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The 7 Coolest Link Building Tools You’ve Never Heard Of
So you’re fluent with Raven, Buzzstream, SEOmoz, Majestic, Ontolo, Citation Labs, and some of the other big link building toolsets out there. But what about when you’ve exhausted those resources? Or maybe you’re like us, and your link building campaigns are starting to lean less on classic SEO metrics and more towards social reach and engagement. Personally, I like to have a whole arsenal of tools at my disposal to help give me a different perspective on my clients’ link opportunities, as well as make that painful process of research and qualification a bit more efficient. So in honor of link building month on the Thunder blog, I decided to open up my tool chest and show some of the tools I’ve been playing around with recently.
Boardreader is a pretty sweet search engine that helps you find forums and message board posts around a specific topic. While forums don’t have the same kind of market share that the big social media sites have nowadays, some of the most engaged and relevant discussions happening around niche topics is still found on forums. I usually like to jump onto Boardreader in the beginning of a link building campaign to see what some of the most active members of a particular industry are talking about. I can usually pick up on trends that influence my content strategy, linkbait topics, and influential users. This is also a great time to start slowly engaging in the ongoing conversations and connecting with the community, so you have a better chance of promoting your linkable asset later down the line.
This is a new free app by David Wells at Hubspot that is really handy for quickly finding questions asked about a specific topic, as well as guest posting opportunities around these topics. For ongoing campaigns, I usually set up columns for these purposes in Hootsuite, but if I’m trying to find some quick Twitter engagement or guest post opportunities, this app gets the job done well.
Hoosaid touts itself as the “Pagerank for People.” It’s a free app that allows you to search Twitter users by topic and ranks them by its proprietary relevancy score. I use this tool, which is similar to Followerwonk, to try and find Twitter profiles that are relevant about a certain topic that I may want to reach out to. And as Justin Briggs outlined for Followerwonk, you can use the Chrome Scraper extension to pull the data into a Google Spreadsheet (use this XPath: //div/div/div/div/div/a to get the Twitter names and URLs). Then, all you need to do is pull in Mozscape data via the API, and you’re good to go. Quick and easy prospecting, just the way I like it!
Have you ever researched a Twitter prospect and had to spend 10 minutes digging through their account with various tools to find out how influential they are, and what types of content they tweet about? Yeah, me too, and it sucks. Enter twtrland, a really awesome free Twitter user analysis tool. Just drop in a Twitter handle, and twtrland displays all the stats and data you’ll need to determine whether or not they belong on your outreach list. From retweet ratio and a graph of their tweet types, to most popular tweets and latest photos and links, twtrland tells all! Once you use this quick analysis tool, you won’t want to do any Twitter link prospecting without it.
BlogDash is a categorized database with over 88,000 bloggers. Topics range from health to automotive, and this tool makes it easy for marketers to sort through the data. The free version of the product has its limitations, but it does offer the ability to build lists, create campaigns, save templates, and pitch bloggers straight through the platform. The best part about BlogDash is that it’s mostly comprised of bloggers who are open to being pitched by marketers. But that’s no excuse to exploit the system; if you focus on providing value to the blogger community, you’ll get value back in return.
GroupHigh is a paid tool that allows you to search its database of over 3 million active blogs by topic, and create lists of bloggers you want to reach out to. One of the coolest parts about GroupHigh is the info that they index for each blog. They pull in pretty much every metric that you’d want to know when determining whether a blog is worth reaching out to. Some of my favorites include SEOmoz metrics, social stats like followers, shares, and Klout, post frequency, number of authors, latest posts that match the search query, and contact info. If blogger outreach is a big part of your link building and PR campaigns, GroupHigh is definitely worth a serious look to help scale the high-touch process. Combine this with Buzzstream for even more outreach awesomeness!
SeededBuzz is an interesting platform that I came across recently, which helps bloggers promote each others’ content. Basically, their concept is based upon “Seeds,” which are posts that approved bloggers publish and submit to the system. Other bloggers can view the Seeds, and if an approved blogger sees a Seed that is interesting, they can create “Buzz” by writing a post related to or in response to the Seed post. They must include a link back to the original post, and at least 1 other Buzz post link. Marketers, if you’re thinking “how does this help me?”, SeededBuzz offers free access to their email list of bloggers that are open to marketing pitches. Some of the types of pitches that they’re looking for include product reviews, sponsored posts, link advertising, and video placement.
Honorable Mention: Point Blank SEO’s Link Building Strategies
A few months ago, Jon Cooper put together a rather impressive post that compiled all kinds of different link building strategies that deservedly got a ton of buzz. Well, it was only a matter of time before Rhea Drysdale pulled all of Jon’s strategies into a spreadsheet and layered on sortable timing, resource dependencies, and value levels for each strategy. After Rhea presented the spreadsheet to the audience at LinkLove Boston, Alex Czartoryski at Fresh Air Educators went to work on coding the spreadsheet for the web, effectively turning that original awesome blog post into a super useful link building strategy resource. Thanks Jon, Rhea, and Alex!
Did we miss anything? What are your favorite underhyped or unknown link building tools? Let us know in the comments—we love discovering new ways to speed up the process!