5 simple tools for even simpler link building

Successful link building trends are continuing to evolve into genuine transactions: I have content that will appeal to your visitors. Feel free to use it, but please credit the original source.

I constantly rely on tools that simplify the sometimes-tedious link building process. You don’t need a bunch of training in SEO to use the link building tools that I mention below. You certainly don’t need to use black/gray hat tactics to find and hassle leads.

So while your head may not be spinning by the end of this list, maybe that’s a good thing. These tools may not be flashy, but they are essential. 1. Google’s Keyword Tool Every good link building strategy, much like most other SEO strategies, starts with solid keyword research.  This is the most important part, as it will form the foundation for all of the following steps. This is also the hardest part; keyword research challenges you to brainstorm how the ideal audience is searching. Luckily, Google’s Keyword Tool helps us think like the consumer.

  • Is there a significant amount of traffic for the terms I am searching?
  • Which keywords relate to this term?
  • What sites are ranking for these similar terms?

If part of your link building strategy is to contribute a relevant guest post in exchange for a link to your content piece, this tool helps with idea generation for the subject, it can become frustrating to spin the subject in new ways.

Using Keyword Research tool for link building

2. Google Search This is not really considered a tool, but it is incredibly useful. I couldn’t leave it off of the list. Once you have adopted the mindset of your target market, it’s time to test your theory. Conduct a Google search with that keyword and evaluate the sites that are coming up.

  • Is this what my target persona (let’s say a small business owner) is really interested in?
  • Do these sites have contact information for the webmaster?

The sites might be purposely ranking for the search term, meaning that they could be your competitors and probably won’t be very likely to promote your content. The point of this exercise is to filter your growing list of contenders down to those most likely to respond. 3. Raven Tools Site Finder Once you have a few keywords to start from, plug them in to the Raven Tools’ Site Finder tool. This is such an amazing tool for link building because it finds the sites that link to the pages in the top search results for that keyword!  So really, it’s doing the work for you a you don’t need to run a huge backlink check for these sites and organize your data in an excel spreadsheet according to Page Authority.  This tool already organizes them so that the highest quality sites are near the top. What this means is that it is pulling out the most authoritative sites, which have a reason to link to the highest-ranking pages for the keyword you chose. So in other words, their site has some sort of connection to the key term, and they promote content built around that term, aka YOUR content. What more could you ask for?

  • Only reach out to the top 5-10 of the recommended URLs for each keyword in order to maximize the diversity (and hopefully, positive response) of the sites you’re targeting
  • Start again with a different keyword
  • The list gets less authoritative as you move down, so moving horizontally across the list of keywords will ensure youare only reaching out to the most credible sites
Screenshot of Raven Tools site finder

  4. SEOmoz Open Site Explorer The obvious use for Open Site Explorer is to plug the URLs you just found in the site finder into this tool to make sure it has a strong enough domain and page authority. If a site’s Domain Authority is a measly 5, it’s not worth your time, and with Google’s ruthless Penguin Update on the loose, a link from a site with low credibility could actually hurt your site’s reputation. But there is an additional use for this tool. Look a little further down the page at the inbound links section.  What this is basically showing you are the sites, that link to the sites, that link to the sites, which rank for the keyword for which your target market is searching. Woah. What better way to find a community of highest authority sites discussing your content topic? Rinse and repeat for all of your keywords. And guess what? You’ve just generated a list of interested, qualified sites that can benefit from your content. 5. Boomerang Gmail Plugin Once you have reached out to multiple webmasters, the last thing that you want to do is forget or give up if they haven’t responded right away. After a designated time frame, the plugin Boomerang automatically sends back any emails that have not received a response. This tool is crucial for me, because with all of my other daily activities, it’s nearly impossible for me to remember when I reached out to whom. It might be easy to ignore a spreadsheet with the follow up date marked, but it’s hard to ignore an influx of 25 new emails. (Especially if you practice inbox zero, right Derek?) There you have it, folks! There’s not a lot of flashiness to my link building outreach strategy, but it gets the job done. Without these 5 tools, I would be completely lost. How do you simplify link building?