After 60 hours of researching and testing more than 40+ link-building tools on the market, we determined that SEMrush Backlink Gap is the best option for most people. It’s the fastest and easiest way to find backlink opportunities with actionable metrics. You can even use the tool for monitoring and identifying competitor backlink profiles.
The Best Link Building Tool for Most
SEMrush Backlink Gap lets you compare the backlink profiles of up to five websites simultaneously. You’ll see a list of all referring domains to those sites—making it easy to identify sites that link out to your competition but not you. Based on these results, you can identify gaps in your backlink profile to plan your outreach strategy accordingly.
The tool is really easy to use, and it provides you with tons of valuable data to help you figure out which referring domains are worth pursuing and which ones aren’t. Once you enter your domain into the tool, Backlink Gap will automatically recommend competing root domains for you to compare. You can get up to ten results for free just by providing your email address.
The Best Link Building Options to Consider:
- SEMrush Backlink Gap — Best for Most
- Ahrefs — Best Advanced SEO Tool for Link Building
- HARO — Best for Building Links in Media Outlets
- BuzzStream — Best for Link Building Outreach
- Netpeak Spider — Best For Identifying Broken Links
When it Makes Sense to Invest In Link Building
A healthy link-building strategy is crucial for SEO. Backlinks help improve your SERP rankings, establish credibility, and boost your overall site traffic.
It makes the most sense for established sites that are already getting some organic traffic to invest in link building. If you invest in link building too early, you could waste time and money on software, research, and outreach—only to get denied by prospects. Credible sites with a high domain authority typically aren’t interested in linking out to brand new websites that don’t have much value for their audience.
So a good moment to start your link-building strategy is once you have some link-worthy assets on your site. For example, maybe you have a free app cost calculator or mortgage rate calculator on your site. Do you have any independent research, custom infographics, or unique case studies that could be referenced by other sites? These can be useful to pitch during outreach.
Investing in link building is also important if you’re constantly getting out-ranked by the same competitors for multiple organic search queries. It’s possible that those websites have a better backlink profile than you. So investing in link building will help you edge out those competitors with new link opportunities and potentially steal some of their backlinks as well.
#1 – SEMrush Backlink Gap Review — The Best for Most
Trusted by more than ten million users, SEMrush is one of the most popular and reputable online marketing solutions on the web. They offer more than 50+ tools across categories like SEO, advertising, social media, and more.
So it should come as no surprise to see SEMrush Backlink Gap rank so high on our list.
Simply enter your domain, add your competitors, and the tool will quickly spit out reports that analyze up to five backlink profiles simultaneously. The reports are really easy to read and understand, which is definitely unique in a world where SEO tools have a reputation for being complicated.
You can use this information to identify new backlink opportunities based on referring domains that are giving links to your competitors. If certain sites are linking out to your competition, there’s a good chance they’ll link out to you as well.
Backlink Gap even shows you a list of domains that you should target in your link-building campaigns.
You can easily change the way results are displayed based on authority scores, monthly visits, matches, and more. The tool even lets you filter domains by best, weak, strong, shared, and unique.
Not sure who your competitors are? No problem. SEMrush will suggest competitors to analyze after you enter your domain.
Create a SEMrush account to get ten free requests. All you need is an email address and password. To continue using the Backlink Gap and other SEMrush tools, you’ll need to sign up for a paid subscription.
Plans start at just $119.95 per month. You can save up to 17% with an annual subscription.
#2 – Ahrefs Review — The Best Advanced SEO Tool For Link Building
Best Advanced SEO Tool For Link Building
As an all-in-one SEO tool, you can use Ahrefs for link building, keyword research, competitive analysis, and other advanced strategies. Use it to identify sites with a high domain rating that aren’t linking to you yet. Plans start at $99 per month.
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO software suite that’s designed for SEO professionals.
They provide a wide range of free SEO tools for basic reports, as well as advanced SEO tools available with premium memberships. So if you’re looking to build backlinks with arguably the most powerful SEO tool at your disposal, look no further than Ahrefs.
There are lots of different ways that you can use Ahrefs to build links, but the Content Explorer tool is the most straightforward.
You can run reports for any keyword and then quickly sort them by domains that haven’t linked to your website.
Ahrefs also lets you sort and filter results by organic traffic, referring domains, traffic value, domain rating, social shares, and other valuable metrics to help narrow your search.
The platform supports reverse engineering of your competition’s strategy. You can quickly find broken links and use those as opportunities to replace them with your own.
The only drawback of Ahrefs is its complexity. Since it’s designed for professionals, the tools might be a bit overwhelming for beginners. You definitely need some basic SEO knowledge to enter the correct inputs and analyze the results.
Plans start at $99 per month. However, the Content Explorer does not come with entry-level packages. You’ll need to upgrade to the Standard plan, which starts at $199 per month, to access this feature.
Sign up for an annual subscription and get two months for free.
#3 – HARO Review — Best For Building Links in Media Outlets
HARO is a bit unique compared to the other tools on our list. It’s not technically a link-building tool but rather a way to connect journalists with experts in different fields.
The acronym HARO stands for “help a reporter out.” But if you use this platform correctly, those reporters will be helping you out with a referring link back to your website.
When you sign up for HARO as a source, you’ll get new media opportunities delivered to your inbox three times per day. If you see something that fits your area of expertise, simply pitch yourself to the journalist writing the story, and you can be featured in the article.
This is arguably the easiest way to build credibility and get published in media outlets. But it’s also an excellent opportunity to build relationships with journalists.
So you could continue getting more backlinks weekly or monthly if that journalist wants to keep using you as a source. Many of the journalists on HARO write for multiple publications, so a single connection could get you backlinks from several different websites.
HARO is 100% free to join.
Paid plans let you choose keywords to filter through media opportunities. As a paid member, you can also add a profile to your pitch, increasing your chances of getting selected.
Premium subscriptions also give you the ability to sift through all active media opportunities online, as opposed to waiting for an email alert. These plans start at just $19 per month.
#4 – BuzzStream Review — The Best For Link Building Outreach
Reaching out to prospects for link opportunities might seem easy when you’re just communicating with a handful of people. But managing link-building outreach at scale is challenging if you’re just using your email and inbox and a spreadsheet.
BuzzStream simplifies this—making it easy to scale your outreach efforts.
Unlike other contact management solutions or pipeline workflow tools, BuzzStream has software that’s uniquely designed for link-building outreach.
This makes it really easy to send personalized messages that build relationships with prospects. Not only does this save you time, but it also improves your placement rates.
You can quickly set reminders for when to follow up with prospects. This ensures that you always stay relevant and never miss an opportunity.
BuzzStream even lets you sort and manage your outreach by campaign. So you can view all messages to different prospects for one specific piece of content, asset, or unique pitch.
Plans start at $24 per month for solo users and up to 1,000 contacts. For smaller teams, the next tier supports three users and 25,000 contacts for $124 per month. Regardless of your business size or outreach list, you can find a BuzzStream plan that fits your needs.
#5 – Netpeak Spider Review — The Best For Identifying Broken Links
Netpeak Spider is another tool that’s somewhat unique compared to the others on our list. That’s because it’s not really branded for link building. It’s actually known for its SEO crawler for audits, site scraping, and technical SEO insights.
But if you know how to use this tool correctly, it can be an invaluable tool for link building.
You can use the broken link building feature to identify broken links on other websites. Then you can use that information as part of your outreach strategy, pitching those prospects with a replacement link from your own site.
It’s a win-win for both parties. The webmasters for the referring domains will be happy to remove a broken link from their site, helping their SEO value. You benefit from the backlink.
With that said, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll be rewarded with a link just because you reached out and notified them.
You can also use Netpeak Spider to keep an eye on your existing backlinks once they’ve been published—ensuring that they stay active. It’s also a great tool for evaluating potential referring domains for quality before you consider them for outreach.
Plans start at $20.80 per month, and you can try it for free for 14 days.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Link Building Tools
There are specific things we looked for when researching the best link-building solutions. You can use the criteria below to weigh these factors according to your personal needs as you’re evaluating tools and narrowing down the best one for you.
The ability to identify competitors and use those backlink profiles as a reference is extremely valuable for link building.
You don’t want your competitors to have links from referring domains that aren’t part of your backlink profile.
By identifying common domains that are linking to your competitors, you can accomplish two things. First, you can add those domains to your outreach list. Second, you look for new opportunities that aren’t linking to your competitors—giving you the edge over them as you’re building your backlink profile.
Some tools force you to input other websites as your competition. Others will automatically identify competitors for you.
Many of the SEO tools designed for link building just give you reports, data, and insights. But it’s still on you to handle outreach to those prospects as you attempt to get more links.
Some tools make outreach easier by providing you with a clear list of websites as opportunities. Other times, you’ll need to curate those lists on your own.
If you’re trying to scale your outreach efforts, it’s worth using a separate tool to manage campaigns and communication. Otherwise, your prospects could fall through the cracks when you’re messaging dozens or hundreds of people trying to get build links.
This would require you to invest in multiple tools. But it’s worth it if you know how to use them effectively.
SEO Tools and Analytics
Some solutions on the market are strictly for link building. Others offer link-building features within a broader SEO product suite.
I tend to lean towards the latter, as it gives you more insights that you can use for other SEO efforts.
Some solutions on our list have features for keyword research, search traffic, competitive analysis, ad management, domain rating, and more. So you can really expand and go beyond just basic link building and even monitor your technical SEO analytics.
With that said, these tools typically require some basic SEO knowledge, and they’re not always ideal for beginners. If you go for an all-in-one option, you might be overwhelmed if you’ve never seen or used an SEO tool before.
The Top Link Building Tools in Summary
For more specific backlinking efforts, use HARO to connect with journalists and try BuzzStream to manage your link-building outreach efforts at scale. And for those of you planning to use the broken link strategy to get more backlinks, Netpeak Spider can make that possible.