20 Free or Low Cost Link Building Tools

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-dot-man-link-icon-image21902969Despite all the Google algorithm updates and menacing black-and-white animals that threaten your rankings, quality backlinks are still important. But all those linkbuilding efforts can get pretty confusing to keep track of. Not to mention, there are some awesome tools out there that help you discover linking opportunities and keep your link building campaigns on the right track.

One note of caution: Some of these tools make the process of link building almost automated. Of course, automation is a great thing until you end up with a bunch of spam you really don’t want because Google is about to throw-down another algorithm update and you’re sweating down the minutes to see if your rankings will tank. So, use these tools with your white hat on. Focus on relevance and value. It WILL pay off. We promise.

  1. Raven SEO Tools – Raven SEO Tools has an intuitive link-building interface to help you monitor your manual outreach efforts. The Link Manager tool integrates with Site Finder and Backlink Explorer, allowing you to easily queue links for outreach with just a few clicks. Get the Pro version for $99 per month or the Agency version for $249 per month.
  2. Majestic SEO – Majestic SEO’s database is among the largest of its kind. The Free version lets you evaluate the link profile for sites you own, while paid versions enable you to conduct competitive research and identify potential linking opportunities. Plans range between $49.99 and $399.99 monthly.
  3. Open Site Explorer by Moz – Open Site Explorer is “the search engine for links,” provided by none other than some of the coolest SEO guys on the block, at the newly rebranded Moz. Enter the URL you want to research, and even compare sites, all for free. BONUS: If you don’t already have it, you should definitely download the famed MozBar. It’s free, and provides valuable data on every site you visit—letting you determine in a few quick seconds whether it’s a viable link building opp or not.
  4. Link Research Tools – Link Research Tools doesn’t just help you get great new links, but it helps you identify and rid yourself of spammy links that could be hurting you under Penguin 2.0. Pricing? Well, it depends on how advanced you want to go. While the top-tier plans aren’t cheap (although worth the cost if you’re serious about improving your link profile), you can score the Starter plan for just $79 per month. (Note: Only until June 30th, so if you’re considering it, do it now. After June 30th the price goes up to $129 per month.)
  5. SEOquake – Like the MozBar, SEOquake offers free toolbars for browsers, including Firefox, Chrome and Safari to help you gauge the value of any site you’re visiting, or even the search results as you browse. Get PageRank, Alexa Rank and other info for any site at your fingertips.
  6. Ontolo – Ontolo is a suite of tools similar to Raven SEO Tools designed to help you monitor and manage your SEO and linkbuilding campaigns. Ontolo’s Instant Prospector Reports are one of the coolest and most helpful linkbuilding resources available, with an instant list of viable prospects for linkbuilding outreach. And for the Professional-level package, which costs just $97 per month, you can generate 500 Instant Prospector Reports each month. Couldn’t be simpler.
  7. Tout – If you have trouble formulating compelling messages for link outreach, Tout is a tool that lets you extract contact info from websites and use email templates for communications. The messaging is, of course, customizable, but a tool like Tout can help you work through your prospect lists more efficiently. Prices range from $30 per month to $750 per month.
  8. BuzzStream – For “link building made simple,” BuzzStream is the solution to eliminate all those time-consuming and tedious tasks. Price plans run between $29 and $249 per month, depending on the number of contacts you’re working with.
  9. Advanced Link Manager – Keep track of incoming links to your own website, and your competitors’ sites as well. Advanced Link Manager is an on-premise app, so you can download it free and take advantage of a full-featured trial for 30 days. If you like it, buy it for $99 to $599, depending on which advanced features you need—such as the ability to create printable reports, send reports by email, analyze domain quality or incorporate triggers.
  10. Link Builder by Wordtracker – Wordtracker already has a solid reputation, and it continues to build on its awesomeness with every new tool it introduces. The Link Builder lets you generate thousands of link prospects in a matter of mere seconds, sort them into themed categories (allowing you to customize your outreach with targeted messaging, while saving time—sweet!) and analyze your competitors’ strategies. How much, you ask? Only $69 per month. We suspect you have your credit card ready.
  11. Ahrefs – A simple, yet powerful search platform, Ahrefs is an easy-to-use tool that lets you examine the backlink profile for any website—yours, your competitor’s, or a random site you came across out of pure curiosity. You can use it for free, or you can opt for paid plans for a more comprehensive list of backlinks for $79 to $499 per month.
  12. SoloSEO – SoloSEO has a link management platform to help you find links, assess link quality and conduct follow-up when appropriate. For instance, SoloSEO’s automatic link checker will let you know whether your links still exist on the sites you manage, so you can find out why it was removed and how to get it back when needed. Link Build It! Is a helpful toolbar with all the stats you need to know to assess the quality of a website—then add it to your link manager without leaving the window. Cost? $29 per month to monitor up to five websites.
  13. Web SEO Analytics – Check out the backlinks that exist for your site, or evaluate your competition to identify potential link prospects for your own site. This includes reporting data in pie charts and graphs (you know how we love data visualizations…) and even an anchor text analysis. Not too shabby for a free tool.
  14. SEOBook Toolbar – Similar to the SEOquake toolbar and MozBar, SEOBook’s Toolbar is free and provides a slew of data at your fingertips to easily identify promising link prospects. PageRank, links to the domain, directory links, site age and even estimated traffic value are all displayed for any site you visit. Oh, did we mention it’s free?
  15. Sheer SEO Backlink CheckerThis tracking tool continuously monitors your site for backlinks, offering data such as anchor text, PageRank, number of outbound links in the referring page, presence of “nofollow” or “doindex” Meta tags and more. Get a free 60-day trial, after which you’ll pay between $7 and $40 per month depending on the number of keywords tracked and other features you prefer to take advantage of.
  16. Backlink Watch – A quick and painless way to quickly discover where your backlinks are coming from. And it’s free.
  17. Backlink Reporter – Backlink Reporter is a comprehensive platform for monitoring your link profile and managing your link outreach efforts. With features such as link verification, reciprocal link checking, keyword tracking, printable reports, document link age, link type and more, Backlink Reporter is the total linkbuilding platform. Choose from a Free plan, a Premium plan for $7 per month ($4 for a limited time) and a Power plan for $14 per month ($7 for a limited time).
  18. Link Nabber – Link Nabber is pretty impressive for a free tool. To use it, you must incorporate a link back to the Link Nabber site no more than two levels deep from your home page. (Not a surprising tactic from a linkbuilding tool, eh?) Then, you can use it to find blogs, forums and social bookmarking sites, submit valuable comments and start generating backlinks for your site. Keep in mind: Some will misuse this type of automation. Don’t let that be you. Make sure you’re working towards links only from relevant sites, with relevant comments on the content. Trust us, “the Penguin” will know if you’re gaming the system.
  19. seoClarity – seoClarity is a comprehensive SEO platform, including optimization tools, SEO research, site audits, reporting, and a Safe Link Builder which monitors your link profile, alerting you immediately of changes and ensuring compliance. Contact the company for pricing details.
  20. SEO Administrator Link Management Software – SEO Administrator’s Link Management Software lets you monitor your relationships with link partners, including contact information, payment details (if any), and the type of link—exchanged, purchased, sold, etc. You can also get link exchange reports and monitor reciprocal links. SEO Administrator’s software costs between $49 and $99 per month. (A more expensive package is available if you want to add-on their SEO services to the Expert package.)

How do you keep track of your incoming links? Do you use free or paid tools to manage your linkbuilding campaigns? If you’re not already using a tool that you love, one or more of these options might be just what you’re looking for. If you’re already a super-savvy link builder, we want to know your secrets! In all seriousness, we’d love to hear your feedback on your favorite linkbuilding tools and software. Let us know what you’re using, and how you like it!

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