A new client recently asked us, "what inbound link building tools do you use?" There truly isn't a short answer to this, as every marketing, advertising or communications campaign requires different link building strategies or tactics, and SEO/link management tools and methods are changing as quickly as the search engine algorithms, and industry's response.
"Tools" itself is a loaded term - our "tools" might include:
- relationships and social/business networks
- our brains and experience
- 3rd-party or client software
- home-grown software
- outsourced linkbuilding personnel
- business processes
- industry research
- on and offsite analytics
- 3rd-party or client publishers and affiliates
- email, direct and affiliate
- in-house content networks
- social media
- new media
- "real life", print and broadcast media advertising
- ...and more
Here's our brief answer to this client:
"Regarding "programs used for linkbuilding", we use a variety of tools, methods and services for linkbuilding, depending on the type, style and scope of the marketing campaign. As you know, inbound links can come from all kinds of places, from websites and emails to web applications, social media sites and conversations. We assess, place and manage links differently for high-value websites than for article submissions, tweets or bookmarking services; additionally, many opportunities exist for link placement that will cost additional fees. Some campaigns do better with a heavy emphasis on link-building through local or niche community-building; others do better, faster with a focus on popular, industry-specific online publications, reference sites and directories. We find that, especially for rich anchor keywords embedded in contextually-relevant text, hand-placement of links (vs. auto-generators) tends to work best."
Additionally, while we leverage many industry best practices, standards and methods, there are certainly many layers of inhouse expertise, tooling and capabilities we've built as intellectual capital specifically for our own clients...this intellectual capital is a competitive advantage and we typically don't share all the details - we share the great results and return-on-investment.