Welcome to my updated digital toolkit post. With the rollouts of Penguin 4, Fred, The Maccabees and the various other small updates in 2016/2017 as well as Googles Rankbrain getting smarter by the month, a bunch of tools I used to use on a daily basis no longer have the effect they once did in the SERPs. Due to this, I have updated this post to show my current tools and services at the top while still showing the old tools I no longer use in the legacy section of the post as readers are still able to get discounts on many of the tools via my links.
After having a bunch of trouble with a number of different hosting providers I decided to try Cloudways out, so far I am very happy with my experience with them. They are cheap with excellent customer support and an easy to use interface.
Manual Backlink Submission Services
Although the vast majority of my link building comes from the automated tools above I am starting to use this manual web 2.0 submission service for my tier one web 2.0s. The service offers a stronger set of domains that tend to have a better stick rate than automated web 2.0s and it is cheap!
I am yet to find an automated tool that has a high success rate on high end social bookmarking sites so I am forced to either do it manually or use this manual social bookmarking service. Just be sure to select the manual package rather than the automated ones.
Similar to the above, the manual profiles tend to have a better stick rate than automated submissions but I tent to stick with the lower volume manual profile submissions just to add a little domain diversification on tier one.
Although they have released a bunch of cash grabs in 2017 making it harder to find cheap freelancers who produce good work, UpWork is still my current go-to marketplace to find freelancers.
Similar to UpWork, Fiverr have also released a bunch of cash grabs recently but I still use them for some quick and easy logo gigs as and when I need them.
In all honesty, this is the only domain registrar I can recall ever using. They offer free whois protection on our domains for the first year and they also offer some top-level domain extensions for as little as 88 cents meaning you can build up a test network on the cheap with them.
Legacy Tools I No Longer Use
Automated Backlink Creators
GSA Search Engine Ranker is one of the most widely used automated backlink creation tools on the market right now. It is based around prescripted templates that target a number of content management systems that are in widespread use to allow a large number of links to be created in a very short time.
That being said the tool can do so much more than just create links, it has a built-in search engine scraper, proxy scraper, media scraper and link extractor amongst a bunch of other features.
I personally feel that SEREngines would have been better as a stand alone tool rather than a plugin for GSA Search Engine Ranker but we have what we have. Version one of the tool was a total waste of time but after a few months of beta testing version two it has came on leaps and bounds in my opinion and is currently my go to web 2.0 tool at a much cheaper price than Ranker X.
Although Scrapebox does have the ability to create automated and semi-automated backlinks my main use for the tool is search engine scraping as well as index checking.
Automated Image Captcha Solving
In my opinion, GSA Captcha Breaker is the undisputed king of automated captcha solving, it is a one-time payment and currently supports 1262 captchas with new captcha types added on a regular basis. It also has a native filtering system to enable the user to select captcha types to send to external captcha solvers to further increase the users success rate as well as the ability for the user to add their own custom captchas.
In my experience, 2Captcha is the best human solved captcha service on the market right now. Due to it having a per captcha pricing structure I only send captcha types to it that require human interaction such as ReCaptcha.
Throw Away Email Accounts
Easy to use, cheap and lightning fast for link building with GSA Search Engine Ranker I can’t recommend them enough! However, catch all emails do not perform very well with web 2.0 platforms so I use actual throw away emails for my web 2.0 projects.
With Catch All emails doing the bulk of my heavy lifting I use actual throw away email accounts from Fiverr in my web 2.0 projects.
VPS’ And Servers
This is a nice entry level package for anyone’s first VPS, it retails at around the $30-$40 per month mark. I know there are cheaper packages out there but I see no reason to spend money on a machine that will struggle to run tools. You can read my post here to see how I got this exact VPS to over 600 links per minute.
A total beast when it comes to VPS’, I have used these in the past and managed to get them upto over 900 links per minute when using GSA Search Engine Ranker. It retails around the $60-$70 per month price range meaning it may be more efficient for you to get yourself a dedicated server and keep 100% of the machines resources for your own projects rather than sharing them as you do with a VPS.
Depending what you are doing the low end dedicated servers can be more efficient than the more costly ones due to tool limitations on RAM usage and their processor requirements. Similar to the Wizard VPS, these are total beasts that cost a little more than a highend VPS but the system resources are not shared between multiple users as they are with a VPS helping to take your performance to the next level.
Auto Generated Content
The new kid on the block when it comes to content generation and like most other tools from the GSA toolset, GSA Content Generator quickly became the dominant tool in the space taking over and outperforming its competition extremely quickly.
The king of the scrapers, Scrapebox is an excellent scraping tool. It has seen off a number of attempted competitors, it is cheap, relatively easy to use and supplemented by Loopline their customer support and forum support is excellent. In addition, the tool has a bunch of free useful addons that I use regularly as well as a number of paid add-ons that I also use often but neither are essential for scraping.
Although I haven’t used GSA Search Engine Ranker to scrape targets for years it does offer that ability that may help people new to internet marketing who are on a tight budget. In my opinion, the strengths of GSA Search Engine Ranker (mass automated link building) and Scrapbox (scraping targets) are best carried out in their respective tools.
Express Indexer (Bulk Indexing)
Although Express Indexer did have a dip in performance in early-mid 2016 they definitely seem to be back on form. Having used the service from around 2014 to early 2016 and from late 2016 to now I can say the service is established and is not a fly by night operation.
Since I released this case study on indexing that Express Indexer won, I have received a number of messages about their price. When compared to a bunch of other indexing services their price per link actually comes out just above average but their service works. There are plenty of “indexing services” out there charging more that do nothing.
Index Inject (Instant Indexing)
Index Inject were one of the first SaaS services to offer instant indexing 2.0. I cover it in my blog post here. The TL;DR version is that it is an extremely fast indexing service with a high stick rate but can be expensive.
They offer anyone a free account that can track upto 150 keywords at any given time for you, on top of this their add-on packages are the cheapest I have ever seen! Total no brainer.
Scrapebox has a paid rank tracker addon for $20 that on paper can track unlimited keywords. A total steal at $20 but its drawback comes in it requiring Google passed proxies to run, I rather have my Google passed proxies scraping Google for targets than rank tracking so I use SERPLab for my rank tracking.
Dedicated and Semi-Dedicated Proxies
I have used BuyProxies since around late 2013 if I remember correctly. I have tried a few other proxy providers over the years who were a little cheaper but always ended up dropping the other services for a number of issues.
I currently use their semi-dedicated proxies for link building in my automated backlinking tools, I also have a small number of their dedicated proxies for index checking link batches.
Public Proxy Scrape
In my opinion, the king of public proxy scraping. GSA Proxy Scraper comes with a bunch of native proxies sources with the ability to have custom sources added by the user, you are also able to add custom tags to the scraped proxies as well as various custom checks for the proxies for a number of platforms.
For example, say you are scraping public proxies for both Google scraping as well as Amazon scraping, you are able to set up two exports in the tool that will test the scraped proxies against Google and then against Amazon before exporting each of the valid public proxies to an individual proxy file for your tools to pick up and use.
When using this tool I have it set up to dump various batches of filtered proxies such as Google checked and Bing checked proxies every five minutes to a text file. I then have Scrapbox pick up its proxies from these text files to enable its threads to be dedicated to scraping search engines rather than having to scrape its own proxies.
I usually use semi-dedicated proxies in GSA Search Engine Ranker but it also offers the ability to self-scrape public proxies. This can help people new to internet marketing cut costs and stay in budget when first getting started as it is included in the tools one-time fee.
Public proxies tend not to be reliable due to the number of people using them meaning I usually only use them for scraping search engines but my case study here has proven they can be used at high links per minute.
As I have already touched on, I prefer to let Scrapebox focus on scraping search engines rather than scrape its own proxies but it does have this ability built in. Similar to SER, people new to internet marketing can utilize this feature to acquire free public proxies and keep their costs down.
Premium Link Lists
Owned by Loopline, I have used the Auto Approve Marketplace for over two years now and seen the service go through a number of updates. I have used a number of other lists along side the auto approve marketplace but this is the only one to constantly stand the test of time for me.
Target Platform Identification
GSA Platform Identifier is an excellent stand-alone tool to place in the middle of your self scraping process between Scrapebox doing the scraping and GSA Search Engine Ranker doing your verification. Personally, I would say this tool is only really required by intermediate or advanced users of GSA Search Engine Ranker and depending on your setup can be replaced by a premium target list.
Although GSA Search Engine Ranker does have the ability to identify the platform of target URLs it can lock up your tool for hours or even days depending on your scrape size. This is the main reason GSA Platform Identifier was released.
Although it’s relatively expensive, I host my private blog network domains on EasyBlogNetworks as they offer a slick, fast and easy to use interface that allows you to host WordPress blogs on unique IP’s spread across a massive range of servers to help mask your domain amongst other peoples websites.