. It’s jamming up the internet with garbage.
    It’s an incredible skill to be able to communicate more value in less words. People are now creating less value in less words. All in an attempt to gain traffic.
    Traffic is great, but who gives a s*** if that traffic doesn’t convert. Only great content converts – it’s what separates the great from the mediocre.
    Don’t copy other people’s works and try and make it better. Be original. Share something new. Compete. Add value. F***, do anything but waste your time (and everyone else’s) creating s***.
    I’ll get off my soap box.
    I wanted to share a post I did about SEO. It’s a guide about A UNIVERSAL SEO STRATEGY AUDIT IN 5 STEPS. Just like your content, I hold nothing back. Everything I do from a – z is included in it.
    If you get a couples minutes, check it out. I respect your opinion – feedback is always appreciated.
    You can check it out here: http://bundleseo.com/2015/03/30/a-universal-seo-strategy-audit-in-5-steps/

  11. Hieronymus Franck
    9.14.2015

    This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. The article is nice and it’s pleasant to read. I have known very important things over here especially this building tool tips and these are really very helpful.

  12. 1.27.2016

    Great roundup, Matt!
    Actually, when I read your sentence: “The SEO game is a marathon, not a sprint, ” I said to myself that’s really really true!!
    In my view, SEM Rush is by far the best I’ve come across.
    Thank for sharing.

    • January 27th, 2016 at 11:57 am

      It is true indeed :) Although you can sprint if you want!

  13. 3.1.2016

    I am using semrush for keyword research and planning to use scrapebox for link building.. looking forward to use your guide ” A Practical Guide To Scrapebox Step By Step”

    • March 1st, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      No problem Vishal please let me know if you get stuck anywhere :)

  14. nandu web
    4.15.2016

    Nice post,Great SEO techniqes..Thanks for sharing this information!

  15. krishnaweb
    4.15.2016

    Links for SEO tools:

    1. Majestic SEO
    2. Open Site Explorer
    3. Raven Tools
    4. Ahrefs
    5. Link Research Tools
    6. SEOMoz PRO
    7. MozBar
    8. Ontolo
    9. Market Samurai
    10. Tout
    11. BuzzStream
    12. WhoLinkstoMe
    13. Wordtracker’s Link Builder
    14. Advanced Link Manager
    15. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

  16. krishnaweb
    4.15.2016

    Great post.Thanks for Sharing this info.

  17. 7.25.2016

    Hey Matthew, i always enjoy your post, thnks for this very useful tools, i love SEMRush :)

  18. 8.9.2016

    Wow… That was something super-actionable. Great post!

  19. Gareth
    9.28.2016

    Hey Matthew

    Valuable & Helpful – many thanks

    Also love to see a breakdown or blog of how this was accomplished –

    “For example, one blogger got 180,000 monthly organic search sessions without actively building links, solely through keyword research”

    Thanks
    G

  20. locwik
    11.12.2016

    Hi Matthew,
    Very useful information. Is there any place to receive newsletter from this blog.

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