Link building for long-term gains can be pretty tricky. Even with the abundance of information out there on the subject, your efforts and activities may seem overwhelming, as quality link building requires patience, diligence, and an outstanding ability to organize information.

You can try reading every blog post available, but constant search engine algorithm updates mean the “latest” tactics and techniques quickly become obsolete.  You’ll learn that best way to learn how to create quality links is through trial and error–what works for one company or with one individual might not work for another. Understanding how to win friends and influence people in your digital niche will be essential for your success.

So, what are some link building tools that can help you establish these relationships and manage long-lasting efforts? You’ll quickly discover that many of the tools that sound awesome in link building blog posts are, in fact, paid tools and do not come cheap.

I know these were the realizations I came to when I first started link building. Right then and there I decided that once I had found a bunch of free link building tools that worked for me, as someone at an SEO agency, I would share them with the world.

So, here I am with 7 free link building tools to help improve your successes in a post-Penguin update world. Enjoy!

1. SEOBook’s SEO Toolbar

Not only is this a must-have for link building, but it’s also a necessary tool for anyone in SEO, period. The SEO Toolbar shows you a number of statistics relevant to SEO, such as competitive information, number of directory listings, access to the whois.com listing for the site, and page rank.

Each of these metrics will help you qualify and prioritize your potential link opportunities so that you can be sure that you get links from sites that will pass on more link juice to your site. Not to mention, the toolbar is an extension for Firefox and just sits at the top of your browser, so it’s right at your fingertips.

2. Blogger Link Up

Before you can reap the benefits of Blogger Link Up (BLU), you’ll have to go to the site and sign up. Once you do that, you’ll receive three emails a week listing those in need of guest posts as well as those who have guest posts available.

The entries in BLU include information such as website URL, email address of point of contact, guest posting guidelines, and whether or not the site accepts guest posts that have been previously published.

From there, you’ll want to use the SEO Toolbar to qualify the ones that pique your interest to be sure that links from that site will help your own.

3. MyBlogGuest

MyBlogGuest is a website that is similar to BLU in that it serves to connect those who need content for their blogs or websites with those who write content. Personally, I have had better luck with BLU than I have with MyBlogGuest, but that could just be because the industries in which I’m trying to form relationships and link build are just not as prominent on MyBlogGuest.

I wouldn’t discount this website before giving it a try – you might enjoy a lot more success with it than I have. I know my colleagues have, which is why I couldn’t omit it from this post.

4. Tout

Have you ever been browsing a site and can’t find a contact form, email address, or any contact information to save your life? If so, you should give Tout a whirl.

Tout is a Google Chrome extension that integrates with your Gmail and helps you find email addresses, if they exist, on whatever website you’re currently browsing. It also gives you information on what is happening after you hit “send”, whether that means the email is being viewed, passed around, etc. In addition, it allows you to A/B test your messaging to see which is getting a higher response rate.

5. Streak

Streak is another Google Chrome extension that integrates with your Gmail to help you manage your reach out flawlessly. With Streak you can create a custom pipeline that allows you to track every person and/or site you have contacted and where in the pipeline they are.

With one glance, you can know exactly how many people you have contacted, are in negotiations with, have committed to sending a guest post, have published your guest post, or have declined to work with you.

Oh, and you can also create email templates and assign them to specific pipelines. This is super helpful once you’ve discovered which reach outs have the highest success rate.

6. Rapportive

Rapportive is yet another Google Chrome extension that integrates with your Gmail, but unlike the last two Chrome extensions, this one is focused around social media properties.

Rapportive appears whenever you are in an email thread on the right hand side and will show you information about the person you are emailing with. Such information includes the person’s location, Twitter handle, recent tweets, Facebook link, Linked In link, and other recent online correspondence between you and that person.

How does this come in handy, you ask? Well, because if you email someone in your reach out and then follow up via social media, your success rate is much higher. People love getting love on social media. Not to mention, Rapportive allows you to make personalized notes that are tied with that specific email address.

7. Open Site Explorer

This is a paid tool by SEOMoz that allows you to perform backlink analyses on any website your heart desires, whether it’s your website or your competitors. However, SEOMoz does permit Open Site Explorer guests to run 3 reports per day without paying – hence, how it ended up in this post as a “free” link building tool.

Personally, I use Open Site Explorer to run back link reports on competitors and I then pursue getting links from those sites that our competitors already have links from – as long as their relevant and not spammy.

BONUS

The first 7 were legitimate tools you’ll find online that you can use to help you link build, but I want to emphasize the necessary qualities a person must have to be a successful link builder.

First, you must be personable; you should look at link building as a sales person would. If the person you’re trying to get a link from doesn’t like your pitch, you won’t be getting that link.

Second, you must be patient; not everyone you reach out to will respond right away, if at all. In my experiences, about 1 in 10 people you reach out to will respond to your first email; maybe 2 in 10 if you’re lucky.

Third, you must be persistent; of those 1 or 2 in 10 responses to your first email reach out, but about 3 more will respond when you follow up a week or two down the road with another email.

Quality link building is more than tricks, it’s being patient and organizing your efforts as you work to build sustainable online relationships. These free link building tools are here to make your endeavors as efficient and easy as possible.