Get to Know Link Research Tools

Search engine optimization (SEO) is probably the most erratic and uncertain area of Internet marketing. However, while relatively new Web practices such as social media may be impacting search engine results pages (SERPs), there are a few conventions that will always remain pertinent.


Acquiring authoritative, relevant links to improve your site's rankings is definitely one of those vital practices.


Anyone who has any experience in SEO can attest to the fact that the amount and quality of outside websites linking to yours is one of the most important factors in deciding where your site will be positioned on SERPs. But that's not all that links do. One of the misconceptions that some SEOs have is that links are used exclusively for higher rankings, but there is another very important benefit.

Good links - citations in the form of product reviews or announcements on other sites - also drive traffic. In this respect, mentally shifting your focus will change how you build links and improve your search rankings in a natural or "organic" way. Fortunately for those just starting out, or those who may need a little extra help acquiring links, there are a number of tools on the Web to help you do just that. Let's set out and explore the vast world of link-building tools to find some of the very best the Web has to offer.



Perfect for beginners and seasoned pros alike, Ontolo offers enough functionality to complement any linkbuilding initiative. One useful feature is Ontolo's Link Building Query Generator tool that helps find the best possible prospects for link-building campaigns.

Using a simple search feature, users can enter keywords, the asset type they are promoting (events, deals/promotions, job openings, etc.), the kind of opportunity they want to find (review links, guest posts, etc.) and style of content they want to promote (blogs, feed lists, review aggregators, etc.). The narrowly defined results will help uncover the best options for users to pursue in their link-building efforts.

And since Ontolo crawls and analyzes approximately 15,000 URLs per month for users, you know it has a pretty substantial database from which to pull.


Majestic SEO

Boasting the "largest index of its kind publicly available," Majestic SEO is one of the most accomplished and acclaimed link-building tools on the market. Majestic lets site owners/operators see their top-referring domains - those websites that drive the most traffic to the user's site; as well as their link velocity - the speed or time it takes to increase backlinks for a site, for the last month, and top links and/or the best pages that link to their websites.

Overall, this tool gives SEO workers a very complete view of the performance of their site's backlinks thanks to a slew of assorted testing tools and its massive database of information. Majestic SEO comes in both free and various premium packages.



Raven is arguably the best tool on the market for link management. Simply put, link management is all about managing link prospects, and this solution does that by letting users assign statuses to links (such as "Requested"), identify the type of link, set the team member or "owner" managing that particular link and tag it for future reference, among many other means of classification.

Over time, users can go back and update a link's information, which will help uncover which ones need attention. The tool will even let users choose certain links and specify intervals at which Raven will check the status of all of the active selected links and report back any changes.


Open Site Explorer

SEO software provider SEOmoz has one product totally dedicated to the art of link building: Open Site Explorer. This solution lets users search for any website and retrieve information about the total number of both backlinks for the page and linking domains, which are the main addresses of sites that have at least one page linking to the user's website.

It helps identify the domains on which the user's site already has links and picks out new prospects from which to obtain links. The query will even reveal the page's link anchor text. For premium users, there is no limit on the number of backlinks they can see, for both their own site and the sites of their competitors. Open Site Explorer will also reveal data about a user's top pages, their authority and the number of links to that particular page.



BuzzStream is another tool largely designed for the management, cataloging and tracking of links, although it offers a variety of services such as list building, relationship management and link prospect research. Users will all be able to access BuzzStream's free tools, which include an email research tool, the ability to extract links with anchor text from HTML, a link-building query generator and much more.

For subscribers, BuzzStream also offers a list builder, influence-evaluation tool that imports a list of domains and studies their key metrics, and a social-influencer research tool that finds out how many people are discussing the user's brand on Twitter, blogs and social bookmarking sites, as well as collecting keyword metrics from these sites.



The newest link building tool on the list, Ahrefs approaches link building in much the same way as Majestic and Open Site Explorer. For example, this solution offers a domain search query option that lets users view information about a site or page's external, new or lost backlinks, anchor text links, crawled pages and referring domains.

In addition, by consistently updating its index every half hour, Ahrefs is able to keep and supply users with incredibly accurate data about backlinks. Link building is undoubtedly necessary if you want to have any success in your SEO efforts, and like most things on the Web, no one expects you to do it alone. Highlighted here are six of the best link-building tools that cover a variety of needs in the field. They are not the only options, of course, but they certainly present a great place for webmasters and SEO workers to start looking.