Note: This post was originally published by Katy, it’s since been rewritten from the ground up by Daniel – ready to help your link building efforts in 2017 and beyond.
White hat link building goes beyond creating a great piece of content and publishing it on your website. There are a lot of things that go into it before you ever sit down at the keyboard to type.
Going through the process with no tools or the wrong tools can make it seem almost impossible to get right — impossible to get results.
How do you find the right people to contact?
How do you discover the right topics to create content around?
How do you even know if it’s working?
I know, there are a lot of questions to answer.
In this post, I’m going to explore useful white hat link building tools to add to your arsenal so your workflow will move faster, become more efficient, and deliver better results.
Rank tracking software
Rank tracking software is important for white hat link building because it lets you know whether or not your efforts are paying off and where to apply more pressure.
Pro Rank Tracker
Pro Rank Tracker is a robust tool for making sure you get and keep your rankings by allowing you to monitor every movement in the SERPs. Not only does it cover the global search terms, it tracks the map pack and local rankings.
Pro Rank Tracker comes with a few useful integrations such as Drop Box and Google Drive to help you organize your reports and accounts if you’re managing multiple sites or clients. One of my favorite features is the WP plugin which allows you to check your rankings data right from your admin dashboard.
If you’re really serious about keeping a bead on your rankings, the software comes with a mobile app that lets you handle many things on the fly. You can make and export different reports and view the most important data using the app.
Their plans start from $19/month and extend to $899/month for enterprise level reporting features.
RankTrackr is a rank tracking tool that’s been stripped of a lot of features to give it a clean and intuitive interface that does one thing well. Track your rankings. They lean towards tracking local rankings depending on where the user is searching which is a definite plus for local businesses and Ecommerce stores.
Even if that’s not what you’re looking for, you can easily dial back and understand how your website is ranking for global search terms. A neat feature is the CPC (cost per click) analysis which can quickly give you an idea of how much to bid using Google AdWords.
If you’re a developer or have a developer on the team you’ll appreciate the ability to use their APIs to create customer solutions and integrations with the tools you already use. It comes with a 10 day free trial so you can test the waters and prices range from $22/month to $133/month (when paid yearly).
AdvancedWeb Ranking Cloud
Advanced Web Ranking Cloud is very robust tool that does much more than just monitor your ranking in the SERPs. In addition to monitoring your local, global, and map pack listings, this software also integrates directly with your Google analytics account to let you know which keywords and campaigns are doing the most work.
You can easily — and painlessly — do a technical site audit to figure out what’s working well on your website and what’s holding you back. Broken links, duplicate content, and missing meta tags are just a few of the things you’ll be able to stay on top of using this tool.
One of my favorite features is their social exposure measurement. It lets you know how well you’re stacking up against the competition in terms of reach and engagement on social media. Pricing ranges from $49 to $499 a month and all plans start with a 30 day free trial.
Authority Labs is a powerful piece of rank tracking software that’ll fit perfectly in your white hat link building arsenal. You can use it to easily track local and global search terms for your website and use that information to find low hanging SEO fruit.
With the local rank tracking you can go as deep as postal code to make sure your optimization efforts are paying off. Not only can you track your own rankings, you can track the rankings of your competitors side by side.
You can also group related terms and websites together for easy viewing. Everything you need in a quick snapshot. Prices start at $99 and end at $450, but you have the option of a 30 day free trial.
Outreach is the backbone of any successful link building campaign. Without it, you’re not going to be getting much in the way of results.
Your Outreach is a simple yet powerful tool for finding and following up with influencers in your industry. It has a targeted focus which makes it easy to do what’s important, find the emails of influencers.
You can divide your workflow into projects and further divide it into campaigns to stay on top of everything. The most powerful feature of this app is the ability to schedule your emails based on the time zone of the influencer and then send an automatic reminder about your first outreach attempt.
If you’ve ever done outreach, you know how important it is to follow up with people who didn’t respond the first time. Pricing starts at free forever for the basic plan and maxes out at £50 a month.
Buzzstream is a robust tool for making your outreach campaigns run smoothly. They’ve worked hard to make finding influencers to share and link to your content seamless. You can search directly from your backend or use the Chrome extension to add promising prospects to lists you create.
When you’re pulling lists from websites like Buzzsomo, Buzzstream allows you to uploald a CVS of all the contacts you find and sort the list for relevance. Once you’ve compiled your list, it’s time to enter outreach mode.
There are pre built templates and they automatically track reply rate so you know the ones working well. Just choose a prospect and the fields are automatically populated for you. The only thing left is to hit send and be on your way. Buzzstream starts at $24/month and caps at $999/month for their custom plan.
Ninja Outreach is a newer tool and is constantly being improved. It comes with the ability to create lists of prospects based on your needs. For example, you could create a list of prospects to promote a certain article or resource.
Within the backend, there are two ways to search for prospects. You can search based on relevant social media profiles or relevant content. When searching, you can filter the results based on Domain authority, Alexa Ranking, number of backlinks, comments, and other things you find important.
Once you’ve been able to compile your list, there are a number of pre-built templates proven to work well. After that, it’s just drag, drop, a little customization, and you’re all set. Prices start at $49/month and extend to $599/month. All plans come with a 14 day free trial.
Mailshake is a simple tool that’s been stripped of everything except the core features needed to send emails to the right people. They have a collection of proven templates you can use as a plug and play solution for outreach whether you’re doing broken link building or guest posting.
Mailshake comes with the ability to schedule follow up emails and rerun campaigns that have been proven to work in the past. Of course, you can monitor clicks, replies, and open rates to make sure your campaigns are helping you arrive at your goals.
Mailshake is $9/month per team member.
Pitchbox has an intuitive interface that starts with selecting the goal of the campaign. Once done, you follow a streamlined process that takes you through choosing the best keywords to search with, personalizing your template, and setting the emails to use for your follow up sequence.
While searching for good prospects, you’ll be able to look at different metrics such as social power, Moz rank, and Majestic metrics. They have useful reporting features such as aging and pipeline.
Pipeline helps you keep your workflow up to date by moving contacts further along depending on the actions they take EG reply, accept a deal, etc. Aging helps you stay on top of hot prospects by keeping a bead on when you last followed up and how long you’ve been working on them.
Pricing starts at $95 and caps at $1500. You can also try out a 15 day trial to get familiar with the product.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
HARO is a simple platform that’s incredibly effective. When you sign up for the services, you’ll start to get three emails a day from journalists, bloggers, and business owners looking for an expert to weigh in on one topic or another.
It’s divided into different sections so you can quickly find what’s relevant to you and craft an epic reply. You may not find something for you in every email, but if you’re diligent, you’ll find gems more than a few times every week.
Short replies that get directly to the point are the best here unless they explicitly state otherwise. The best part about HARO is that journalists from all types of publications are active and it doesn’t cost a cent to receive the thrice daily email.
Muck Rack is a powerful PR tool to connect with Journalists at some of the largest publications as well as bloggers and freelancers.
There are many ways to use the tool. You can search through their database to find relevant journalists, companies, keywords, or media types. Once you configure your preferences, it’s easy to set up alerts to your inbox to continue the outreach process.
Use Muck Rack to stay up to date with trends in the media and make informed decisions about who you should be spending your time cultivating.
Ahrefs has one of the most comprehensive link databases on the planet. Of course, you can monitor your backlinks, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can track rankings, monitor competitors, see who’s linking to whom and to what, and research proven content.
One of my favorite features of the tool is the content explorer. Once you type in a keyword you can view the content related to it based on a number of filters. The language, number of shares, domain rating (an Ahrefs metric), traffic, and referring domains are a few ways you can customize the search results.
It’s a great way to find proven content you can make even better as well as guest posting opportunities in your industry. The process is simple, find someone who’s linked to a similar piece and reach out to them to link to your better content.
Use this tool to find an almost limitless supply of prospects that will be happy to link to you. Pricing starts at $99/month and ends at $999.
SEO Spyglass by Link Assistant
SEO Spyglass is a powerful backlink analysis tool by Link Assistant that lets you look under the hood of your website and the websites of the competition. It allows you to audit the links coming into your website to make sure they don’t harm your rankings.
They have a unique feature which helps you find keywords with a potentially huge impact on your website by looking at your site as is and the websites of competitors you choose.
It goes a step further by helping you understand the way social media is affecting the traffic and link profile of websites in your industry. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of where and how to apply your energy.
When taken together, SEO Spyglass is a robust tool that makes it simple to dissect your competition and build a database of prime prospects for white hat link building. SEO spyglass comes with a suite of tools which together will set you back about $300.
Authorityspy is a prospecting tool with a narrow focus. It makes it easier to find influencers and powerful blogs to reach out to and build relationships with. Instead of providing you with the contact information such as email, it’ll let you know their social profile so you can start a relationship there.
It displays useful information such as social authority and Klout score. The main benefit of the tool is being able to find authoritative profile based on location or company. That way, you can create targeted local and industry specific campaigns for your website.
Authorityspy is a desktop application so make sure that’s what you’re looking for before going in.
It starts at a one off fee of $27 and works its way up to $47 one off + $17 month.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Ontolo dashboard is how similar it looks to the WP backend. When you’re searching for certain key terms, Ontolo intuitively provides and searches for different variations of that term so your search is more comprehensive.
Ontolo brings back a healthy cocktail of information for you to populate your prospect lists with. Everything from no follow and do follow links to their email address. The sheer amount of data Ontolo provides can be overwhelming at first, but once you understand the way the tool works, it’ll become your best friend.
You can refine searches to bring back different types of data for different approaches to white hat link building.
Looking for communities? No problem.
Looking for social profiles? No problem.
Looking for competitive analysis data? No problem.
This robust tool starts at $97 and has a custom plan if you need more power.
Outreachr helps you build a 360 degree snapshot of your prospects in real time. Your data is accurate and fresh. You can search as broadly as you want or narrow it down to a sub niche to get the most out of your time and energy.
It’ll quickly populate a list of hundreds or even thousands of outreach prospects which you can slice and dice based on the metrics most important to you. Once you’re satisfied with your list, you can begin your outreach process right from the backend of the Outreachr app.
You don’t have to do it alone, get your team on board so everything moves even faster for you. Outreacher has a limited free plan then starts at $145/month and they also provide a one off services for $199.
Dibz is a pure link prospecting tool designed to simplify your workflow as much as possible. They have a useful feature that allows you to filter out websites based on the spam level. You can arrange your account to see the most important information at a glance.
The tool works hand in hand with Pitchbox so as soon as you have your prospect list, pull their contact information and start the outreach process. Dibz starts at $69/month and reaches $369/month for the enterprise plan.
Traackr is a tool that allows you to start with a list of influential individuals and work your way up from there. It has an intuitive interface giving you the ability to work with large lists and bring your team on board. In their own words, influence the influencers.
They have a unique algorithm to remove vanity metrics from the equation and lets you find the people who wield real influence. Their social listening also makes it easier for you to jump in the conversation at the right time to make a lasting impact.
Most importantly, you can track what’s working, what’s not, and keep only the most effective influencers in your arsenal.
Epic Beat by Epictions is a robust content research tool for white hat link building. After searching for your keywords, you can drill down a number of ways. You can look at general insights about the type of content, average number of shares per post, and the average number of comments.
With the content insights, you can check the platform with the most shares, the TLD, related terms, and a text analysis. The text analysis lets you see the word count, reading level, and sentiment. A useful bit of information when you’re crafting your own content to ensure you get links and shares.
It also lets you find out — based on your keywords — which influencers are sharing and which channels they like to use the most. Epic Beat is a robust tool and it’s free to register.
Impactana has a number of really useful features to get your white hat link building moving in the right direction. The tool allows you to search through a large database to understand proven content that you can emulate and make better.
After finding your content idea, move quickly to compiling your influencer list before you ever write a word. You can take it a step further by analyzing the amount of engagement the content gets as well as total number of shares across the major social platforms.
The tool also integrates with others to provide a seamless experience for getting the best content, analyzing it for backlinks, and getting their contact details.
Buzzsumo is one of my favorite tools for content research. Depending on your goals, you can search for key terms or the most popular articles on a particular website. Once the results come back, you’ll be able to see the social network it performed the best on and the people who shared it.
Using that information, you can determine proven content and the best social platforms to share it on. Buzzsumo gets pretty advanced when it comes to filtering, you can choose to change the type of content, the date published, the TLD, or even filter out domains.
Recently, they partnered with Majestic and you’re able to see the number of backlinks pointing to a piece of content and where they’re coming from. They also have an influencer search function that makes it simple to find people making waves in certain industries. Prices start as $99/month and cap at $699/month.
White hat link building tools make it easier to get results when you create great content for your audience. The tools mentioned above, when used correctly, will allow you to make the right content, for the right audience, while reaching out to the right influencers.
Choose a few that work for you and your organization, learn how to use them, and make something spectacular.
To find other amazing tools, you can check out this useful resource that’s a compilation of 800+ tools across different verticals.
Over to you:
Let me know in the comments which tools are in your arsenal and how you’re using them to get tangible results for your business.
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