The Challenge of Marketing Automation and the Opportunity for Improvement You've seen ads for "automated link building" services. And you know those services are junk. You can't automate link building. You just can't. The human element is simply too important.

... Right? ...

But what if you could automate all of the non-subjective elements? ... Those pesky, annoying, mundane PageRank and SEOmoz and Alexa data collection tasks that you repeat a thousand times before sending those eighteen emails in the hopes of getting two responses... Reviewing 37 websites to add four to your outreach list because the other 33 were irrelevant and off topic... Trying to figure out 78 new link prospecting queries to find a specific kind of link prospect, then pulling the search results into an unwieldy spreadsheet with hundreds of rows and it still needs more data collection and de-duplication... Wouldn't it be nice if you never had to do that again...

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Guest post from David Wolf of InBusiness, Inc. an internet marketing firm.

When you are as busy as I am, you look for any way you can, short of drinking coffee while going to the bathroom at the same time (that one actually cost me time). People often think that massive changes are needed in order to make gains in productivity. Thousands are spent on software, training, and management to try to get more out of workers in all industries. In reality, we need only to focus on ourselves to get massive gains in efficiency. Jason Freid of Basecamp is a big evangelist on worker efficiency and how proper communication methods can improve it drastically. I have spent a good deal of my time attempting to do to my company's SEO process what Mr. Freid has done for communication.

Setting up best practices and documentation for anything and everything that you do on a regular basis can make a world of difference in how effective you or your team's link building efforts are. It comes down to three very simple pieces. The great part about these pieces is that as SEO's we are all familiar with them.... Tracking, Documentation and Productivity.

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A Guest Post by Ken Lyons, co-founder of Measured SEM and consultant to DIYSEO.

Face it. When comes to link building, there are a lot of tasks that are tedious and time-sucking. So rather than spending your time submitting to directories or compiling outreach lists, it makes sense to outsource these jobs and save your "big brain" for the high level strategy stuff. That's where a resource like oDesk comes in really handy.

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This is a guest post by @Mathew Diehl of Charles River Interactive.

It’s Link Prospecting Day. Yay?

Very few people find these days exhilarating. However, it has to be done. You know as well as I do that without a refreshed list of prospects your existing contact pools will eventually dry up.

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My name is Fabio Ricotta, I’m the Co-Founder of MestreSEO, a Brazilian SEO Company, and I was invited by Garrett French to write some guest posts for you. For many years I’ve been working with SEO and most of the time focused on Link Building. Year after year I realized that some opportunities are so subtle that you need to pay special attention to some very small details.

One of the things I spotted as an opportunity in those small details is when a page stops working, I mean, when a page is not available anymore, resulting in the famous “404 error”. For example, one of the most common problems that results in 404 errors is when a product is not available anymore. Another simple example is when you remove an old blog post. In both cases, those pages can be pointed as a resource by anyone on the Internet, acquiring more and more link juice.

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In the summer of 2008, before writing the first line of code, before even talking with Garrett, I sat down to spec out the purpose of the Ontolo and the Link Building Toolset. Having been responsible for designing and implementing thousands of campaigns, managing teams of dozens of account managers, search marketers and copywriters, and also for executing and fine-tuning multi-national SEO campaigns that spanned more than 30 countries, I had been acquainted with SEO and link building problems at large scale.

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If you have a linkable asset that converts well into links for you - let's say free products for review, articles for guest placement, resources for donation, etc - there's strong value in exploring the automation and outsourcing of your link prospecting, qualification and outreach. When you know what works, the next step is getting to scale, and outsourcing parts of your process can really help! Ben made a video on using Mechanical Turk for link qualification and contact info gathering, which prompted an email from Dave Lorrez (of e-tail.be + author of Kersvers linkbuilding boek verschenen) who kindly outlined his methods for outsouring aspects of link building to the folks at Odesk.

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Howdy folks!

In this week's installment of Link Building How-Tos day, I'm going to show you exactly how to use Amazon's Mechanical Turk to take your link building to the next level.

If you don't know what Mechanical Turk is or how it works, here's a link to Amazon's Mechanical Turk tutorial.

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Hey folks! Ben here. You might have noticed that after five consistent weeks of 20-50 minute videos, there wasn't one last week. And this is good because....

We've decided to shift the format of the videos to be more tangibly useful to each of you. So, instead of doing a higher-concept, long, drawn out video each week, we're putting together one great 10 minute video that showing you exactly, step-by-step how to take a piece of your link building efforts to the next level.

I'm really stoked about this series. When I started the videos, I knew we would end up calibrating, making some changes, etc. And, this is one of those changes.

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Howdy folks! You might be wondering how I've been posting for the past two weeks, even though I'm in San Francisco this week and was in Seattle last week. Well, the secret is: I love you all so much that I recorded these a couple of weeks ago. (And I'm sure you all just thought my hair didn't grow very quickly.)

Onto(lo) the good stuff!

If I were giving dating advice, this would be the pickup lines section of the link building process.

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