12 Great Link Building Tools That Are Essential To Your Success

 Link-building strategies have certainly changed over the years.

Also, have the SEO tools we use.

Since the old automated link-building tools with which comments such as KontentMachine or GSA's search engine ranker were automatically placed, modern tools have switched to manual research and contact platforms.

Tools that I and many of my link-building colleagues use today are more similar to those used for public relations (PR) than link building.

In fact, these are some of my favorite tools for PR.

However, there are still some specific link-building tools that go nowhere.

This list includes both PR tools that can be used for link building and link building-specific tools.

The tools available can be categorized into three areas:

  • Linking research tools.
  • Prospecting & Outreach Tools.
  • Reporting tools.

    Linking research tools

    I don't see research as the process of finding websites, but rather as the process of determining what type of websites you should be targeting.

    This means that you should set quality criteria, categories of websites, authority metrics, and others.

    Below are the two tools with the largest database of links and reliable reports.

    I've included both sites as I keep seeing each one has data that the other doesn't.

    You may find some links in Majestic to your competitors' websites that are not listed in Ahrefs, and vice versa.

    These tools can be used together to create a comprehensive list of websites to analyze.

    As with many SEO tools, the pricing has packages and depends on whether you are paying for the year or monthly.

    1. Majestic

    • Price: $ 79.99 / month with 1 user
    • Payment options: monthly or get discount for yearly

    I can play around in Majestic for days and just swim through the crowd of links.

    Here are some recommendations on how to use it and which reports should affect your link building.

    • Topics: This data can be used to identify the types of websites you should be generating links from. Consider running this report on the link profiles for the highest-ranking websites and then finding websites that fit into similar categories.
    • Referring Domains: Use this option to evaluate:
      • The number of unique domains that you should focus on creating for your site.
      • The distribution of the trust/citation flow (number of domains according to trust/citation flow).

    2. Ahrefs

    • Price: $ 99 / month with just 1 user
    • Payment options: monthly or get discount for yearly

    Unlike Majestic, Ahrefs has some reports that are much easier to run in the tool.

    It certainly costs more, but if you want more data, Ahrefs is the place to go.

    Here are reports to use in Ahrefs over Majestic:

    • Pages> Best by Links: Two useful uses of this report are:
      • Identify the competitors' most frequently linked content to influence your content strategies.
      • Identify the type of websites that link to the content you are creating.
    • Pages> By Link Growth Best: This is a trending report showing content that has been generating links in the past 30 days. Here, look for content that gets a fast number of links and create content that is more robust.

    Prospecting & Outreach Tools

    Finding highly relevant websites pointing to your content is the most excruciating part of link building.

    You can create a large list of websites and bulk contacts to save time. However, when evaluating your link building success, the following applies:
    • Link gained per hour.
    • The quality of these links.
    Then it is best to do the prospecting manually or semi-automatically.

    The tools listed below can be used for the most popular link-building strategies.

    3. Broken Link Builder from Citation Labs

    • Pricing: Starts at $ 67 / month
    • Strategies: Broken Link Building
    • Application: prospecting
    This tool is worth mentioning on the prospecting list as it can reduce the time it takes to find broken links.

    The Opportunities report provides a list of broken links and the websites that point to those links.

    For tactical advice on how to use this data, see my SEJ article on Broken Link Building.

    4. Pitch box

    • Price: $ 99- $ 1,500 + / month
    • Strategies: blogger reach, influencer reach, online PR
    • Application: prospecting, public relations
    Pitchbox is certainly one of the most expensive tools out there when compared to email tools like MailChimp, but the built-in prospecting is helpful in reducing website qualification time.

    Without a few key features, it would really be a glorified email system:

    • List builder for potential websites
    • SEO metrics integrated directly into the opportunities report

    pitchbox homepage

    5. BuzzSumo

    • Price: $ 99- $ 499 + / month
    • Strategies: blogger reach, influencer reach
    • Application: prospecting
    What a great tool for creating lists of blogs, influencers, and authors!

    Of all the search tools on the list, BuzzSumo has the best filtering options.

    You can use the tool for many purposes, but for link building, these are two effective use cases:
    • Identifying Authors: The content research and influencers section contains lists of authors/influencers that can be searched for keywords in the content they have released or produced. A fantastic use case for this is searching through the "most shared" report and finding influencers who have received more than 2,000 shares of their content and reaching out to that content to share yours. This can result in many natural compounds.
    • Identify sharers/backlinks: The second use case goes one level deeper than the first and finds those who shared the content. Drag a list of shares or backlinking sites by content and create similar but better content.
    buzzsumo site

    6. Ontolo

    • Price: $ 97- $ 297 + / month
    • Strategies: blogger reach, influencer reach, directories, blog roles, resource linking
    • Application: prospecting
    ontolo homepage

    If you are a technical link builder, Ontolo might be your tool of choice.

    It certainly doesn't have BuzzSumo's easy-to-use setup, but its robust features make up for it.

    7. BrightLocal

    • Price: $ 3 / location or $ 2 / page volume
    • Strategies: Local Quotes
    • Application: prospecting, public relations, citations
    Creating quotes is important for local search engine optimization and should be viewed as a link-building project.

    One of the best value tools for submitting and managing citations is BrightLocal.

    BrightLocal consists of two components: citation monitoring and citation creation.

    brightlocal site homepage

    8. Link-assistant

    • Price: $ 124- $ 299 / year
    • Strategies: blogger reach, influencer reach, directories, blog roles, resource linking
    • Application: prospecting, public relations
    This deceptively simple tool is part of the SEO Power Suite and offers some surprises in the search function.

    I'm not going to talk to the older tactics the Link-Assistant can be used for (e.g. forum linking), but the guest posts, freebies, and link pages (resource pages) can make a large, unfiltered list for you to search through.

    While filtering through the list of websites in one of the potential lists, you can create a custom email for each website.

    Link-assistant website

    9. Muck rack

    • Pricing: Starting at $ 2,000 / year
    • Strategies: influencer outreach, online PR
    • Application: prospecting, public relations
    Unlike the other tools, link building is a by-product of your campaign with Muck Rack.

    Here you can find journalists for main or niche publications.

    Don't expect to use standard link-building tactics to gain placements here as this is a real online PR game.

    Link building is moving towards influencer outreach and online PR, so PR tools should be on this list.

    muck rack site

    Reporting tools

    Although many of the tools have reporting capabilities built into them in the previous section, all of them lack custom reporting or the ability to link links to ranking performance.

    10. Google Sheets

    • Pricing:  free
    • Strategies: influencer outreach, online PR, quotes, directories, et al.
    You can't expect this publicly available tool to appear in a list for link building. However, the ability to fully customize your reports means it can be used for almost any report.

    google sheets

    One simple report that you can generate is a link detection and quality report to begin with.

    Add the following columns to the sheet:

    • General fields
    • Acquisition date
    • Link Details
    • domain
    • Placement URL (side of the link)
    • Anchor text
    • Page title
    • Destination URL (which page on your website the link points to)
    • Link domain metrics
    • Domain Authority (Moz)
    • Page Authority (Moz)
    • Linking domains (Ahrefs linking domains that point to the page your link is on)
    • Total number of links (Ahrefs links pointing to the page your link is on)
    • Spam Score (Moz)

    11. Agency Analytics

    • Prices: $ 49- $ 499 / month
    • Strategies: influencer outreach, online PR, quotes, directories, et al.
    Agency Analytics automatically populates the dashboard with data from Moz and Majestic and combines this data with critical performance metrics such as ranking and organic traffic.

    Qualified traffic that is converted into leads or sales is the purpose of our link building and SEO efforts, so reporting needs to create a connection between them.
    Agency Analytics

    12. Cyfe

    • Price: $ 19 / user per month
    • Strategies: influencer outreach, online PR, quotes, directories
    This tool can be created as a hybrid between Google Sheets and Agency Analytics. This means that it is very customizable, but it can also automatically and easily aggregate data from multiple sources to produce a meaningful report.



    I curated this list with the intent to have a tool for every reader that offers affordable solutions and highly technical tools at the enterprise level.

    Most of all, though, I hope you find a link-building tactic tool here that best fits your approach.

    Additionally, I want you to realize the variety of tools available and that you need to choose the right one for the job.

    You don't need a $ 1,000 monthly tool budget to be a link builder, but they all take time.