The single biggest predictor if your website will rank well is how many other websites are linking to you. Link building may be one of the most crucial aspects of the digital marketing scene—even if you put out consistent high-quality content, it can be hard to find SEO traction without a solid backlink profile.
Building these backlinks requires what is called link prospecting, which is the process of reaching out to domains that may be interested in featuring or referencing your content. Sounds easy, right? But link prospecting can be surprisingly costly, both in terms of time and resources…which is why we have compiled a list of vital SEO tools to help beginners form a profitable and effective backlink strategy. If you’re not already allocating budget to SEO, these statistics may be convincing:
- 75% of users don’t even click past the first page!
- The first three organic search results get 60% of all traffic from a web search.
- Leads coming from a search have a 14.6% close rate, compared to just 1.7% from channels like print or direct mail advertising.
When a website features your work, they will often do so in the form of a link leading to your website, which builds exposure and increases your Google page ranking as well as your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) position.
The latest estimates predict that 80% of the sales cycle will happen in digital or remote settings by 2025, so hitting that first page is more important than ever!
The Most Popular Link Building Tools in 2022
Semrush is an industry-trusted source for link prospecting and is one of the most highly regarded SEO web services on the market. With 21 international awards and over 10 million marketing professionals using it regularly, it’s no surprise that 30% of Fortune 500 companies rely on SEMrush for their SEO strategies.
Semrush is a comprehensive resource for all functions of SEO, providing in-depth toolkits for research and content marketing. On top of that, its dedicated link building tool finds widespread use due to its user-friendliness and reliability.
By crawling data from millions of online sources, Semrush makes keyword research simple by pointing out transactional keywords versus high-intent keywords. As a digital marketing agency, we use Semrush for content planning, identifying keyword trends and so much more.
Their service also prioritizes sites with high domain authority, so you are more likely to see results that will provide quality backlinks to your own domain.
Semrush breaks link analysis down into three primary components:
- Keywords that match your domain
- Competitors within your content marketing space
- Mentions of your domain on other websites
That data is then laid out in a clear and concise fashion and sorted into columns where it can be easily read. With its powerful search tools and analytics, Semrush is the perfect choice to orient your outreach campaign and discover valuable link building opportunities.
And as an added bonus, Semrush also offers a free link building course through their Semrush Academy!
When searching for backlink opportunities, look no further than the world’s largest search engine. As the home of most of the web’s page-ranking algorithms, as well as most of the world’s search traffic, Google’s webpage index is the single largest in existence. Google’s index is home to just about every link prospect you need. You just need to know where (and how) to look.
Google’s search engine includes a feature known as Search Operators. These search operators serve to narrow down searches using filter commands included within the search itself. While you may be familiar with the use of quotation marks to search for specific terms (searching “link building tools” will only yield results for those specific words in that specific order), some of the more in-depth commands include:
- “inanchor:” which searches for hyperlinks using the specified anchor text
- “intitle:” which crawls title tags to search for webpage titles with the chosen term
- “source:” which searches for news results from certain sources in Google News
By using Search Operators, you can quickly and accurately scan SERPs for prospects directly related to your own webpage content. While not an SEO tool itself, Google is an extremely useful first step in aggregating prospects for your digital marketing campaign.
One of the main difficulties of link prospecting lies in finding contact information for the actual people behind the domains. It goes without saying that names, phone numbers, and email addresses are vital for establishing a fruitful interaction with your prospects—but the sheer manpower required to scan “contact us” and “about us” pages can bring your work to a screeching halt.
Hunter.io is a program designed to crawl email addresses associated with specific domains. Simply enter a valid domain into its form, and it will rapidly scrape a list of relevant emails found within its webpage index. These emails are then marked based on estimated authority, and the source from which they were pulled.
While Hunter.io’s index is fairly basic, the sheer number of links that can be cross-referenced using the site’s Google Sheets add-on more than makes up for any shortcomings. By laying out links discovered through services like SEMrush, you can quickly crawl them for matching emails in order to narrow down the focus of your outreach campaign.
Gathering emails is important, but verifying their usefulness is even more so. The success of your link building strategy hinges on your ability to reach the right people. If your emails are undeliverable, or “bounce,” then your work has gone entirely to waste.
In order to avoid the unnecessary tedium of manually verifying contact information, NeverBounce instead pings email addresses and sorts them into categories based on their responsiveness:
- Valid addresses, which are confirmed deliverable and active
- Invalid addresses, which are either outdated or inactive and offer little to no deliverability
- Disposable addresses, which have no deliverability and can be safely ignored
This information is then laid out in an easy-to-read format to allow quick pruning of your contact lists. Using this method, NeverBounce ensures that your content marketing is accurate, efficient, and most importantly, seen.
While conventional email services will be sufficient for a smaller outreach campaign, a wider-scale effort will necessitate a more streamlined system capable of handling and organizing a much larger number of emails.
Buzzstream acts as an information hub for your collected link prospects and allows you to build project folders to keep track of your work. The system provides important information about your links like email history, social media metrics, and domain authority. This transparency not only keeps your prospects organized but also helps to ensure trustworthiness by allowing you to focus on high-authority backlinks.
Buzzstream’s Buzzmarker extension is an exceptional link building tool. With one click, it can scrape the important contact information from a relevant website, providing options to add it to your campaign or even compose and send emails right from the toolbar.
HARO (or “Help A Reporter Out) is one of the most direct methods for building a powerful backlink profile. By becoming a source for the website, the service connects you with thousands of queries from interested journalists looking for links to build their stories. For SEO, the process for the website is straightforward:
- Journalists field source requests to the website
- Sources receive journalist requests via 3 emails throughout the day
- Sources pitch their webpage to journalists, who may use it to create their own content
- Journalists link or mention the source’s webpage, generating trust flow and exposure
The website also features an option to filter journalist queries by keywords, allowing you to narrow your search to the most relevant link building opportunities. This service also alerts you when these keywords appear in your inbox, ensuring you will not miss any prospecting opportunities.
While not as broad of an approach as a mass-email outreach, the links garnered through HARO are from trusted media professionals with wide reach and high domain authority. HARO requires diligence and consistent monitoring, but your reward is a slew of quality backlinks from journalists reaching out to audiences within your market.
7. URL Profiler
A key point of any SEO venture is learning about your prospects. While tools like Buzzstream have ways to view website metrics, none of them are quite as direct and thorough as URL Profiler.
By simply pasting a URL into the site’s engine and checking the boxes for your desired info, the service will immediately gather all information related to your search and lay it out in a neat and easily scannable format. This includes information like:
- SEMrush rank
- Google analytics
- Social media accounts
- IP address
URL Profiler can also use its readability feature to scrape author names from its list of URLs, which can do wonders to enhance prospects pulled from sites that lack their own metrics data. This extensive analysis makes URL Profiler an indispensable SEO tool for augmenting your prospect links and building a stronger contact list for your campaign.
Ahrefs is a leading figure in the SEO industry for one major reason: Content Explorer. Ahrefs’s proprietary web searching tool is powerful and accurate, pulling from over 9 billion websites and providing analytics like traffic value to help you prioritize your most profitable link building opportunities.
Content Explorer uses keywords to narrow searches based on your desired filters like publication date, number of backlinks, and publication language. The pulled searches can then be compiled into your list of link prospects and exported from Content Explorer into websites like Google Sheets for easy reference.
Content Explorer is a great tool for research as well as finding pages in need of new material. By narrowing your search to pinpoint domains lacking up-to-date publications, you can tailor your outreach to pitch them your own work, or find great opportunities to guest-post and generate even more links to your website.
Plus, they have an epic video series on how to utilize their tool for link building. You can also watch this series and use other tools too (in case you already have subscriptions with other tools).
Start Link Building With Confidence!
At Ellison Ellery, we understand the importance of standing out in a competitive market. The tools included in this article can not only increase the number of prospects gathered, but they can also minimize wasted effort by rooting out obstacles like undeliverable mail and dead links.
By maximizing your backlink generation using link building tools, your website should be rewarded with better rankings, and more qualified traffic, which should translate into more revenue for your business.
So don’t let link building overwhelm you. Schedule your free marketing assessment with Ellison Ellery and start building your SEO strategy today!
68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and more than half of all website traffic comes from organic searches. This is especially true for the B2B industry, considering the extensive research effort buyers go through before making a purchasing decision.
Link building, like all facets of SEO, is hard work… but if you do it right, your time and energy are more than worth it!