Looking for an easy way to get powerful backlinks? Want to automate your link-building campaigns? You’re in the right place.
In this post, we’ll be comparing the best link building tools and software solutions on the market.
These tools can help with every step in the link-building process, from prospecting for new backlink opportunities to email outreach automation, backlink tracking, and beyond.
Ready? Let’s get started!
(Why listen to me? I used to manage one of the UK’s leading link building agencies.)
The best link building tools – summary
- BuzzStream – Best outreach tool for link-building campaigns. Manage every aspect of your outreach with ease. Includes influencer research database & link monitoring.
- BuzzSumo – Best link-building tool for content analysis & influencer research. This is the tool PR pros use.
- Link Hunter – Simple but powerful link building tool to help you find link opportunities and send outreach emails. Their UI makes link building far easier.
- Semrush – Complete SEO toolkit that excels at backlink research.
#1 – BuzzStream
BuzzStream is an end-to-end outreach CRM used by the world’s best marketers, and comes in at our top pick in this link building tools list. It comes with a number of powerful link-building tools that you can use to discover link opportunities, build qualified prospect lists, send emails at scale, track your campaign progress, and so much more.
Most brands suck at outreach. There, I said it. Why? Because they have multiple team members sending emails to the same sites. And when one of them leaves, they ditch the email address along with all their fresh link opportunities.
The easy fix? Use BuzzStream. It’ll manage your entire link-building campaign process from start to finish. There’s an integrated CRM so your team can keep in sync while your campaigns keep running like a well-oiled machine.
BuzzStream also cuts the time you spend executing link-building campaigns in half (at the very least). Here’s how a typical link building campaign might look without BuzzStream:
First, you search the web looking for websites in your niche that you might be able to land a high-quality backlink placement or guest post on.
Then, you gather a bunch of metrics using different tools to measure each website’s traffic, authority, social metrics, etc., and add it all to a clunky spreadsheet.
Next, you comb through that spreadsheet, find email addresses for the websites you want to reach out to (using yet another tool), and add them to your list.
After that, you open up Gmail (or whatever platform you use) and start sending emails one by one. Then a few days later, you email every recipient again with a follow-up message.
There are a lot of steps to that process—it’s super inefficient.
Now, here’s how that same link-building campaign might look with BuzzStream.
First, use the built-in prospecting tool to quickly scour the web and find the best link-building opportunities. Automatically gather all the metrics you need to prioritize opportunities and add contacts to your list in a few clicks.
Once you have your list, send personalized outreach emails that drive results to multiple recipients in bulk or one-by-one. Use templates to save time, and automate your follow-ups.
Then, team members can use the built-in CRM to avoid sending outreach to the same sites. And you can check on their progress without having to sift through months of emails.
It’s a lot easier.
BuzzStream handles all the heavy lifting for you with powerful automations, and you can keep track of the performance of your campaigns at the touch of a button.
Plans start at $24/month. You can try BuzzStream for free with a 14-day trial.
#2 – BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo is the world’s most popular content marketing platform. It’s the go-to tool for PR pros and can help you to build and earn tons of powerful backlinks.
Unlike BuzzStream, BuzzSumo isn’t designed specifically for link building. It’s actually a content marketing tool but the built-in content analysis and influencer research tools mean you can still use it to earn awesome, white-hat links to your website.
How, you ask?
Well, first off, BuzzSumo helps you to create content that people are more likely to link to. The research and discovery tools can generate ideas for high-performing content that earns links organically—no outreach necessary.
Secondly, you can use the platform to find influencers and bloggers in your industry that are likely to link to your content. All you have to do is search for the topic of your article in the Content Analyzer to find a list of the most shared articles.
From there, select an article on a similar topic to yours and click View top sharers to see a list of influencers that have already shared it. These are your best prospects. They’ve shared your competitor’s content already, so they’ll likely share yours too.
Brand Mentions is another cool feature that can help with link building. It listens in to conversations across the web and lets you know whenever someone uses your brand name in a blog post without linking to your site.
That way, you can reach out to them and ask them to turn those unlinked brand mentions into links. It’s a powerful and easy-to-implement link-building strategy.
You can try out BuzzSumo for free for up to 10 searches/month. Paid plans with unlimited monthly searches start from $99/month.
Read our BuzzSumo review.
#3 – Link Hunter
Link Hunter is our favorite link-building tool for beginners. It features an innovative, intuitive UI that makes link building easy.
Unlike other tools, Link Hunter keeps it simple. It can do many of the same things as BuzzStream (help you find new prospects, send emails, etc.) but it’s much easier to work with. The interface is ridiculously straightforward and the outreach process is condensed into as few steps as possible.
Just choose your link-building strategy (e.g. guest posting, product reviews, paid links). Then, search for a topic related to your niche to quickly find hundreds of relevant websites that you might want a link from.
You can view all the most important metrics (like authority) for each site at a glance to help you sort the good prospects from the bad, and even preview them inside LinkHunter.
When you see a site you’re interested in building a link on, click the email icon next to it to reach out in one click. LinkHunter will instantly discover and autofill their website email.
You can use the built-in email templates (use a professional template or keep it casual) to put together the foundations of your message rapidly and then personalize it with dynamic fields as needed. If the website has a contact form instead of an email address, you can submit contact forms from within LinkHunter too—no need to open up a new website tab.
LinkHunter will keep track of all the sites you’ve contacted to let you know what stage you’re at and whether or not you’ve acquired a link from them yet.
Paid plans start from $49/month. You can get started with a 7-day free trial.
#4 – Semrush
Semrush is an all-in-one SEO toolkit that stands out for its powerful backlink research capabilities. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s the most feature-packed all-in-one SEO tool on the market.
There are dozens of different SEO tools in Semrush that can help with everything from keyword research to on-page optimization. However, it’s their Link Building and Backlink Gap tools that we are most interested in.
The Backlink Gap tool can help you to discover new link prospects that other tools miss. Use it to compare your website’s link profile to your competitors and find the domains that are linking out to your competitors, but not to you (yet). Then, target these domains in your link-building campaigns.
The Link Building tool is even more powerful. It lets you discover new opportunities using Semrush’s extensive database of over 43 trillion backlinks.
You can add the best backlink opportunities to your In progress list to connect with them later and view all the most important information about the websites you’re interested in getting a link from including contact information, social web info, etc.
Once you have your list of prospects, use the outreach module to send personalized messages that get results and help you build not just links, but valuable relationships.
Mark the backlinks you’ve gained as Done to start tracking them in Semrush. Semrush will monitor your backlink profile to make sure new backlinks you’ve acquired don’t suddenly disappear. If they do, you’ll know straight away and can contact the site owner to put things right.
These link building features make Semrush worth the price of admission alone. But when you add the other features such as rank tracking, site auditing, on-page SEO, etc – it’s surprisingly good value for money.
Semrush offers a highly limited free account you can use to try it out. When you’re ready to upgrade, plans start from $99.95/month (billed annually). A free trial is also available.
Read our Semrush review.
#5 – SE Ranking
SE Ranking is another all-in-one SEO solution that can help with your link-building campaigns.
It comes with a bunch of different SEO tools, but the most important one for link building is the Backlink Checker. It’s an analysis tool designed to help you build a data-driven link-building strategy.
All you have to do is grab your competitor’s domain name and search for it in SE Ranking. The platform will then pull up their entire backlink profile. You’ll have a complete list of every site that links out to your competitors with detailed data on all their referring domains.
You can then feed that data back into your link-building campaigns by targeting the same sites that provide your competitors’ most valuable backlinks.
Aside from the Backlink Checker, you can also use the Backlink Tracking Tool to keep track of your existing links. The Keyword Rank Tracker is another useful feature. It lets you monitor your organic ranking positions over time so you’ll be able to see whether or not your new backlinks move the needle.
SE Ranking offers flexible pricing depending on your needs. Plans start from $23.52/month.
Read our SE Ranking review.
#6 – Mangools
Mangools is an SEO toolset that comes with several different tools that are useful for link building.
You can use the SERPChecker tool to analyze the search results for a given keyword and find out the authority of ranking websites. This can help you find authoritative, niche-relevant sites that are worth targeting in your link-building campaigns.
LinkMiner is Mangools backlink analysis tool. You can enter a competitor’s URL to quickly find their most powerful backlinks based on metrics like Trust Flow, Citation Flow, etc.
You can even preview the link placement and see what anchor text it’s placed on within the tool, so you don’t have to open a bunch of tabs. Once you find a URL you’d like to get a link from, you can save them in a list to come back to later.
SiteProfiler is another Mangools tool that lets you check the SEO authority of any domain. It comes in useful when it comes to prioritizing prospects in your link-building outreach lists.
Plans start from $29.90/month. A 10-day free trial is available.
Read our Mangools review.
#7 – Hunter
Hunter is a simple but powerful tool for finding email addresses. It’s an invaluable tool for link building as you can use it to grab contact information for websites you want a link from.
Let me know if this sounds familiar: you’re prospecting for link opportunities and you’ve found a bunch of websites you’d like to acquire a backlink from. You want to reach out to them and pitch a guest post, but there’s no contact form anywhere on their site—and you can’t find an email address. What now?
It’s simple: just use Hunter.
Hunter scours the web to find contact information for the people behind the website. You can search for any domain and Hunter will provide you with a list of all the people working for the company, along with their names and email address.
There’s even a Chrome extension and Firefox add-on so you can find email addresses as you browse the web.
You can try Hunter for free with 25 monthly searches. Paid plans start at $49/month.
#8 – SEO PowerSuite
SEO PowerSuite is a downloadable SEO software solution that’s incredibly affordable and offers a generous free plan.
You can use the built-in SEO Spyglass tool for backlink research thanks to its huge database of live links. Find out which websites are linking out to your competitors and add them to your list.
The Link Assistant is another super useful tool. It can help you to find thousands of backlink opportunities and generate prospect lists for your specific link-building strategy. Ten of the most popular strategies are supported, including guest posting, directory submission, etc.
Once you’ve built your list, you can use SEO PowerSuite to verify all your contact email addresses (to maximize deliverability), then use the built-in outreach tools and email templates to start building links.
SEO PowerSuite offers free link building tools, subject to usage and access limits. Premium licenses start from $299/year.
#9 – Mailfloss
Mailfloss is an email verification tool. Use it to verify email addresses before starting your link-building campaign.
If you want your link-building campaigns to be successful and deliver the best possible results, it’s vital that your carefully-crafted outreach messages reach your recipients’ inboxes.
The last thing you want is to spend all that time putting together a list of prospects and personalizing emails, only for them to end up relegated to the spam folder.
Mailfloss can help with that. It validates all the emails you’ve added to your list before you launch your outreach campaign so that you don’t end up emailing fake or invalid addresses.
This is important as if you send out emails to invalid addresses, they’ll bounce back and hurt your deliverability rate. Having a high deliverability rate makes it less likely that your emails will be routed to the recipient’s spam folder in the future.
Plans start from $17/month. You can try Mailfloss out with a 7-day free trial.
#10 – Ahrefs
Ahrefs is another popular marketing platform and SEO toolkit. It boasts the world’s largest database of live backlinks you’ll find anywhere, which makes it ideal for competitor research and link prospecting.
A lot of Ahrefs standout features aren’t related to link building at all. Their keyword research tool is fantastic, and the built-in site auditing tool is great too.
However, it also has some tools that are most definitely useful for link building. For example, the Site Explorer can help you to uncover useful insights into your competitor’s backlinks. Likewise, the Link Intersect feature shows you the sites that are linking to several of your competitors but not you.
The Content Explorer can help you to find the most popular articles on a given topic based on the number of referring domains that link to them. You can then explore these referring domains and add them to your own link-building outreach lists.
Ahrefs starts from $83/month when you pay annually and there’s no free trial. The Content Explorer has been removed from their Lite plan and is now only available on Standard plans and above.
500 reports are allowed per month but they are used up quickly and it’s not entirely clear when you’re using a report. If you go over these reports, you’ll be billed more money automatically and without warning.
#11 – Netpeak Spider
Netpeak Spider is a desktop SEO crawler and auditing tool. You can use it to check sites for optimization issues like broken links and images, which can indirectly help with your link-building campaigns.
An SEO site audit tool in a list of link-building tools? Have I lost my mind? No!
One of the best ways to make your link-building campaigns successful is to point out or solve a problem your prospects are facing with their website.
Think about it: If someone let you know about a problem on your site, you’d welcome it, right? Exactly.
You can use Netpeak Spider to audit the sites you want to acquire a backlink from and identify issues like broken links that are hurting their rankings. This gives you an ‘in’.
Then, you can email them to let them know about the problem. This makes you seem like a good samaritan, rather than someone just looking for a backlink.
Once you’ve made initial contact and built up some goodwill, you can follow up with a pitch for a link later. They’ll be much more likely to reply and link out to you now that you’ve taken the time to build a relationship with them.
You can get started with the Freemium version of Netpeak. Paid plans start from $18.20/month.
#12 – Linkody
Linkody is another user-friendly backlink tracker with very affordable pricing plans. It offers excellent value for money.
Despite being one of the cheapest link-building solutions on the market, Linkody has a pretty great link index and some useful features.
One of our favorites is the Top Pages filter, which shows you the exact web pages of any website that the most backlinks point to.
For example, it may be that one of your competitors has a specific piece of content that generates the bulk of their backlinks. If so, you can find it with Linkody and reverse engineer it for your own campaign.
Plans start at $11.20/month. A free 30-day trial is available.
#13 – Serpstat
Last but not least, we have Serpstat—another awesome all-in-one toolkit for SEO, PPC, and Content Marketing.
Like Ahrefs and Semrush, Serpstat offers a bunch of digital marketing tools rolled into one. It comes with a powerful rank tracker, keyword research tool, site auditing tool, etc.
However, the reason it made this list is thanks to its excellent backlink analysis tool, which is ideal for link prospecting.
Use it to keep track of your competitors’ backlink strategies, discover new link-building opportunities, find content that attracts the most links, and more.
Plans start at $55/month (billed annually). Additional discounts are offered if you sign up for a plan longer than 12 months.
Link building tools FAQ
What is link building?
Link building is a practice in the field of SEO that involves acquiring hyperlinks that point to your website from other domains. We call these types of hyperlinks ‘backlinks’.
The goal of link building is to improve your off-site SEO and website authority. This, in turn, helps to improve your visibility in the search engine results pages so you can drive more organic search traffic.
Why is link building important?
Link building is important as the more high-quality, niche-relevant websites that point to your domain, the better chance you’ll have of ranking in search engines like Google for your target keyword.
This is because domain authority is one of the biggest Google ranking factors. Google’s algorithm looks at lots of different signals to determine which websites to show on the search engine results pages (SERPs), but generally, websites that are highly authoritative and trustworthy have the best chance of ranking.
The main way that Google determines how authoritative a site is is by looking at its backlink profile. Every time a high-quality website links to yours, Google sees that as a vote of confidence for your site. The more links you build, the more confidence Google will have that your site is authoritative, and the higher you’ll rank.
As a side note, you’ll need a backlink checker such as Semrush or SE Ranking to check for new backlinks pointing to your site.
Is link building still relevant to SEO?
Yes, link building is still extremely important to SEO in 2022. Backlinks and referring domains continue to correlate strongly with organic ranking position, and statistics show that top-ranking web pages typically have 3.8x as many backlinks as those further down the page.
Should you buy backlinks?
You shouldn’t buy backlinks as this goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines and can land you a Google penalty that can have serious consequences for your website and hurt your SEO.
Hiring someone to build links, on the other hand, is another thing entirely. But generally Google is against any attempts to game search engine results.
Purchasing backlinks from cheap sellers on sites like Fiverr also usually does more harm than good, as you end up with low-quality links in bad neighborhoods. This doesn’t send the right kind of signal to Google and won’t help you to rank.
Google used to apply algorithmic penalties as a result of dodgy links but they tend to ignore them these days. However, given enough scale, it’s possible they could trigger a manual penalty.
My preferred strategy is to develop internal content assets that naturally attract backlinks. This is how I’ve earned backlinks from top tier sites such as BBC, MSN, Yahoo News, TheSun, and more.
What are the best link-building strategies?
There are lots of great link-building strategies. Some of the best include the Skyscraper technique, the Broken Link Building method, infographic distribution, HARO link building, and strategic guest blogging.
What is broken link building?
Broken link building is a link-building strategy that involves finding website pages with dead links (links that point to broken pages), and then reaching out to the site owners to ask them to replace those broken links with links to similar pages on your own website.
What is HARO link building?
HARO link building is a link-building strategy that relies on the Help A Report Out (HARO) service. HARO is a PR platform that connects journalists and publishers that need help with expert sources (that’s you).
The idea is to sign up to the HARO mailing list and email reporters that are looking for feedback or advice on their latest article to share your knowledge. If they use the feedback you provide in the published article, they’ll quote you and link out to your website.
Do nofollow links help SEO?
In the past, nofollow links didn’t pass link juice. But that changed in 2019 when Google started treating nofollow links as hints to inform rankings. This means that they won’t benefit you as much as a followed link, but they’re still beneficial.
Choosing the best link building tool for your website
That concludes our guide to the best link-building tools available this year. All that’s left to do now is start building those juicy backlinks!
Still not sure which tool is the best choice for your website? Here’s a recap of our top three picks:
- BuzzStream is the best choice if you want an all-in-one link-building solution. It’s a full-featured toolkit that can help with every aspect of your outreach campaigns, from finding influencers to monitoring your backlinks and everything in between.
- BuzzSumo is the best choice for PR pros. It’s a powerful content marketing platform that doubles up as a link-building tool. Use it to generate ideas for your content and find influencers and bloggers to help you promote it.
- Link Hunter is the best choice for beginners. It’s the fastest and easiest link-building tool to use and simplifies the whole process. Use it to quickly find new link opportunities and send outreach emails in a few clicks.
And if you’re looking for other types of SEO tools, check out these posts:
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