One of my previous columns here on Link Week showcased a number of tools commonly used in link building. Since that post, a large number of new tools and services have come online, so I thought an update would be helpful. Not all of the sites listed will be traditional linking tools, I’ve also included a number of social media and general informational sites which can be used to find link partners.
Before we move on, the obligatory disclaimer. I have no financial involvement with any of these tools, they are presented as source options only. Some are free, others are not, always read their fine print.
Standard link building tools
When you hear the term “link building tools”, the type of tools listed below are usually what comes to mind. Most of the tools here are anything but standard, they all come with multiple options (except Yahoo SE) and share one point of commonality… they list out backlink results.
Here’s a handful in alphabetical order:
- Analyze Backlinks
- BackLink Watch
- Link Diagnosis
- Link Insight
- Link Manager
- Majestic SEO
- OpenSite Explorer
- Raven Tools
- SEOBook Tools
- SEO Spyglass
- BackLink Summary
- Who Links To Me
- Yahoo Site Explorer
- Yoast Link Analysis
Using backlink data to create a strategy and determine tactics is important when building links, so find a tool (or three) you’re comfortable with and start checking out who’s linking to whom. Most of the paid tools have free trial offers. Take note of the sites your competitors are linking to and any media mentions they’re getting. Start a database with the journalists you find and include them in future press release submissions.
Non-standard, outside of the box link tools
One of the biggest challenges in link building is finding quality sites to partner with. Competition for link real estate is keen, so be aware of opportunities popping up in your niche. Since you can’t spend 24/7 in research mode, having leads and opportunities sent to you goes a long way in securing good links. Here’s a handful of tools to help identify trends and uncover link potential.
Backtype is a “real-time conversational search engine” which indexes blogs and social media networks. While it’s helpful for finding hot trends/ideas to write about, the real link building juice lies in their Connect and Backtweet services.
Connect is an email alert service which monitors blog comments for keywords while Backtweets searches Twitter for URL’s. Both tools are great for finding sources/enthusiasts talking up your industry. Often, I find links in comments are better resources than those in the feature post! Go after those sources and find a way to secure them as a link partner.
Xmarks is a bookmark sync service with multiple options, but their Smarter Search feature is a great way to find pages being bookmarked in quantity. Why? People tend to bookmark sites with good content which means the source sites have potential to be good link partners. Find out what’s being bookmarked and work to get your link-filled content on those sites.
Over on the Spiced2 blog, there is a great article on How To Check To See If Your Email Has Been Blacklisted. If you send email link requests and aren’t seeing the response rates you’d like, this might be a good one to read.
Two Twitter tools we can’t live without are Twitter Feed, which adds your RSS to Twitter and Facebook automatically and Twilert which tracks specific keywords being used in tweets. When the alerts come back from Twilert, we use the information to look for potential host sites and for quality people to follow. Hopefully, they’ll follow in return which broadens the base of people seeing the links to our blogs and/or other web properties.
Widget marketing is all the rage and with good reason, it’s a great way to take a link campaign viral while building brand and driving traffic. If you’re not a programmer, no worries, sites like Widgetbox and the Widgipedia Forum are around to help. Spend some time there and on StickiWidgets looking at popular widgets and see if you can create something similar for your niche. Once your widget is done and launched, announce it’s creation via press release, to your customer base and on the forums you frequent.
Lastly, check out Dapper.net and Feed For All, both applications create RSS for static pages. Keep in mind you can create a feed for pages on your site as well as link embedded content you’ve placed on other sites. (Think article directories.) Submit the feeds you’ve created to the RSS directories as another way to drive link popularity.
Link building may be hard, but it’s not impossible if you consider the opportunities behind each of these tools. Look beyond the basics and find unique sites to host content and pull links from. Broaden your reach and the links will come.
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