What’s the one thing that mostly impacts your search rankings?
If you said backlinks, you’re absolutely right. Hands down, link building is the surefire way to grow your search rankings.
We have previously written a lot about blogging tools and SEO tools. So in this post, we’ll focus more on the best link building tools available online that will help you build scalable links to your site.
From amongst the 200 plus SEO factors involving in ranking a page, backlink building is probably the most popular. The importance of backlink building can be demonstrated from this survey result (conducted by Moz) which shows that backlinks constitute nearly 23% of all ranking factors because it is what tells search engines about how your site is perceived by other websites.
Link building clearly shows how valuable your page is and the more the number of backlinks (both inbound and outbound) pointing towards your website, the more is its trust and authority.
In this post, we’ll show you:
- Top free (and premium) link building tools
- The pros and cons (if any) of these tools
- Pricing and free trials (if any)
- How to use these tools to create backlinks
- How to keep things in control without going overboard
There are basically two major things involved in link building.
- One is: Finding link opportunities (with the help of link research tools)
- Other is: Finding prospects to outreach (with the help of outreach tools)
So we’ll try to cover both these link building tools to find link opportunities in 2020.
Table of Contents
- Best list of free and paid link building tools for 2020
- Tools for Finding Link Opportunities
- Best Link Building Software Tools for Outreach
- Few more handy link building websites and browser extensions
- How to use these tools to create backlinks?
- How to keep your link building campaign in control?
- Final thoughts on best link building software tools 2020
Tools for Finding Link Opportunities
Let’s first talk about some of the best SEO tools to find link opportunties.
SEMrush offers a “Link Building Tool” which is exclusively designed to help you acquire new links no matter what niche you are in.
Did you know that link building tool from SEMrush helps you with everything including;
- Prospect research to find link opportunities
- Prospect outreach (with the help of email outreach)
- Monitoring of your link building
You can do all of them in one place. That’s why over 5 million people are using SEMrush.
Want to give it a try? Click here to get a 30 days free version of SEMrush Pro account (worth $99.95)
Here’s how you can make use of SEMrush link building tool to start a link building campaign to build highly relevant links to your website.
Step 1: Go to the Link Building Tool, start a new Project or create a new campaign for an existing Project.
Here’s how it looks like;
Step 2: Now, enter up to 10 keywords that you want to improve your search rankings for.
If you’re stuck, you can simply enter your competitor domains (up to 10). Make sure to pick only those domains whose backlink profiles you think are worthy. So entering authority sites in your niche can help.
Once it’s done, press the “Start Link Building” button.
Step 3: Now SEMrush will process the URLs or keywords you provided. Then, you’ll be able to track the progress of your link building campaign including overall prospects, received replies, monitored domains and so on.
Here’s how the overview of a domain looks like (from Link Building tool in SEMrush);
Now, simply start picking the prospects to find link building opportunities.
As you can see above, you’ll be provided with a ton of information including;
- All prospects
- Domain score (This metric measures the importance of a domain using a 100-point scale from 0 to 100 and is based on the quality and volume of the links pointing to this domain)
- Trust score (This metric measures the trustworthiness of a particular domain. It’s measured on a 100-point scale with ‘0’ indicating a low-trust site and ‘100’ indicating a highly trusted site. It is based on the number of backlinks from trusted sites pointing to the domain)
The tip here is to choose the prospects that are relevant to your website and move them to the “In Progress” tab using the “+” sign.
Step 4: This is where SEMrush link building tool excels as it provides you link building email outreach (In Progress tab).
Here’s how it looks like;
As you can see above, it lets you reach out to the selected prospects and monitor the status of each of your links.
Quick note: The email addresses of your prospects are added by SEMrush automatically. In case you find the email address field empty, try using tools like Email Hunter to find an email address before moving on to the next prospect.
Step 5: In the Monitor tab, you can monitor your link building efforts over time.
Here’s how this tab looks like;
As you can see above, all your prospective backlinks are marked as Active, Lost, Broken, Undefined or Rejected after you add the domains you want to monitor.
So there you go! That’s how you can use SEMrush link building tool for everything including finding link opportunities to finding prospects and monitoring your link building efforts.
- Comparison of domains by keywords
- Keyword research (including Keyword Magic tool)
- Backlink Analysis (including Link Building tool)
- Position tracking
- Site audit tool
- Advertising research
- Organic research
- View organic positions and backlinks of competitors
- The pricing plans start at $99.95 per month (a bit pricey but it’s an all in one SEO toolkit)
SEMrush offers 3 pricing packages which are;
- Pro: This is the basic plan which is great for freelancers and startups with a limited budget. It costs you $99.95 per month where you’ll get access to almost all the features from competitor analysis to site audits.
- Guru: This plan is suitable for growing businesses and small businesses and you’ll get exclusive features like branded reports, extended limits, historical data etc. This plan costs you $199.95 per month.
- Business: This is suitable for eCommerce projects and agencies. It costs you $399.95 per month and gives you features like API access, white-label reports, extended limits, sharing options and so on.
Looking for a free trial from SEMrush?
Click here to grab SEMrush Pro 30 days free trial (worth $99.95)
Just like SEMrush, Ahrefs can also be used as an all in one SEO toolkit which helps you with everything from keyword research to competitor analysis to link building.
Ahrefs offers an exclusive feature called “Link Intersect” where you can find a ton of link building opportunities. It helps you easily find the sites that link to your competitors but don’t link to you yet.
Sounds interesting, right? So if you’re looking to build quality and relevant links by spying on your competitors, this tool can be really helpful for you.
Just enter your competitors’ domains and in the next section enter your own domain to find link opportunities.
Viola! Here’s all the data you need.
You can see above, Ahrefs Link Intersect tool has generated over 83,000 domains (link building opportunities) that are not linking to our site Bloggers Passion.
Not just that, if you click on the down arrow any of the domains, you’ll get access to in-depth data of the particular domain along with its statistics.
- Link Intersect tool from Ahrefs easily helps you find domains or URLs that link to your competitors but don’t link to you yet
- Site explorer helps you analyze backlinks, traffic and keywords of any site
- You can easily find your keyword positions
- Content explorer helps you with high performing content in your niche
- Domain comparison to compare multiple domains
- Backlink analysis
- Crawling reports
- Ahrefs alerts
- It doesn’t offer any free trials (similar tools like SEMrush offers you 30 days free trials whereas Ahrefs offers you a 7 day trial for $7, so no free lunches with Ahrefs!)
Ahrefs offers four pricing options which are listed below:
- Lite: This is the basic plan which costs you $99 per month and a great choice for beginners which includes most of the features from Ahrefs. You can add up to 5 projects.
- Standard: This plan is the most recommended plan and it costs you $179 per month which is great for bloggers. You can add up to 10 projects and you can allow up to 3 users to access your account at the same time.
- Advanced: If you’re running an in-house SEO agency, this can be a great choice which costs you$399 per month. You can add up to 25 projects.
- Agency: This plan costs you $999 per month and it is suitable for agencies where you can add up to 100 projects and allow up to 5 users to access your account at the same time.
Does Ahrefs offer any free trials?
No, it doesn’t. But you can try Ahrefs for 7 days by paying $7.
Quick note: You can read our in-depth SEMrush vs Ahrefs review if you want to find all the features along with their tutorials.
Serpstat is a perfect choice if you’re looking for affordable alternatives to premium tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs. It has the largest database of Google SERPs that contains information of 230 Google databases, 5.7 billion keywords,1.31 billion domains.
Serpstat is an all-in-one SEO toolset which helps you improve your search rankings by providing you with a ton of useful tools like Site Audit, keyword research, competitor analysis, rank tracking and so on.
It is considered as an “affordable SEO toolset” which helps you perform everything from finding great keywords to backlink analysis to competitor research, you should definitely consider using Serpstat.
Just let’s take a look at the Domain Analysis feature from Serpstat as it gives you a plethora of data to analyse any website or domain on the web. It includes;
- Visibility Score (it’s a score based on how the website is performing on the search engines like Google, the higher the visibility score, the more chances you’ll have to get better rankings)
- Search Engine Traffic (it gives you an idea about the number of visitors a website gets per month, including your competitors)
- Organic Keywords (it gives you a list of all the keywords a website is ranking for in the top 100 of Google)
Serpstat offers a tool called “Backlink Analysis” which helps you with link building.
Just enter any of your competitors’ domain in their Backlink Analysis tool and it gives you a full overview of their backlink profile. Have a look;
You’ll find a ton of important data including;
- Referring domains
- Referring pages
- Total indexed pages
- Linked domains
- Outbound links
- Unique outbound links
- Follow and Nofollow links
- Referring IPs etc
You can also find any domain’s new and lost backlinks along with the backlink anchor texts.
New & Lost backlinks data is extremely useful if you’re running a link building campaign as you’ll get an idea of who is linking to a particular domain and who’s removing (so you can use both ways to get links).
- One of the biggest pros of using Serpstat is its pricing. It’s cheaper than the other competitors in the SEO industry including Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz tools and so on. Their pricing plans start at $69 per month!
- You can do URL to URL comparison to find common keywords and competition
- You can use their backlink analysis tool to find backlink opportunities
- Find a ton of highly profitable yet low competitive keywords in any niche
- Easily spy on your competitors
- Analyse backlinks of your own site along with competitors
- Track keyword rankings
- You can control the quality of the backlinks of your site and find new sites for placing backlinks by analyzing the link mass of a competitor
- You can perform site audits
- The competitor analysis data is not as huge as other premium tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs
- Lite (costs $69 per month where you can make 4000 keyword queries per day with 10,000 results per query, track 15,000 keywords for your site and look up 500 websites per day)
- Standard (costs $149 per month where you can make 5000 keyword queries per day with 30,000 results per query, track 60,000 keywords for your site and look up 1000 websites per day)
- Advanced (costs $299 per month where you can make 8000 keyword queries per day with 50,000 results per query and track 150,000 keywords for your site and look up 1500 websites per day)
- Enterprise (costs $499 per month where you can make 12,000 keyword queries per day with 75,000 results per query and track 300,000 keywords for your site and look up 2000 websites per day)
Does Serpstat offer any free trial?
Quick note: Enter the promo code “bloggerspassion” (without quotes, in small letters) along with your phone number. You’ll immediately get a verification code to your mobile number which you can use to activate your Serpstat free trial.
Moz was launched by the SEO guru Rand Fishkin back in 2004 and it’s one of the first premium SEO tools that offers a ton of features ranging from competitor analysis to link building.
Link Explorer is the widely used feature of Moz Pro as it helps in researching backlinks (both of competitors and own sites), hunt backlink building opportunities and identify any manual or automated link spam that might invoke a Google penalty.
Here’s how their Link Explorer looks like;
There’s plenty of backlink data you can discover from any URL which includes;
- Newly discover and lost links
- Domain authority (DA is a popular SEO metric)
- Linking domains
- Inbound links along with their sources and anchor texts
- Top pages
- Easily find dofollow links
You can also check for spam score (a metric developed by Link Explorer folks) which shows about the type of links pointing to a site.
Note: Spam score represents the percentage of sites with similar features we’ve found to be penalized or banned by Google.
- It is a powerful SEO suite. It also offers a ton of free tools such as Mozbar to find authority of any domain
- It definitely offers you the largest link databases in the industry which is useful for link builders (as they have 36.5 trillion links indexed by Link Explorer)
- Discover thousands of keywords
- Helps you with site audits
- Track performance of hundreds of keywords
- Backlink data can sometimes be inaccurate and there’s a steep learning curve (just like most of the other all in one SEO toolkits like Ahrefs, SEMrush)
Moz offers 4 pricing plans which are;
- Standard (costs you $99/Month which is ideal for bloggers)
- Medium (costs you $179/Month which is ideal for bloggers and SEOs)
- Large (costs you $249 and it is ideal for in-house SEO agencies and small businesses)
- Premium (costs $599 which is ideal for marketing agencies and big brands)
Does Moz offer any free trial?
Yes, Moz offers you a 30-day free trial where you can full Moz Pro Medium access for 30 days which is worth $179.
SpyFu is the cheapest SEO toolkit among all the link building tools such as SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs etc as their pricing plans start just at $33 per month.
Here’s how the backlink data looks like;
Just enter any of your competitors domain and it will give you an in-depth overview of its backlink profile. The good thing about using SpyFu for link building is you can enter specific keywords that you want to rank on.
The above screenshot shows you a list of relevant backlink opportunities around the keyword “SEO”. That way, you can quickly find link opportunities around your target keywords using any domain.
- Find links that are already helping other sites rank
- You can target the common links that your competitors get
- You can control the page types you pursue: blogs, forums and so on
- Pricing is cheaper when compared to most of the SEO tools
- Their keyword research and competitor research data can be improved a lot (as most of the times, we found the data inaccurate)
SpyFu comes in 3 plans which are;
- Basic plan (costs you just $33 per month where you will get unlimited search results, unlimited data exports, unlimited domain overview PDFs, 250 sales leads and domain contacts, 5k weekly tracked keyword rankings, 10k top lists results)
- Professional plan (costs you just $33 per month where you’ll get unlimited search results, unlimited data exports, unlimited domain overview PDFs, 500 sales leads and domain contacts, 50k weekly tracked keyword rankings, 15k top lists results)
- Team plan (costs you just $33 per month where you’ll get unlimited search results, unlimited data exports, unlimited domain overview PDFs, 2000 sales leads and domain contacts, 40k weekly tracked keyword rankings, 75k top lists results)
You can check out our SpyFu review for more details.
Does SpyFu offer any free trial?
No, there are no free trials offered in SpyFu. But you can create a free account with limited searches a day.
SERP analysis is essential to find better link opportunities. Here’s where you can use a free toolbox like SEOquake which has over 3 million downloads and widely used by SEO experts worldwide.
It gives you quick access to tons of valuable data of all websites you visit like social signals of a page, keyword difficulty of a query and full report on internal links and external links of a site.
The best thing is whenever you search a topic on Google, the extension sits on the browser and gives you a detailed SERP analysis.
As you can see above, you’ll get a thorough analysis of SERPs which includes a ton of useful data including;
- Page overview (where you’ll get key page metrics such as Google rank, domain age, number of backlinks etc)
- Keyword difficulty score (which gives you an estimation of a keyword’s level of competition, 100% is the highest)
You can also export all the SERP data into CSV for further analysis.
- Get a thorough SERP analysis and export the results in CSV format
- You can easily estimate keyword difficulty for every keyword term instantly
- You can run a complete SEO audit of any webpage
- You can check your social statistics for Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn
- You can get a full report for internal and external links
- Easily determine a keyword’s density
- You can also compare URLs or domains for further competitor analysis
- It is a handy browser extension that is just set and forget
- You need to connect with a SEMrush account (even free account works fine) to be able to get the backlinks data
- The browser extension is sometimes annoying as it pops up on every page load
It’s completely free to use. It’s a free browser extension which is available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Opera.
7. Majestic SEO
Majestic SEO is the world’s biggest backlink index database which means it knows everything about links better than any other link building software online. It has 875 Billion links in its backlink database (called historical index).
Majestic has a game changing feature in which it analyzes links of sites on a daily basis. This backlink data is called Fresh Index. You can get daily reports on new backlink gains for your site and that of your competitors.
Majestic’s free version is good enough to help you track and audit backlink profile of your own site. This is very essential because it helps you know how people see your site outside and what type of content works the best. You can further build relationship with the linking sites to grow and get more links.
Here is how you can use it to compare two different sites and their authority.
You can even get reports on negative SEO or unnatural growth of backlinks over a period of time so that you can stay cautious. Majestic allows you to get details about shared neighborhood which means you can check for domains with most backlinks on any given IP or domain name and see other websites using the same hosting and their backlink structure.
Here is what I did checking a random IP address and Majestic got me the number of sites hosted along with their link data.
Pros of Majestic SEO:
- Using Majestic as a link analysis tool helps you to get information from the largest resource of backlink data, which is accurate.
- The link profile fight (essentially link comparison model) helps you to compare two different websites and get a graphical illustration of the result which is personally more appealing to me.
- The browser extension of Majestic simplifies things even more and gives the website metrics on any site we visit.
Cons of Majestic SEO:
- Majestic works well at what it does, backlink analysis and comparison. I can find a hundred demerits of it if this was a SEO tool list post, but as per our criteria now, majestic is perfect.
- Majestic offers no data on top pages by keywords or social shares which might be helpful in more detailed analysis.
Raven tools are one more suite of awesome link building that specialize in competitor research and outreach management. It has extensive competitive analysis which will help you know what keywords your competitors are ranking for.
Pros of Raven SEO tools:
- Easy link queuing feature that allows you to do outreach for link building.
- Offers many more SEO tools which enables you do different things on one platform.
Cons of Raven SEO tools:
- Raven relies on link data by OSE and majestic. This means why pay for any other tool when you can directly use Majestic or OSE as per your choice for less price.
- The user-interface is too overwhelming for first time users.
Best Link Building Software Tools for Outreach
Here are the link building tools that help you with outreach which is the most important aspect of building quality links in 2020.
BuzzStream is one of the go-to tools for many link building SEOs as it helps you easily craft personalized and relationship-based outreach emails.
You can either choose a template from their library or create your own template to reach out to other prospects.
The best part is that BuzzStream tracks your email open rates, click-through rates and response rates. That way you can easily find out what’s working best.
- It discovers contact information, social profiles, and site metrics for you
- It automatically saves your emails and tweets (so you can use automated follow-ups)
- Publisher and influencer metrics
- Twitter conversation tracking
- Link reporting
- Link monitoring
- Open, click, & reply tracking
- Email templates
- Email scheduling & reminders
- Backlink data is not so accurate
BuzzStream provides four different plans which are mentioned below.
- Starter ($24/mo) plan: This is the basic BuzzStream plan which includes 1000 contacts, discovery results, link monitoring up to 1000 links for 1 user.
- Group ($99/mo) plan: This plan includes 25,000 contacts, unlimited discovery results per search, link monitoring up to 25,000 links for 3 users.
- Professional ($299/mo) plan: This plan includes 100,000 contacts, unlimited discovery results per search, link monitoring up to 25,000 links for 6 users.
- Custom ($999/mo) plan: This is the advanced plan which includes 300,000+ contacts, and all the extra limits for 15+ users.
Does BuzzStream offer any free trial?
Yes, it offers you a 14-day free trial. You can cancel before the trial ends and you won’t be charged as they’ll email you 5 days before the trial ends to remind you.
Buzzstream is a powerful blogger outreach tool which helps you research your prospects, send personalized messages for outreach and track those projects.
You can use Buzzstream to track your outreach campaigns, forward it to your teammates for easy collaboration. It also offers an exclusive Backlinks tool which can help you easily find the pages that link to a URL or domain.
Here’s how it looks like;
You can also organise the list by social shares like Facebook shares, Twitter shares etc.
It also helps you send personalized messages directly from the tool and lets you set reminders to send, track and respond on outreach campaigns.
- Discover trending topics in any industry
- Useful for influencer outreach
- Find top performing content by FB shares or twitter shares (or backlinks) in any niche
- Helps you with monitoring (brand mentions etc)
- The basic pricing starts at $99/mo and it’s mostly useful for outreach purposes (not an exclusive tool for link building)
Buzzsumo offers four pricing plans which are listed below.
- Pro ($99/mo) plan: This is the basic plan from Buzzsumo which includes unlimited content research and influencer searches, 5 alerts and 5000 mentions.
- Plus ($179/mo) plan: This plan includes unlimited searches, 10 alerts, 10,000 mentions along with Question Analyzer feature (where you can find the most popular questions asked on forums, e-commerce sites, Quora etc)
- Large ($299/mo) plan: This plan includes unlimited searches, 30 alerts, 20,000 mentions, Question Analyzer and Facebook Analyzer feature (which can be used to analyze what posts perform best for any topic or page on Facebook)
- Enterprise ($499+/mo) plan: This is the ultimate plan which includes unlimited searches, 50+ alerts, 50,000+ mentions, and access to 5 years of data from Buzzsumo’s content research and analysis reports
Does BuzzSumo offer any free trial?
Yes, it offers a 7-day free trial. No credit card required.
3. Email Hunter
Hunter (widely known as Email Hunter) is one of the widely used tools to find the email addresses of any domain which is used by more than 1,800,000 professionals worldwide.
Have a look below to see how it works;
See that? Just enter any domain name and it will instantly show you a list of all the possible results (including their emails).
They also have free browser extensions for both Chrome and Firefox which help you instantly find the email addresses behind the website you’re browsing.
A quick tip: You can sign up for Hunter using your Gmail account for free to uncover the email addresses, get full results along with search filters, CSV downloads and so on. You can get 50 free searches/month.
- Offers a free chrome extension along with Firefox addon
- Domain Search (help you with the search of a domain name that returns the email addresses with this domain found on the web)
- Email Finder (helps you with the search of an email address from a first name, the last name and a domain)
- Email Verification (helps you with the verification of an email address to check if it is deliverable or not)
- Only useful for finding email addresses and it can not be considered as an all in one outreach tool.
Its free version lets you do 50 free requests a month. But if you want more requests, you can try their premium plans which are listed below.
- Starter $34 /mo (billed yearly)
- Growth$69 /mo (billed yearly)
- Pro$139 /mo (billed yearly)
- Enterprise$279 /mo (billed yearly)
With these, we come to our next session of whitehat link building tools and browser extensions that should stay in your SEO arsenal.
While Alexa.com isn’t actively used by bloggers and marketers, it is still a great free tool to do free competitor analysis. Just plug your site or your competitor site and it will pull out nifty data like the audience demographic, what the site looked like in the past. Which sites visitors browsed before entering your site.
It also provides audience engagement reports like on-site time spent by the visitors, pages viewed per session and bounce rate of a site. It is also available as browser extension.
This is a part of the very popular link-assistant suite of tools. SEO Spyglass helps you track backlinks of any site, audit the site, and even check for harmful links pointing to your site that might invoke a penalty.
Spyglass has it’s own inbuilt disavow file generator that helps you neutralize spammy backlinks. It is used by users like Microsoft, Amazon and Nestle.
Check my links is a great free chrome extension that lets you check for every broken link on a page. This is the best way for a fast and free broken link building campaign. Check my links has also helped me to get broken links to sites that no longer exist and is great for those looking for quick expired domain acquisitions.
It is a free tool by my fellow blogger and SEO expert Jon Cooper. Link Miner gives you a good feature of Ahrefs (checking the links pointing to a broken link) which takes what Check My Links did, a step further.
You can even check for the number of outbound links a site has (directly from the SERPs) so that you can target your link analysis goals only to pages that have a lot of outbound links.
While using each of these backlink generating tools can call for separate dedicated guides for themselves, I will quickly jot down the steps I use as a guideline to get the most of these tools.
- Almost all of these tools help in analyzing the strength of your website (and that of your competitor) so use these to see how you perform against your fellow sites and try to work on the weak points.
- Get broken links of your competitors and try to build content around it or pitch directly to the sites that point to the broken link to increase your link power.
- You can use popular content from the sites by looking at their best content with link growth (ahrefs has this feature) to create similar content because what works for them is sure to work for you as long as you have the same audience.
With these tools unleashing the power to zero in much more link building opportunities and new arenas of automating your link outreach strategies, I would say keeping things to a bare minimum is the key to stay safe.
- Don’t go for all of the tools mentioned here, select the ones that help you in what you want for your campaign. If you want broken link building for this month or quarter you can go with the Link Miner extension or even better Ahrefs to get more access.
- If you want detailed competitor analysis and something that gives you control over your competitor’s content strategy, SEMrush is what I recommend.
- Do not automate link building and rather focus on earning links.
- Most of these tools are for showing the the scope of link building by providing better content to search engines than your competitors.
More Link Building Resources for 2020:
- Top ways to build high quality backlinks for your blog
- Link building strategies for niche sites [Ultimate Guide]
- Top link building mistakes to avoid in 2020
- Advanced link building guide for 2020
- Everything you need to know about buying links in 2020
When you are considering serious link building process, we prefer a tool that gives me all round access rather than only the backlink data. Link building isn’t only about getting the backlink data, it is knowing your competitors’ detailed strategy so that you can work better than them.
Having their top performing content, most linked pages, top keywords that they rank for and even knowing the competitors of your competitors all are essential part of the same link building campaign.
While Moz and Majestic like tools give you complete and best backlink data of any website, we prefer tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to power my link building process.
If you want an all-in-one tool that mines you the golden keywords your competitor is ranking for, get backlink data, see their competitors and their strategies we would recommend SEMrush.
So, What’s your favorite link building tool? If you use any of the tools mentioned above, we’d love to hear what features you use the most? And, if we missed any tool you use, leave the details in the comments so that we give them a try!