Once upon a time in the last two decades, a supposedly wise man told me that a carpenter is only as good as his tools or a poor carpenter blames his tools... either way it had to deal with tools and it turned out the man was an idiot and led his life solely on antiquated sayings and ended up dying, cold and alone, while trying to watch a pot of water boil.
Tools certainly don’t make the link builder, but they do make link builders more efficient. These are some of the tools that I use day in and day out while working at Page One Power.
MozBar and Open Site Explorer
These tools are available through SEOmoz and are some of my most heavily used tools. MozBar is a browser application that gives up to date info on whatever page you happen to be viewing. With only a glance, I can check a sites domain authority and page authority as determined by SEOmoz. The search engine result page (SERP) overlay available through MozBar is another great feature. The overlay displays the DA and PA of the links without having to click on them, which helps to weed out undesirable (DA below 20) sites. MozBar can be a bit glitchy, but plugging a URL into Open Site Explorer brings up even more information than MozBar such as linking domains, total links, and social shares – all of which help tell me if a site is worth the effort to outreach.
Rapportive and Boomerang
Speaking of outreach, these two Gmail add-ons have been a huge help to me. Both are free and integrate seamlessly with Gmail’s layout, new or old. In my opinion, outreach is one, if not the, most important aspects of link building. Without establishing a relationship with the person you’re contacting, you have little chance of securing a link.
Rapportive shows me who I’m communicating with by showing a picture along with all of their social media profiles that are connected with the email I have selected. I can circle, friend, connect, or follow them directly from Gmail and I’m also shown any recent emails from the contact; this helps to keep my ducks in a row and not accidentally outreach to someone twice.
Boomerang for Gmail allows me to delay sending an email until a specific time and alerts me to emails that I haven’t received a response from. Delaying an email allows you to choose a specific time for the email to be sent. This means if I’m composing an email at the end of the day I can choose for the email to be sent out early the next business morning and, hopefully, it will show up on top of the recipient’s inbox and won’t get lost – this is especially useful if you’re thinking about outreaching to someone over a weekend when emails are more likely to get lost, simply set the email to send on Monday morning.
As I stated above, Boomerang lives up to my Australian ancestry by shooting me an email back if I don’t get a response, or if I just want a reminder. There are set times to choose from ranging from one, two, four days, up to months or a year, or you can set your own time for the reminder. Following up to un-responded emails is vital. Too often your initial outreach email winds up buried pages down an inbox or sent to a spam folder. Never give up after the first, second, or even third attempted outreach.
Link building takes you to all corners of the internet, and a lot of the corners turn into dark alleyways with shady characters trying to sell you thinly veiled viruses and malware. While link building is trying to come clean (thanks to Google’s crack down on spam) there are still thousands of less than reputable sites that try to cut corners. Protect yourself with a strong antivirus. This is nothing new and shouldn’t need to be reiterated. At Page One Power we use Avast’s free service.
These are Chrome extensions that I don’t use everyday, but I use them enough that they deserve a mention.
- Screen Capture (by Google)
This tool allows you to capture the full screen or only a part of it. You can also highlight, grey out, and add text to the captured images. This is handy when writing guest posts that feature a website, app, or product that you want to include an example of. Hint: Webmasters and editors LOVE screenshots. You can also use the Snippet tool if you are using Windows.
- Chrome Time Track
This is more of a logistical tool, but if you’re bouncing between different clients throughout the day this time tracking tool helps to manage time spent on clients or specific projects. It’s a very simple extension but it does its job well.
- SEO for Chrome
This extension shows a lot of information pulled from different sources like MajesticSEO, Alexa, Google, and a host of others. I ignore this data for the most part since I use MozBar and OSE, but there is one extremely handy feature that is always active. On the bottom left of the extension there is a box you can click that will show all nofollow links on any page. While nofollow links do add some benefit, this can help you stay away from sites that only give nofollow links if that is something you want to avoid.
Don’t be headstrong, use the tools that are available to you and be a better link builder for it, just don’t completely rely on them. Just because MozBar shows that a site has a low DA doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue a link on the site. Use your brain, it’s the greatest tool you have.