Link building tools are essential for effective SEO. After analysing link building campaigns and what each demands to achieve success, we know links are crucial.
But what are the best link building tools available to guide your strategy?
In this guide, we list our favourite 10 link building tools – free and paid – and discuss how they work and how you can use them to build your links.
Most of the SEO industry is using Ahrefs, and for a good reason. This tool is one of the best backlink checking tools available today.
Many SEOs claim that Ahrefs is the best way to find link building opportunities. And while other tools exist, this link building software suite is difficult to beat.
Ahrefs is a powerful link building tool and a must-have for professionals. While it can be expensive for the average person, if you have multiple sites or a large budget for SEO, it’s worth the $99+/month.
Some of the features don’t directly help with link building. But they’re valuable for SEO and can contribute to your link building efforts. These include:
While Ahrefs offers plenty of advanced features, it’s still accessible for non-technical users.
Here’s how Ahrefs supports top-tier link building strategies:
Link intersect lets its users see who is linking to different domains. You can also set the tool to show you who’s linking to certain domains without linking to other domains.
For example, if you want to see who is linking to your competitors but not linking to you, it’s as easy as typing the URLs and clicking the button.
But what’s the benefit of this feature?
Just because someone links to your competitors doesn’t mean they’ll be willing to link to you.
However, if someone has given two of your competitors’ links, there’s a good chance you can get a link from that site too.
Best by Links will help you uncover link-building opportunities. If you don’t have a page you’d like to build links from, you can get an in-depth Best by Links report to search for competing domains.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Add a “404 not found” filter to find dead pages with backlinks.
With this report in hand, you’ll have broken link building opportunities galore. You’ll likely be so busy working on building hundreds of quality links that you’ll have to hire a virtual assistant to help.
Ahrefs’ Backlinks Report is perfect if you already know of a page you’d like to build links from. Simply enter one competing page to see the Backlinks report.
This report will show you every backlink that points to the page.
To uncover the backlinks of a competing page with a Backlinks report, here’s what you’ll do:
Site Explore > enter a competing web page > Backlinks
So what makes this information so valuable?
If someone is linking to a comparable competing page, you might be able to find a way to get them to link to your page too. The key here is to determine why they’re linking to your competitors.
Once you know the reason, you can go after the opportunity to grab the link.
This will work for analysing multiple competing pages. But if you don’t know which pages are your competition, you can use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and check the SERP Overview feature to find how many links each top-ranking page has.
Once you have a good idea of the number of links, you can delve deeper into the information Ahrefs provides to determine where their links are from and if you can easily replicate them.
Screaming Frog is another valuable link building tool you’ll find in most SEO’s arsenals.
Besides finding technical SEO issues, this tool offers a bulk data importing feature that integrates with link indexes – including Ahrefs. Screaming Frog connects to Google Search Console and Google Analytics, as well.
Pulling SEO metrics is simple with Screaming Frog. This tool makes everything incredibly granular, enabling you to pull insight using a plethora of metrics.
Looking for the referring c-class IPs for a competitor site? Easy.
Wondering how many ‘dofollow’ AND ‘nofollow’ backlinks your competitor is working with? A few clicks of the keyboard and you’re on your way.
And this is just what you’ll get if you’re using Ahrefs’ metrics. Screaming Frog also runs crawls to discover broken links and other key link building characteristics.
You can also use Screaming Frog’s custom search function to find web pages in bulk using specific snippets of text or HTML. Using this in conjunction with Ahrefs’ Content Explorer can reveal hundreds of unlinked mention opportunities too.
Screaming Frog has a free option. But its paid tool comes with a host of other valuable features. Starting at £149.00/year, it’s a reasonable investment all things considered.
Looking to perform link outreach? BuzzStream can help.
BuzzStream has plenty of outreach features packed nicely in a CRM platform. With this link building tool, you’ll be able to establish and maintain relationships with your prospects.
This tool saves the history of your interactions with each prospect. You’ll be able to refer to every email exchange, tweet, and interaction you’ve had with every prospect before you perform your outreach.
BuzzStream is also useful for tracking email opens, clicks, and replies. You can also use it to automate follow-ups with a sequence.
Besides this outreach CRM’s usability, it’s also perfect for integrating with Ahrefs. You can import exports from Ahrefs’ Site Explorer without hesitation.
Starting at $24/month, BuzzStream is an excellent and affordable out of the box outreach solution for link builders just starting on their link building journey.
Disavow.it is free to use and facilitates the creation of disavow files. Rather than manually creating and formatting files to upload to Google Search Console, you can use this tool.
The Apply Disavow File feature works great for lists of URLs you’d like to disavow links from if you have a disavow file ready to utilise. By comparing both lists, Disavow.it will show you which URLs will and will not be disavowed.
Disavow.it can be an incredibly useful link building software, especially for sites that need to recover from manual penalties.
If you actively disavow shady links, this tool will also help.
All in all, Disavow.it comes in handy from time to time, and if you’re looking to take some time and guesswork out of disavow files, this is a tool worth trying.
Google Alerts is ideal for monitoring the web for new mentions of specific words or phrases.
For instance, you could set an alert for “backlink generator” in Google Alerts. Every time this phrase is mentioned, Google Alerts will send you a notification.
But what does this do for your link prospecting efforts?
NinjaOutreach is comparable to BuzzStream. But the main difference is that it has a massive database of millions of influencers.
The NinjaOutreach platform also places more emphasis on SEO than other outreach platforms. It’s also a rather valuable link building tool because you can sort your results based on social metrics – for example, Instagram followers or Facebook fans.
However, NinjaOutreach was seemingly designed with link builders’ needs in mind. This is why you’ll have granular SEO metrics available on this platform too.
Your results can be sorted by Domain Authority, Page Authority, and how many backlinks. And the pricing is quite reasonable, starting at just $69/month.
But there’s more to NinjaOutreach than its metrics and price. It comes bundled with templates specifically designed to support your link building campaigns. From broken link building to infographic promotion and more, you’ll find templates that facilitate link building.
While you’ll still have to personalise the templates on NinjaOutreach before sending them to prospects, it’s a solid starting point. This is especially beneficial when comparing these templates to painstakingly writing outreach emails without a template.
As far as link building software goes, NinjaOutreach is well-worth a try. Over the years, it has continued improving, and now it offers a clean interface and many features that support link building campaigns. While it’s not cheap, starting at $299/month or $119/month for an annual plan, it provides excellent value with a plethora of helpful features and templates.
Moz is one of the most versatile tools for SEO and offers powerful link building capabilities that make it appealing in the world of SEO.
Moz’s link building features come from its Link Explorer tool. With this tool, link builders can analyse their sites’ backlink profiles with ease.
It’s also excellent for finding link opportunities, repairing broken links, and removing bad links.
Link Explorer also displays the anchor text sites linking to your website. This is ideal because you can then choose the right keywords for future content, resulting in more valuable backlinking opportunities. But if you observe a lot of exact match anchor text, this is typically a sign of black hat link building.
You can also input a competitor’s domain or any other specific URL to check their backlink profile. The report also offers some other link metrics, such as Domain Authority.
Moz gives newcomers a 30-day free trial. This ensures you can check out its interface and features to see if it’s the right link building software for you before upgrading to a paid plan. But paid plans are still somewhat reasonable, starting at $99/month.
Pitchbox offers value in its workflows that guide you through the process of performing outreach. This outreach platform is ideal because it offers efficiency without making things overly complicated.
As an all-in-one solution, Pitchbox effectively helps its users discover prospects, analyse their outreach success, and more. Here’s how it works.
Once you sign up for an account, you’ll start by creating a Project. You can then choose which type of campaign you’d like to use. These are the options to choose from:
Blogger Outreach – You’ll simply input your keywords and receive a list of blog articles that use them. Once you have this list, you can contact relevant bloggers in your niche for link building purposes.
Advanced Search – You’ll just need to input your search phrases to get the tool to scrape Google results. Again, this is how you’ll find and contact pages that could potentially link to you.
Product Reviews – You’ll input your keywords and receive a list of blogs the tool believes have allowed review articles before. Once you have this list, you can perform outreach to get your brand links.
“Hot Off The Press” – You’ll input your keywords to receive a list of related blog articles that have been published over the last 48 hours. The value here is that fresher content means you’ll find active websites to contact.
Competitor Backlinks – You’ll input your competitors’ domains to receive a list of URLs that link to them. You can then use this information to find sites that will be likely to link to your website.
Link Removal (default or using LRT) – Since this tool does not prospect, you’ll need to provide a list of URLs. However, this still adds to the efficiency of having links removed.
Since the workflow is built into Pitchbox, it’s easy to go through the steps of any campaign. From building a list of high-quality prospects to finding their contact information, to sending your outreach emails, Pitchbox is an effective way to perform link building outreach.
The outreach emails are easy to personalise with the ability to make personalised fields. This saves time by ensuring you only have to tweak each email slightly before sending it.
If you have a team, this link building tool allows multiple people to collaborate on a single outreach email. This is especially handy when it comes to having one person responsible for composing emails and another who handles personalisation.
After you set up your automated email sequences, you can also instruct automatic follow-ups with whoever doesn’t reply to your initial email.
Pitchbox also offers several metrics filters that come in handy. You can filter your results with ease by specific quality metrics. These include Majestic Citation Flow & Trust Flow, Moz metrics (Page Authority and Domain Authority), and Link Research Tools Power*Trust.
The tool also lets you set your own filters. Or there’s the option to utilize pre-built “good” or “great” filters from Pitchbox.
Pitchbox is not only easy to use but comes with some powerful features too. While it can be on the expensive side of the spectrum, it’s definitely worth it if you’re performing outreach daily or working with a team of link builders.
Simply put, starting at $195/month, Pitchbox offers incredible value.
BuzzSumo makes it easy to find influential bloggers in your niche. While this software is mainly for content marketing assistance, many SEOs have successfully used it to support their link building efforts.
The idea behind BuzzSumo is to create content based on what’s popular. In essence, you’re making content that people are interested in, which increases your chances of earning valuable backlinks.
But BuzzSumo doesn’t stop there as a link building tool. This tool enables you to find influencers in your niche, showing those who have recently shared your competitor’s content. If they’re recently found value in your competitor’s content, there’s a high likelihood that they’ll share and link to your content too.
BuzzSumo’s Brand Mentions feature is also effective for link builders. Much like Google Alerts, this feature notifies you when someone mentions your brand in a blog post without linking to your site.
Usually, it’s as easy as reaching out to the linking site with a friendly “can you please link to us?” email to receive a legitimate backlink. Here’s what you can say:
Thank you for mentioning us in your latest post!
As you probably already say, I commented on the post.
If you have a moment, can you please add a link to my site? This way, people can have an easier time finding my post you mentioned.
Either way, I really appreciate the shout out!
BuzzSumo is also excellent for finding new links. You can set alerts and get notified whenever someone links to you.
While BuzzSumo wasn’t designed with link builders in mind, it’s still a tool that supports white hat link building. And when considering the value it offers, the price is reasonable starting at $79/month.
CognitiveSEO makes unnatural link detection simple. This SEO software offers excellent backlink analysis, similar to Moz Link Explorer and Ahrefs). But the main value here comes from its features.
CognitiveSEO’s Unnatural Link Detection feature keeps you updated on your site’s link profile (or others). You’ll always know whether link profiles are prime or shady with cognitiveSEO.
Another cognitiveSEO feature is its Domain Profile Influence feature. This gives you a good idea of what percentage of your links comes from authority sites versus typical PBNs.
While it’s best to have a combination of links coming from different sources, it’s always good to know if your link profile is slacking on links from authoritative sites. If it is, you can always start performing some outreach or buy some high-quality links.
Although it’s not as in-depth as Ahrefs or Moz, the value is there at $99/month. You can also get a free trial to try it before you buy it. For those who don’t have the budget for other more expensive tools, cognitive SEO will suffice.
Link building add-ons come in handy too. While other useful extensions exist, these are some of our favourites:
BuzzStream Buzzmarker: Buzzmarker lets you add prospects as you’re surfing the web. You won’t even have to leave the website. It’ll also help you find contact information, make notes, and more. If you’re using BuzzStream, this is an essential extension.
NoFollow: NoFollow works great for highlighting nofollowed links on any page. It’s perfect for catching prospects that have added a ‘nofollow’ tag to their external links. But just because a prospect nofollows their links doesn’t mean you should exclude them. The link could still give your site some added exposure or send referral traffic to your site. Regardless, if a site uses ‘nofollow’ tags on links, your time may be better spent elsewhere.
Hunter.io: This extension can instantly scour the internet for email addresses connected to the websites you visit. Every user receives one hundred free requests each month.
Scraper: With Scraper, you can use jQuery or XPath to scrape the data from any webpage you visit. This is a great tool if you’d like to scrape prospects from Google search results or your lists. While you’ll need some knowledge of XPath to make this work, it’s an all-around excellent extension for scraping data.
Building links without tools can be disorganised guesswork. Results are rarely achieved when you guess for success.
The tools mentioned in this guide can be costly. But free link building tools are available. And some of these tools offer a free trial to try before you buy.