Link building is all the rage among competitive websites. Anyone who is interested in SEO or online marketing should know how link building works. Basically, link building is all about getting high-quality, relevant websites to link to the one you’re trying to promote. By doing so, you not only increase traffic from visitors to your website of interest, but you also give search engines an indication as to the relevance of your website. The more links you have, the more notable and important your website becomes and the higher you rate in search rankings.

As far as link-building tools go, there are two main sorts: those that help with the data and analysis side of things, and those that focus more on speeding up the process of building relationships with other site owners.

When starting out with link-building, knowing which tools to pick from the wide variety available can be tricky. Some are more popular than others, and often for good reason. So here are five excellent link-building tools to help you get started with promoting your website.


One of the hardest and most time-consuming parts of linking is getting in touch with other website owners for permission to link to their websites. This is where BuzzStream becomes invaluable. It allows you to create a database of potential link-building sites, and lets you assign them to one worker, and then offers options for getting in touch with site owners. It may sound simple, but when your potential contacts run into hundreds of site owners, things can get very messy very fast, which is why a tool like this is a great asset.

BuzzStream is a massive time saver, and it excellent when working in teams. Although it’s not free, it is quite cheap. The overall tool is not very intuitively designed, however, and the poor management system does little to help the problem.

Still, although it may take time to get the hang of, BuzzStream makes the overall link-building procedure much simpler.


Ideal for locating prospective link-building websites, Ontolo is a powerful but fairly complex tool that is irreplaceable for those who can use it. For link prospecting it is pretty much unmatched, but search phrases have to be very specific. A search phrase essentially tells Ontolo what kind of sites to search for, so if you enter something too vague, you may end up with hundreds of search results.

Ontolo’s main pros are that it is extremely powerful as a tool and offers lots of customization. It also allows end-to-end workflow management. However, it’s not free (starting at $97 per month), it has a pretty steep learning curve, and if you’re not specific with your search phrase it can result in a an overflow of data.

Nonetheless, Ontolo is great value for money and has no real substitute in the market currently.

Citation Labs

Used as a link builder, Citation Labs makes the time-consuming job of finding top-quality sites that are relevant, appropriate, active, and likely to link to you, much simpler than any of the other tools currently available out there.

The fact that it is extremely easy to get the hang of this tool really works in its favor. That, coupled with it being inexpensive and returning quality sites, makes it a hard tool to beat. Though the prospecting phrases can take a while to master, and it has a very short trial, at $27 a month and $2 a report, Citation Labs is a good solution for many.


Covering everything from on-page analysis to social media monitoring and link building, Raven’s suite of SEO tools is a powerful and versatile library to have. Although a little difficult to get a hang of, it’s worth mastering for its wide variety of options and features, including excellent link monitoring and management, and good integration with Basecamp and TextBroker.

However, the navigation takes a while to get used to and it has no internal outreach functionality. That, along with the fact that it breaks the bank at $99 a month, means Raven is a coin toss for many.


Keeping up with your competition is important, and OpenSiteExplorer helps you stay abreast of what’s happening around you. This tool offers a competitor analysis option that gives you a quick and easy way to understand what your competitors are doing to increase their rankings. This is achieved by giving you a list of metrics such as inbound links to a page or site, their anchor text, and Domain Authority (which is a score out of 100 as to the relative power of a domain).


Christina fusano is a tech blogger working with, a team of personable, skilled marketers with a massive bent towards technology and results. They provide Salesforce consulting and effective solutions for demand generation.

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  • dohliz

    BuzzStream, ontola, raven- everyone is really smart for link building. Thanks to Christina Fusano for this kind of useful article.

    • Christina Fusano

      I can’t agree more, these tools have no wonder made link building work so much easier! and Thankyou so much, I am glad you liked the post :)

  • Ben Hebert

    The title should be five killer *paid link building tools :)

    • Christina Fusano

      Certainly yes, although they are paid tools yet they provide free trials to some extent which are enough to prove that investment made on them is worth it! :)

    • Shacklebolt

      Quite Rightly Mentioned

  • Jeremy Rivera

    Howdy Christina,

    Thanks for the mention of Raven Tools! I was reading what you said about not having outreach capability and I wasn’t sure if you’d recently used the CRM and messaging features we have available. While we do integrate with MailChimp and Campaign Monitor you can actually send out messages (Via gmail integration) to your contacts and you can even setup message templates. Here’s a little more info about that capability:

  • Patrick Samphire

    “getting in touch with other website owners for permission to link to their websites”

    Seriously? What kind of screwed up world do you live in where you think that you need to ask permission to link to a site? That’s the whole point of the Internet. No one ever has to ask to link.

    Oh, no, wait. This is SEO we’re talking about, so you’re not asking to link to their site. It’s an underhand, transparent ‘tactic’ to get them to link to your site instead. I get dozens of emails asking this kind of thing, and they’re just another form of spam.

    Write good quality, interesting, useful content and you’ll get the links. Anything else is attempting to game the system, and it’s the kind of thing that has given the SEO industry such a bad reputation.

    • Murray

      I couldn’t agree more with you Patrick! I too get dozens of emails every week asking me to add a link from my site to some other site. Invariably when I look at the other site it’s just some stupid spammy site that sells diet pills or some such. I’ve given up on even reading these link requests now.

    • NetHawk

      “Write good quality, interesting, useful content…”: I couldn’t agree more. I think many people spend too much time to trick search engines that could be spent better on creating content and promoting it.

  • Mark

    I agree with Christina Fusano! And such tools help you minimize your efforts of your content visibility. In a real online business, you have to take help of the tools to give an extra boost to your business – not to mention content is valuable, only if it is reached to the maximum users.

  • Bob

    Do we really need any software for link building purpose? These are nothing but useless, hyped and over priced tools that do no good.

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