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[Tutorial] How to Build a Strong Backlink Portfolio with SEMrush

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It goes without saying that building backlinks and scheduling outreaches consumes a lot of time. You may find these tasks monotonous and frustrating for many reasons, but in terms of SEO, they do make a difference.

Performing these tasks may make you feel the need for an all-in-one solution that would provide a ready-made outline for each strategy, enabling you to cut research time. Luckily, SEMrush can help you, because our tools:

  • Carry out in-depth analysis on your backlinks and those of your competitors;
  • Recommend websites which perfectly fit your topic and can host your outbound links;
  • Enable you to add your business info on different listing platforms in a few clicks;
  • Provide contacts of site editors and PR managers you can collaborate with;
  • Suggest great ideas for making SEO-friendly content;
  • Show you what content your rivals create;
  • Help you find your rivals’ broken backlinks to replace them with yours;
  • Gather live mentions of your brand and its competitors.

Now, let’s explore in detail how SEMrush link building tools can relieve you from the headaches you have to handle daily.


Now, let’s see how SEMrush tools can help you build your backlink portfolio. For most cases, there are 9 tools helping you achieve your link building goals. And here is good news – you can use all of them in a free 30-day trial for new SEMrush users!

#1 Backlink Analytics

Goal: Explore Any Domain’s Backlink Profile

Let’s start with the main question related to link building as a whole: how do your competitors build their portfolios? Manual research on this question is very time and resource consuming. With the help of Backlink Analytics, you can figure out the backlink profiles your competitors have. You can go into a deep analysis within a total of 20,641,000,000,000 backlinks from SEMrush’s database. Check any backlink profile and carry out a complete review through a range of metrics, as follows:

  • Newly obtained backlinks
  • Lost backlinks (an outbound link that has disappeared for some reason) 
  • Backlink type (text, image, frame, etc.)
  • Links with rel-attributes, including rel-sponsored and rel-ugc, the new tags recently introduced by Google.
  • Categories of referring domains (education, electronics, shops, etc.)

This information allows you to give direction to your backlink strategies and figure out where you want to place your outbound links.

#2 Backlink Audit

Goal: Clean Up Your Backlink Profile

If you want to check if everything is okay with your backlink portfolio, the Backlink Audit tool is vital. It provides you with in-depth information on all the websites that already have your outbound links. You can check backlink types, their status, anchors, and the overall toxic score of your website, which is determined by the quality of referring domains. The tool lets you carry out in-depth analysis of your backlinks (to find broken and lost ones), and customize the list of referring domains by disavowing them (telling Google to ignore these domains). In the same tool (Remove tab), you can likewise contact a website owner to ask them to remove a backlink and track the correspondence. To get comprehensive information on your backlinks, connect to Google Search Console.

#3 Link Building Tool

Goal: Get High-Quality Backlinks

The essential tool in SEMrush allowing you to earn backlinks in a hassle-free way. The Link Building Tool (LBT) comprises prospects (recommended websites where you can place outbound links), and outreach modules, providing you with contacts and helping you reach out to these prospects. To sum up, in LBT, you can find relevant sources to earn a backlink from, automate outreach processes, and monitor your progress. Just input your domain, and provide additional information on specific keywords and main competitors. Once all the project settings are specified, you’ll get a tailored table of websites you can work with.

#4 Backlink Gap

Goal: Compare Backlink Profiles

When building a backlink portfolio, it’s important to take advantage of all opportunities. Backlink Gap helps you check your portfolio for missed opportunities. Enter your domain along with 4 rival domains, then compare each portfolio side by side. In the results table, select your domain to see which referring domains your rivals have, but you don’t.

#5 Bulk Analysis

Goal: Get Traffic Metrics For 200 Websites At Once

If you want to build a strong backlink profile, you may want to process a range of websites where you can place your outbound links. Bulk Analysis enables you to keep track of them all and evaluate their metrics in one place. You just need to make a list of the websites to work with, and paste it into the Bulk Analysis window. Once processed, you’ll get a tailored list of websites you can sort, depending on your criteria. Each figure is directly clickable to Backlink Analytics, so that you can carry out a more detailed analysis of the domain.

#6 Listing Management Tool

Goal: Improve Your Local Visibility 

Instead of monotonously inputting the information about your business on every single listing platform, you just do it all in one place, and the Listing Management tool checks and keeps the info updated on a dozen authoritative listings. This tool is specially designed for those who place their links on business directories and listings in the UK, the US and Australia. For each particular region, we have a list of directories which may be suitable for your business. You just select the location, specify your business info, check the directories you can be listed on, then click Distribute.

#7 SEO Content Template Tool:

Goal: Get Recommendations For SEO-friendly Content

Needless to say, creating good SEO-friendly content can seem difficult, especially if you want to strike a balance between readability and keyword stuffing. One of the best practices is taking a look at existing successful content and creating your own based on the metrics of your competitors adjusted for the needs of your users.

Here is what you can do with the help of the SEO Content Template tool:

  • Check your top 10 rivals using the same target keywords, and see their related texts
  • Look up keyword recommendations and semantically similar words you can use along with your target keywords
  • Get recommendations on websites where you can place your outbound link
  • Optimize your topic text length.

Based on this information, you can create a text and check it immediately in the Real-Time Content Check tab.

#8 Brand Monitoring

Goal: Check How Your Brand Performs

Link building is about spreading the word and talking about your website outside the site. So how do you check whether your strategies are performing well? By tracking mentions with the Brand Monitoring tool. The tool gathers live data from forums, social media and the web, and showcases all the brand mentions, be they positive, negative or neutral. You can check the domain’s authority score, its traffic, and find your backlinks, if any. Sort the most valuable sources and track them to stay up to date with the mentions of your brand.

#9 On Page SEO Checker

Goal: Get Relevant Recommendations For Your Content

This is our ultimate weapon for those who want to get their website on SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). On Page SEO Checker processes existing content related to your topics, and generates ideas for your content based on target keywords for every landing page of your website. These ideas suggest SEO improvements you can immediately apply to your content to boost rankings, including suggestions related to backlinks. Just specify your domain, connect Google Search Console or upload a .csv table of landings and keywords, and the tool will do the rest.

Backlink Strategies

Each of these features is used for link building strategies, proven ways to grow your profile. Recently, we carried out an extensive survey on link building strategies professionals tend to choose. We asked 850 online marketing specialists with different experience levels about how they earn backlinks. The results were as follows:

  • Guest Posting 53%
  • Resources and Links List Pages 43.55%
  • Social Media Backlinks 38.7%
  • Public Release and Content Submission 35.48%
  • Collaboration with Opinion Leaders 22.58%
  • Skyscraper Technique 4.52%
  • Replicating Competitors’ Backlinks 46.77%
  • Adding URLs to a Post 38.71%
  • Resources and Links List Pages
  • Forum and Blog Comments 22.58%
  • Business Directories and Local Citations (Listings) 38.71%
  • Broken Backlinks 38.71%
  • Unlinked Mentions 35.48%
  • Reciprocal Links (oh no!) 9.68%

To dig deeper into link building strategies, read our full studies, with the strategies explained.

Your Personal Remedy

SEMrush tools cover a broad range of marketing goals, not only in terms of link building, but for ad campaigns, content creation, SMM management, and overall competitive research – basically, everything you need for online marketing.

We’ve tried our best to build the ultimate link building suite for all the needs of SEO specialists and SMB owners, including all those who are into PR, affiliate marketing, sales, or are just trying to reach out to their potential audience.

Try our free 30-day trial for new users and save time on your marketing routines!

Marina Siradegyan

Marina Siradegyan
Content creator with >7 years of experience in online marketing. Worked in different spheres, from digital agencies to successful IT-start-ups. I believe that good content starts with educating people on how to meet their own challenges..

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