Gone are the days of a clever outreach email or statistics article to win a good backlink.
It’s a tough time for SEOs and link builders.
From cold outreach to submitting quotes, it’s time-consuming and competitive. Everyone seems to be using the same tools and strategies to win links, making it incredibly difficult to stand out.
But this is exactly what Google wants. To win competitive links you need to offer real value, be genuine in your approach, and differentiate yourself from SEOs with the wrong intentions.
So with that in mind, I’m going to share my favorite link-building tools that have helped me find relevant opportunities, uncover decision-makers, and ultimately win more links.
1. Semrush Link Building Tool
The Semrush link-building tool is one of the handiest features in the product suite. It allows link builders to bulk analyze competitors’ URLs and uncover backlink opportunities. The built-in workflow tool even allows you to tag, segment, and send outreach emails to win relevant links. The best part is that you can get started for free, there’s no need to subscribe to a paid plan to start exploring.
Three features that make the Semrush Link Building tool awesome
- Connects with your email service provider so you can run outreach campaigns in the app.
- The workflow allows you to actively track and manage your backlink opportunities.
- Provides a list of all the backlink prospects related to your target keyword and competitors’ domain.
- Free plan: $0 and allows you to import 100 domains.
- Pro plan: $119.95/mo and allows you to import 1,000 domains.
- Guru plan: $229.95/mo.
- Business plan: $449.95/mo.
- All plans are 17% cheaper on an annual subscription.
Get started with Semrush for free.
2. SE Ranking
SE Ranking is a simple yet complete SEO tool. There are three core features that make it suitable for link builders. These include the Backlink Tracking Tool, Backlink Checker, and the Competitor Analysis Tool. With these three tools, you’re able to track, manage and identify opportunities quickly. The Competitor Analysis tool even gives you a 360-degree overview of how your competitors might have won backlinks and traffic.
Three features that make SE Ranking awesome
- The backlink monitoring tool has a great user interface making it easy to understand key metrics.
- You can track your competitor’s new and lost backlinks to reverse engineer their strategy in real time.
- The monthly overview shows how your competitors are performing.
- Essentials plan: $49/mo.
- Pro plan: $109/mo.
- Business plan: $239/mo.
- All plans are cheaper if paid annually and come with the ability to add on services.
Start exploring the SE Ranking product suite.
3. Ahrefs free backlink tool
For those without an Ahrefs or premium SEO tool subscription the Ahrefs free backlink checker is handy. Whilst it has its limitations, it’s an easy way to get a quick insight into a website’s backlink profile and domain rating (DR). You can also leverage it to find broken links which makes a great starting point for winning a link.
Related article: Best DIY SEO Tools.
Three features that make the Ahrefs backlink checker awesome
- Gives you a quick backlink profile overview in <5 seconds.
- Includes an authority checker.
- Includes a broken link checker.
Try the Ahrefs free backlink tool.
Majestic is one of the few tools in the market that is specifically designed to help link builders. Since the tool has a link-first approach to SEO you’ll be able to see extremely detailed metrics about a site’s backlink profile, trust and citation flow, topical trust flow, historical changes, and loads more.
Three features that make Majestic awesome
- The Neighbourhood Checker allows you to see which other sites are also hosted on the same IP and subnet.
- Visual reporting for key metrics to help you quickly understand the performance of a site.
- Keyword generator based on backlink profiles of your competitors.
- Lite plan: $49/mo for 1 million analysis units.
- Pro plan: $99/mo for 20 million analysis units.
- Full API plan: $399/mo for 100 million analysis units.
- Annual plans are cheaper.
5. Raven Tools
Raven Tools is an SEO research platform that connects data sources like Google Search Console and MOZ to give marketing teams a “bigger picture” overview of their business. The product suite has two specific tools for link building, one is the Backlink Analysis tool and the other is a handy Link Spy tool.
Three features that make Ravel Tools awesome
- Allows you to spy on your competitor’s backlink profiles filtered by metrics such as link quality or citation flow.
- You can track the backlinks you want to go after in the Link Manager.
- Uncover backlink opportunities starting with your target keywords.
- Free plan: $0 and includes 1 website and 100 queries per day.
- Basic plan: $39/mo and includes 5 websites and 3,000 queries per day.
- Pro plan: $159/mo and includes 20 websites and 10,000 queries per day.
- All plans are 40% cheaper on an annual subscription.
6. Link Research Tools
Link Research Tools is another advanced link-building and auditing software. You can expect to access hundreds of metrics for each link, data combined from over 25 sources, domain comparisons, and ultra-detailed recommendations. The advanced features don’t come cheap though, it is one of the most expensive link building software on this list.
Three features that make Link Research Tools awesome
- Since the link data is so granular you can use this tool to recover from a penalty (this is one of their specific use cases).
- Integrates with tools you’re probably already using like Google Search Console and Ahrefs.
- Link “risk” scoring to help you identify and disavow harmful links.
- Trial for Superhero Small: $17 for 7 days.
- Superhero Small: $599/mo.
- Superhero Standard: $999/mo.
- Superhero Plus: $2,499/mo.
- Enterprise: Custom quote required.
- All prices are cheaper on longer-term plans (e.g. 6 months or 12 months).
Start a 7-day trial with Link Research Tools.
Terkel is a platform that connects experts with journalists and writers. This makes it extremely easy to grow your domain authority in a safe way. The platform allows you to submit expert quotes to relevant publications in record time. I’ve landed many backlinks to my personal site and even to Finder.com when I was working for them. Unlike HARO, it’s easy to use and not as saturated so the chance of you actually winning a link is higher.
Three features that make Terkel awesome
- You get three free submissions each month.
- The platform allows you to select the most relevant niches.
- You can track your quotes to see which were submitted, selected, and published.
- Lite plan: $0 and 3 free answers per month.
- Premium plan: $99/mo for unlimited answers.
- Team plan: $199/mo for unlimited answers and additional user seats/profiles.
Similar to Terkel, HelpAB2BWriter connects B2B-specific writers with top-quality sources. I use this frequently to collect and submit answers since the quality is high on both sides. All correspondence is done via email, which means you only need to signup once and you’ll start receiving opportunities in your inbox.
Three features that make HelpAB2BWriter awesome
- All correspondence is done via email making the workflow streamlined.
- Sources include sites like Shopify, Fiverr, Hubspot, and WordPress.
- It’s completely free.
- Free and unlimited submissions.
Get started with HelpAB2BWriter.
Jasper is one of the most popular copywriting tools on the market. The reason it’s included as a link-building tool is that it helps you craft outreach emails instantly. The chrome extension is particularly helpful since it can work within your email client (e.g. Gmail).
Three features that make Jasper awesome
- Can write outreach emails based on prompts.
- Chrome extension means you can write emails on the fly not just in the tool.
- Helps you craft more creative campaigns.
- $59/mo for 50k words, 50+ AI templates, and a Google Docs-style editor.
- $99/mo for 100K words, 50+ AI templates and a Google Docs-style editor
- All plans are 17% cheaper on an annual subscription.
10. Ninja Outreach
Ninja Outreach helps marketers connect with influencers by simply plugin in a username or keyword. However, they also have a product called “Link Building Software” which helps systemize and automate outreach. SEOs can use this to find the sites and blog posts they’re interested in, create or leverage the outreach template, and schedule and track the emails.
Three features that make Ninja Outreach awesome
- Handles link prospecting so you don’t need extra apps or chrome extensions.
- Allows you to personalize the templates by including dynamics fields.
- Can filter leads based on site metrics like domain authority.
- Flex plan: $389/mo for outreach to 500 contacts each month.
- Silver plan: $589/mo for outreach to 1,000 contacts each month.
- Silver plus plan: $849/mo for outreach to 4,000 contacts each month.
If you’ve ever tried to build an outreach campaign or send cold emails you’re probably familiar with Hunter. The tool allows you to find any professional email address in seconds. You simply enter the link into the search box and the tool will spit out all of the email addresses, the most common email pattern, and the associated sources. You can even conduct all of your outreach in Hunter now.
Three features that make Hunter.io awesome
- It takes less than 5 seconds to produce a list of emails.
- You can cross reference the emails against the sources provided.
- The “most common pattern” feature makes it easy to guess other employees’ email addresses.
- Free plan: $0 for 25 monthly searches and 50 verifications.
- Starter plan: $49/mo for 500 monthly searches and 1,000 verifications.
- Growth plan: $99/mo for 2,500 monthly searches and 5,000 verifications.
- Pro plan: $199/mo for 10,000 monthly searches and 20,000 verifications.
- You can save 30% with a yearly subscription.
Get started for free with Hunter.io.
12. Gummy Search
Gummy Search is one of my favorite Reddit research tools. It deeply analyses Reddit to give real-time insights into which communities are popular, why, and how you can capitalize on them. I’ve used this many times to help me validate ideas, and niches, and even win links. I use the tool to figure out which content performs best in my niche, then I create value posts and link my articles after they’ve had some traction.
Three features that make Gummy Search awesome
- Makes it incredibly easy to see what’s trending in your specific niche.
- Gives you ideas on which linkable assets to create.
- You can track your keywords to find opportunities to link.
- Starter plan: $29/mo for standard access.
- Pro plan: $59/mo for advanced search and AI-based summarization.
- Team plan: $149/mo for multiple user seats and shareable reports.
Start a free trial with Gummy Search.
Related article: Best White Label SEO Tools.
Frequently asked questions
What are the most creative ways to build links?
This is a great question. A lot of SEOs, site owners, and marketers are trying to work out how they can creatively add value and build links. Some of the common ways include building calculators, detailed statistics pages, free tools, and even highly detailed guides. I’ve personally had great success this the following:
– Best [industry] websites pages
– Best [industry] [agencies/consultants] pages
– Statistics articles with my own personal research
– Going viral on Reddit with posts that have links in them (here’s a small example)
Which links are the most important?
Dofollow links from authoritative sites are usually the links you want, however, all links, especially from high-profile sites should be welcomed. Social and forum links are also important in my opinion. This helps build out a nice link profile and proves to Google that you’re brand is actually important.
Which sites should you avoid links from?
I personally put sites through the Moz DA Checker, anything that has a spam score over 2% I avoid. Google mostly ignores these sites, but to save yourself time be sure you’re not working with brands that have dodgy backlink profiles.
Does cold email outreach still work for link building?
I’ve had great success with this strategy but only when I’ve manually researched a site, figured out how I can add value, and then sent the email. This isn’t something you can scale but you can definitely win links this way. The best thing to do for link-building is to offer value and build genuine relationships. This applies to most things in life (give more than you ask).