Link building is such a vital, yet time consuming task that it is no wonder link builders are always on the lookout fortools to help with their trade. And there are many great ones out there, both free and pay-to-play. But the question is: just what are you looking for in a great link building tool?
Any great link building tool should be able to do two basic things: help find quality prospects and help monitor the status of your link building projects.
When finding prospects, these tools will need to provide data so that you can determine their quality and relevance to your site. Determining if the site already links to you, the number of unique visitors to their site and metrics like PR, MozRank, SERP and inbound links are common to many tools. But you will also want help gathering contact information for your prospective link partner. Email for certain, but Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook contact info would be useful as well. Also, some content data is useful at this stage to help determine relevance (i.e. RSS feeds and search snippets).
A great link building tool will also help you track the status of your projects. It would track the overall status of your communications, whether you have started, are you attempting to reach the contact, do you have a link agreement in place, were you rejected, etc. And once you have established a link, it should notify you if your link is moved or no followed, the anchor text is missing, or if PR or outbound links change. It should keep a user friendly database of identified link opportunities with filters available for creating reports. Also, you will want a tool that helps build outreach. Does it keep track of previous communications (emails, tweets, etc.), did you assign the prospect to others or does it allow you to update project notes are all features a great link building tool will have.
Next time I will take a look at some of the popular (and not so popular) tools available and see how they compare to the vision outlined above. In the meantime, let me know: just what is it you look for in a great link building tool?