07
Oct
2010
24-Hour Jewish Delis and the Evolution of Link Building
By: Ben Wills |

We're 5 days from launch, the day when you can sign up for the new Ontolo Link Building Toolset, and I'm sitting here at the end of my 15th straight 14+ hour work day reflecting on really eye-opening conversation that happened last week. It turns out that you and I have come a long way in this "little" link building industry of ours...

So I was deep in conversation with one of my great friends, Andy, who also happens to be the genius developer and systems guy behind the newest link building technology that we've put together for you...

You might know the kind of conversation that I'm talking about...it was one of those late-night, 2am conversations that happens at a 24-hour Jewish deli (Katz's Deli, for those who have experienced the infamous sixth street in Austin) after you've both been eight-million-bazillion feet deep in code and design stuff for, like, 20 hours, you hadn't known what day it was in three days, and you've each had enough caffeine to kill the entire fleet of Budweiser Clydesdales during mating season...

But I digress...

How We Used to Build Links (And Got Blacklisted)

So as we were stuffing our faces with spinach and artichoke dip and three-quarter pound reubens, I was telling Andy about “how we used to do link building.”

Now, there's something you should know about Andy. First, he's the funniest guy you'll ever meet, but he can be a bit introverted, so it's likely you'll never get to meet one of this late-night alter-egos, “The Cajun Pimp.” Second, he's relatively new to the SEO space and his learning of SEO began when he joined Ontolo a few months ago. In other words, he's never known of link building any other way than by having the uncommonly useful link building technology that we've been developing for the past 2.5 years.

And that's when I realized that we'd (that means you, too) come a really long way in this little industry of link building and SEO....

I told him about the time – many years ago – when I wrote a script that queried Google thousands of times, then crawled each search result and, if it found an email address on there, it sent a link request. Over 100,000 emails sent all over the world and 3 days later...I had two and a half links. And I also won a free ticket to the RBL blacklist winner's circle. The client was pretty happy that their email server was blacklisted for three weeks and that their customers weren't receiving their emails. Because...you know....clients love that kind of stuff...they don't actually want to sell things to their customers. That's just more work, right?

Then I told him another painfully pleasant story about when I “got smarter” and bought link prospecting software that could aggregate competitor backlinks and other search results....which isn't that great when you really think about it... BUT, it also pulled PageRank values. So I wrote some Windows macros to automate the process for me and even bought a dedicated computer for it to run on. (You know...because I'm so smart.) I would tediously spend weeks going through huge lists of tens of thousands of potential link prospects, sorted by their PageRank values. On a really, really, ridiculously great day, I'd spend six hours reviewing 342 link prospects and would end up with 27 link prospects I would approach by hand. My brain would be so fried that all I could do was drink a beer and stare at a turkey baster, imagining what its PageRank value might be in the land of turkey basters and if was more “relevant” as a "kitchen accessory" or "kitchen utensil." And take a guess at how many of those 27 link prospects turned into links?

Easy, there, tiger. Don't guess too quickly. Take your time with that one.

And then I got thinking.... I wonder how many people still do their link prospecting that way?

It seems so ridiculous - now - to perform link building that way, tediously culling through huge lists of mostly-irrelevant backlinks. And that is, pretty much, verbatim, what Andy said. He just couldn't conceive of such an inefficient and tedious way of link building.

It turns out, all he had known was the technology that Garrett and I had slowly and carefully put together over the previous two years. Where, at the click of a button, you could discover high quality Guest Post prospects, highly-relevant and untainted Sponsored Link opportunities, .GOV and .EDU links, and over a dozen other specific kinds of links...you name it. It was all right there to be found in less than a minute, delivered to your doorstep in a cute little package...and you even got to choose the color of the bow it was wrapped in.

To Andy, the guy who didn't have a past where he'd become numb to link requests being responded to with the vitriol normally reserved for baby unicorn killers, link building is easy.

How We Made Link Building Really, Really, Ridiculously Easy

And the more I thought about it, Andy was right. Link building is easy. The problem was that SEOs and link builders had never put together various pieces of technology in the way that we had. The technology was always there, it was always accessible – it's not like we had to go deep into the mountains of Papua New Guinea to find some long-haired spiritual Shaman with the teeth of extinct quadrupeds strung around his neck, then sacrifice the whiskers of the eldest Liger on the island so that we could then get some sort of magical recipe to easily find relevant and valuable links.

But, what I realized, was that Garrett and I had found some interesting and useful ways to put some things together that, well, makes it really, really, ridiculously easy to find lots of high-quality, relevant and valuable links...in less than a minute.

And so as I was sitting down to write this email – from that same 24-hour Jewish deli today at 1:18am, I remembered why Garrett and I started Ontolo in July of 2008....

We wanted to make link building really, really, ridiculously easy for you, too.

And so, we finally have that bit of technology that, maybe, just maybe, you might find it easy to discover highly-relevant and valuable link prospects so quickly that you're able to dramatically cut your link prospecting and link qualification time and, thus, spend twice as much time doing the things that actually get links.

It's easy right? Twice as much time for outreach = twice as many links.

(Maybe not? I don't have a calculator nearby.)

If you think this might be valuable to you, you might want to know that we only have 250 spots available. We re-open our doors for signups on Tuesday and once we sell out, we're sold out for the rest of 2010. There are 100,000+ SEOs and Link Builders who could potentially hear about this through SEOMoz, MarketingPilgrim, and other bloggers and friends who have been awesome enough to help us get the word out, so if you think you might be interested in using this kind of link building technology....

If you've got six minutes to invest in seeing if the new Ontolo Link Building Toolset is, potentially, also the most useful link building technology for you and your campaigns, head on over to our demo videos at the link below. It turns out that a lot of people thought they were cool enough to tweet to their followers this week...so maybe some people think we're onto something, I don't know.

...then, if you haven't already, sign up (for free, it takes, literally, 30 seconds) at:

Once you do, click on over to the link building tools section of the Ontolo site to see the new link building technology in action:

Finally, after you've sacrificed the eldest Liger on the island after having enough caffeine to kill the entire fleet of Budweiser Clydesdales during mating season, look out for our next email on Monday with instructions for signing up and opening-day specials.

So, until then...keep on keepin' on, my friend.

- Ben

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