Roundup of what I use for link development.
Note: I don't so much use tools for link development. I use tools and sources for link development ideas. I develop my links by hand.
1) Raven Tools. Backlink checker (haven't even looked at any of the other tools) It's either that or majestic I guess, and Raven has a nicer looking website. $99/month is a bit steep for a one person operation and I'd like to get out from under that, but right now, it is what it is. Anyway, the tool's nice, I like that it generates a report I can reference repeatedly. I think my next step is to drag the report into a spreadsheet so I can scale the report back to one line per domain (If you've got a ROS link, the report shows a line for every page).
2) The link dev forum here. I have maintained for years that your first order of business needs to be to read every single link dev post going back 2 years. Sounds corny, but it's true - you'll get ideas by reading this stuff. If you haven't followed all or most of the posts, take some time and do that. Heck, I've posted like 3000 times there, I must posted at least one thing that you'd find slightly above a waste of time.
3) Eric Ward's newsletter. I hesitate to even post this. It's a name I've seen through the years but not often. No idea why that is, and don't care, but I went down the rabbit hole on more than 3 .edu level links just from the welcome email on that newsletter. A fourth one I already knew about. Note: this is throwback link dev. If you still believe in .edu level links, this is a breath of fresh air. This is an example of things I think 'I probably shouldn't post that', then I realize most people don't listen even when you show them directly what works, so there it is. Get the newsletter or don't, but if you don't, well, I got nothing. the newsletter is in my ongoing 'todo' file.
4) Logs. Still overlooked and I don't do it often enough. Logs won't do link dev, but search terms and referrals provide golden nuggets on new content ideas.
5) The phone. Not cold calling - call your buddies regularly. If you just got back from pubcon, pick up the phone and call everyone you met. If you call 10 new friends you met at pubcon and don't get at least one link dev idea thrown at you, I'll eat my hat.
All that together, here's some examples of what comes from all that:
- PR6 backlink, authority site. Cost: $250. Website URL: your local chamber of commerce. Found that looking at *my own* backlinks of all things - then realizing that I could apply to chambers of commerce of locations that are near to me. The next city over is happy to take my clams in exchange for a membership, even if I never attend.
- I have a calculator on my site that cropped up for a really weird long tail term. The logs exposed a related niche to get links from.
- I already indicated how the newsletter helped.
- I actually emailed (not called) someone new I met at pubcon. Got a guest post blog out of them, they seemed less enthusiastic about my suggestion that I bring my family to their house so they can show me how they go crab fishing. People are funny that way. And not funny ha-ha either. Funny sideways creepy look funny.