A few months ago, I blogged about helpful linkbuilding tools. I’d like to do a quick synopsis of another set of tools, called ‘Link Research Tools’. First I’ll do a quick run down on the top tools and then offer a little background on Link Research Tools metrics and what sets them apart from similar tools. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to use the comments section as a discussion forum or to recommend other SEO tools.
Popular Link Research Tools
The Common Back Links Tool: This back links tool finds links that are linking to at least two domains, or specific pages, that you choose to compare. One good reason to use this tool: if you compare two competitor sites, you will likely find links that you may have an opportunity to gain.
The SERP Research Tool This tool is one of my favorites. It allows you to search for potential places to post your link, using your keywords to make sure the pages are relevant. It also checks to make sure you haven’t already posted a link in that location, because if you post several links a. you’re annoying and b. it looks spammy. (Your common (SEO) sense comes in to play here – this is a great way to find links to post on but if you aren’t posting something useful, you are going to look spammy even if you only post once.)
The Competitive Landscape Analyzer This tool basically compares you with your competitors, head to head, across several SEO metrics. It can help you determine a strategy by pointing out your strengths and weaknesses.
The Backlink Profiler This tool looks up all of the backlinks for a domain and brings you back loads of information about each one. With this tool, you can see the anchor text, the type of link (follow, no-follow), and what type of site is linking to you (blog, forum, directory, etc.). Beyond the ability to find additional links, if you check out a competitor’s backlinks, you can also use this tool to organize and categorize your current links.
What Sets Link Research Tools Apart?
In talking to a Link Research Tools representative, my first question was to ask them how they differed from other SEO tools. According to the representative, one of their major pulls stems from the fact that many other SEO tools (including SEOmoz) have their own pre-crawled and pre-analyzed data, which allows them to do analysis based on a limited number of metrics (mozRank, Page & Domain Authority, etc.) very, very quickly. Also, for link data, although it the data is pulled quickly, it is very often outdated because they don’t know when a link goes down until they re-crawl the page on which the link should be.
Link Research Tools use not one but more than 20 different data sources and support approximately 50 different metrics – including all the SEOmoz metrics, but also many, many more. Additionally, Link Research Tools crawl all the data live, which means that the data in a report is never outdated. With Link Research Tools, you can be 100% sure that every single link you see in a Backlink Profiler report that is marked as “Follow” is actually still follow. Dropped links are marked as “[LinkNotFound]” (or ignored, if you have the Superhero package and choose to ignore dropped links from your report).
Also, according to the representative, Link Research Tools actually have a number of metrics that *no* other SEO tool, as far as he knows. (I don’t know of any other tools that have these metrics either, so if you’ve heard of similar tools, I’d love to hear about them!) Link Research Tools exclusive metrics include the “Theme”, which shows you the topic a site has and is great for the analysis of the thematical relevance of the backlinks for a site. They also have the “SiteType”, which shows the type of software that’s behind the site, like Blog, Forum or CMS. Link Research Tools also support social metrics like Facebook Likes, Retweets, etc. I could glady talk all day about the (increasing) importance of social media in your SEO efforts but that’s another blog post.
If you look at the Case Studies at http://www.linkresearchtools.com/case-studies/ you’ll find that these metrics, exclusive to Link Research Tools, can actually matter quite a bit.
The downfall to Link Research Tools, is that it takes some time. In order to aggregate loads of new data, you have to wait anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. The length of time a report takes is proportional to the size of report and the number of metrics selected, so it’s not entirely out of your control if you need to run a few reports ASAP. All in all, that’s a small price to pay for good data (and lots of it!), there are some tools that we use here at Hanapin that require us to run reports over night because they take so long. Like I said, for good data, it’s worth it.
I’d love to hear a rebuttle from other representatives, namely an SEOmoz representative, since SEOmoz is widely known and was used as a benchmark in several comparisons. Both Link Research Tools and the SEOmoz tools are very helpful in analyzing SEO efforts, especially linkbuilding. There are pros and cons of all tools but the larger your toobox is, the more opportunities you have to build a strong search engine marketing strategy for your site.
Amy is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.