Four top tools for link building

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A great workman needs great tools… etc etc.

The truth is, there are a wealth of tools out there that can be used for link prospecting. Sure, you’ve got your Open site explorers and your SEOmoz pros – but I have a top four that I’d like to share with you.

Let’s do this…


Gorkana is fantastic. Not only does it give you access to prolific bloggers, but it also boasts an extremely large database of UK journalists. It has allowed me to build some good working relationships with  writers from publications such as the Sun Online, Mail Online and – even gaining the opportunity to write a guest post for the Indie.



It gives you access to the contact information, as well as notes about what each journalist has, will and is looking to cover. It even has a section to tell you whether particular journalists are more receptive to content pitches than others, and you can also annotate your account to reflect any active or growing relationships with a writer – it’s great.

It’s not cheap though, you’re looking at n around £6,500 for the year if you want a license, but I think it’s worth it – particularly if you’re serious about carrying out online PR activities in pursuit of links.


I cannot emphasise enough,  how useful Twitter has been for link prospecting. Granted, you shouldn’t just sign up to Twitter and think you’re going to met with a barrage of bloggers who want to beat down your office doors to sample your products and content, but it is great for reaching more people. The majority of active bloggers will naturally take to Twitter to promote their own content – so it stands to reason that it’s a good platform to engage them about your brand and potential link partnership.

Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd…

The blogging world is a community, and so through engaging with certain bloggers via Twitter, you stand a good chance of attracting the attention of others who might be interested if you have something of value to offer them.

Something I use regularly is the #journorequest hashtag, which, although has been designed for journalists and PRs, is often picked up by bloggers. For example, I might put a call out to see if any foodie bloggers would like to review some of our dining experiences, or whether any strong parental bloggers would like review a family day out on us. I always get a fairly decent response. I recommend you take the time to engage them before jumping in with any content propositions – after all, we’re all just a single fish in a sea of SEOs that are trying to pitch content to the same people.
Top bloggers usually follow other top bloggers , so having a browse at they engage with is also another good way of identifying strong link targets.

The good old advanced site operators



OK, so I haven’t broken ground here, but advanced search operators are fantastic for finding potential link prospects.

For example, when you search for the keyword term that you are chasing, add the inurl: operator to filter out any potential sites that you might like to get links from.
For example:
KEYWORD inurl:blog
KEYWORD inurl:forum
KEYWORD inurl:site

Once this finds you what you need, add these sites into Excel (the data you need to keep is the keyword, the landing page Google returns, along with the name of the domain). I’ll explain why you’ll need these later.

The allintext command:

This particular search will serve to filter out the blogs that WILL contain pages containing a particular set of keywords or phrase – for example “Reviews of short UK breaks”. If you’re looking for bloggers that review/accept content surrounding short breaks, then you’ll find what you need.

Combine this with a search like inurl:blog, and you’ll stand a good chance of finding what you need. Take the content details, DA and PR and save them in Excel. Once you’ve gathered enough, you can go about contacting them to see if they’d like to review your short breaks (apologies for the lame example).

Again, using the keyword term, plus other operators such as “reviews” “blog” etc. can yield lots of good results to contact.
There are a wealth of other search commands that will help you to chase those links – grab a look at this article from SEOmoz.

Removem link removal tool

While the fun is in the link building, sometimes you need to do a bit of digital weeding before you can plant the roses. Wait, did I just say that? Let’s move on… you get the picture.

The Link  Removem tool is fantastic because it highlights areas of over optimisation. Any areas where you have perhaps over done it with the exact match, you will then be able to go away and start building more brand anchored links in order to counter this. Have a look at the tool yourself – it is a paid tool – but you can have a play around for free.


One thought on “Four top tools for link building

  1. Pak Hou Cheung

    Hey James,

    Nice post its always good to read other peoples post about link building.

    What would you recommend as other routes that are free to “Gorkana” – I have heard many good things about it, but from what it looks like – seems it could be quite pricey.

    Pak Hou Cheung


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