My silence regarding 3rd party linking analysis tools has been mistaken by several people as meaning I don’t like them. Quite the contrary. I do like them, and I’ll post here what I’ve published on a few other blogs, almost verbatim.
Over the years I have lost count of the 3rd party link building and link analysis tools and software I’ve tried out, many of which are long gone. What is most telling to me is that I abandon them when it comes time for heavy lifting deep vertical link target ID and evaluation. I won’t go so far as to say “All you need is Google and your brain,” but it’s close to being true, at least for the type of client content I work with. I commend Rand for it, and I will use it to augment my approach to the link building research process when I feel it will help me.
The savviest link builders know how and when to use tools and when to get down and dirty with Google advanced search operators
On the other hand, I’ve never been a big user of any tools other than my own privately created (and simple) scripts. As much as I want and look forward to every new instrument, I keep thinking about Rocky IV, where Ivan Drago was using every cutting edge tool and training method available, while Rocky Balboa ran around in the snow with a log on his back. The savviest link builders know how and when to use tools and logs.
Lost in all this tool talk is that it doesn’t matter how rocking your link intelligence is if you don’t have meritorious content that can earn the types of links that matter in the first place. I have my methodology to ID the exact set of targets that will allow just about any site in any vertical to rank extremely high. But this information is useless unless it is used by a truly meritorious site that also knows how to seek and get those links. No tool can finish this journey for you, and like Rocky in the snow or a marathon runner, the first part is easy. It’s the last few miles that are hard, and where the battle is won.