Link building is the bread and butter of SEO marketing.
In order for your site to increase its traffic and visibility, link building is essential. Working almost like a spider’s web, Google crawls existing sites for any new links which it can index. The more links your site has on external sites, the more likely it is to appear in users search results.
Links also help your site to rank for relevant keywords. For example, if you own a pet store you should aim to be getting links on external sites using anchor text such a ‘pet supplies’. Anchor text simply refers to the words that the link is attached too – the hyperlink.
If you’re new to SEO link building, here are some of Modo25’s top tools to get your started.
Table of Contents
Ahrefs is a great place to start for competitor research. With Ahrefs, you can input your competitor’s domain and it will bring up all the backlinks to their site. A ‘backlink’ is the term used to describe a site that references your site – so, a link.
By scoping out your competitor’s backlinks, you can see where they are getting their links from. This might be through press release coverage, guest posting on blogs or directories. From there, you will have a list of sites you know post relevant content to your brand and are willing to also include a link.
Ahrefs also has a lot of other tools such as the ‘content explorer’ which can help you to find published content based on keywords. It also provides you with some metrics such as domain rating and URL rating. These are important for determining which backlinks are from quality sources.
Much like Ahrefs, SEMrush can give you an indication of a sites overall score based on backlinks and traffic. Where SEMrush differs from Ahrefs is that it provides you with far more keyword research abilities.
Keywords are either long or short tail. Short tail keywords tend to just be a single word or maybe two. Long-tail keywords are phrases or questions. Keywords are the terms that your website ranks for. Remember the pet store example from earlier – well, SEMrush would give you the ability to research keyword variations.
By doing this, you should be able to get a strong list of keywords you can then include in content that is published on other sites. This will help your site to rank for those terms and capture relevant conversion-high traffic.
While finding backlinks in Ahrefs is easy, filtering through them isn’t. That’s where tools such as URL Profiler come in handy. URL Profiler allows you to input thousands of backlinks at once to their platform. All you need to do is export the backlinks you have found in Ahrefs and copy them into URL Profiler. From there, you can then enable a series of filters to help narrow down your results.
For businesses and brands, in particular, there will likely be countless spammy links from random websites. Of course, you don’t want to try and get links from those sites. URL Profiler can help you to weed out the irrelevant domains to leave you with a list of relevant and authoritative sites which you can outreach to.
In terms of more traditional media, you can try your luck with HARO. An email subscription that sends you the latest journo requests, HARO is great for finding some potential media coverage. HARO allows you to select niches and will then send you two emails a day with the latest requests from journalists.
This is great for real-time PR and can be incredibly effective for link building. Typically, it will be a request for a quote to back up an article. Sometimes it can be interview requests or product calls for reviews. Either way, there are daily opportunities to be had.
The only thing to keep in mind is that this requires a capacity for someone to be regularly checking and reacting as and when the emails come through. Otherwise, you’ll miss your chance.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
Similar in some ways to URL Profiler, Screaming Frog allows you to check your own backlinks in more detail. While you can undoubtedly use Screaming Frog for competitor research, it can come in more use for your own site.
By inputting all of your site’s backlinks, you can easily see things like bad redirects, meta refreshes, duplicate pages, missing metadata and more. This means you can get in touch with those sites to fix any of these errors and get your SEO on track.
Screaming Frog is great for both site and content audits and is a handy thing to refer back to every now and then. Almost like a health check but for your website.
When it comes to doing the outreach work itself, you’re best off drafting in some software to help you do it. That’s where Pitchbox comes into play.
Imagine manually logging all the relevant sites you find that would be good to get a link with. You’d then have to look up the email address and contact details as well as check all of the metrics on the various tools and finally draft an individual email to each. Pretty time-consuming, right?
Well, Pitchbox takes all of that manual effort and automates it for you. Say you find a relevant blog or online-based publication. All you need to do is ‘add’ this to Pitchbox using a browser extension and it will be added to a campaign you have created in the platform.
After you’ve spent some time researching and logging various domains, head back into Pitchbox and all of your saved domains will appear in their assigned campaigns. This is where it gets really nifty – Pitchbox will scan all of the domains itself to find the relevant metrics and contact details.
All you need to do is set up an email template and hit send – that’s it. You can contact hundreds of people every day without the intensive and manual effort required to individually check every domain as well as use a separate provider to then send emails.
Moz is a long-standing SEO favourite when it comes to outreach and link building. It works much the same as some of the previously mentioned platforms, Ahrefs and SEMrush.
Moz provides insight into your competitors backlink history including domains, their authority ratings and anchor texts used.
While not offering anything ground-breaking as such, Moz can be a great indicator on the types of sites your competitors are using and their respective domain authority score. Domain authority (DA) is a score given by Moz based on the traffic and backlinks of a domain – the higher the score, the better the site.
Each of these backlink platforms can provide different results. After all, they use their own algorithm to provide their metrics. That’s why we’d recommend using one platform to base your metrics on. This way, you will have far more consistent outreach practices.