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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1) Competitive Prospecting Phrases Ok, of the prospecting phrases that I call “useful” this is the least useful, especially for the impatient or time-pressed. I include it because there are gems if you dig deeply enough... Say for example you sell car parts. Competitive phrases would be searches for things like “auto body parts”, “truck parts”, or “carburetors” and “fuel pumps”. While these phrases are perfectly relevant to what you do, what kinds of results do you think will appear if you use these phrases in your link building queries? Exactly. A lot of them will be your competitors.

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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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Guest post by Kieran Flanagan, of SearchBrat SEO Consulting Services.

I have a friend who is a film writer. When discussing work, he never understands what I do. I could give a 30 minute presentation detailing each client I have worked on and everything I did for them, but it makes no difference. One day he was filling me in on a horrible case of writers block. He was out of ideas for a film he was writing. I told him I often get “Link Building Block”, I go through competitors links, produce content, guest blog and run out of ideas for that market. I explain when this happens, I use an NLP technique called “chunking.” He didn't understand, but at least we share a common problem to discuss over coffee.

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By Ken Lyons of the SEO Consulting Firm MeasuredSEM.

One of my favorite ways to snag editorial links is via guest blogging. Trading content for links is a pretty effective way to build valuable keyword-rich links. The real bitch of guest posting for links though is the massive amount of effort involved with locating quality, relevant websites and blogs to publish your content on. Anyone who's ever slogged through the SERPs with advanced query operators for hours at a time only to unearth one or two decent places to guest post knows the pain I speak of.

So when Garrett told me that Ontolo had developed a tool that would automate a lot of the guest post prospecting and site qualification by leveraging many of Garrett's own link philosophies and expert link prospecting strategies, I was pretty damn intrigued.

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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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First off, if you made it through last week's 50 minute epic video on link building campaign design...pat yourself on the back. ;) Second, this week's is only just more than 22 minutes on Link Prospecting.

The shortened video below, covers less than half of this. If you register (it's free!) you'll get immediate access to a higher-quality video that's has almost three times as much information. Once you register, just head to this page to view the full video!

In this week's video on Link Prospecting, you will discover the following:

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I've been hearing it my whole life, and now I have undeniable proof: I'm long-winded. (Or, for those who share my "Long-Winded Explanation Disorder..." I'm thorough.) I have just completed a 50 minute video (after editing!) on Link Building Campaign Design.

The short version is only seven minutes and is embedded below. The longer version ate my CPU for breakfast and is available exclusively for Ontolo Members (Free Membership Registration Here!) right now.

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Uses for This Process:

Identify linking prospects for specific pages of your site. Quantify the proven linking audience for a potential linkable asset you haven't created yet. Compliment your link opportunity inventory for a particular piece of content. Problems with This Process:

It can take a bit of time, maybe 30 minutes if you're looking at backlinks to 5 different linkbait pieces. There's no "quality control" in that scraper "noise" can easily appear frequently. It doesn't remove sites that already link to you. It doesn't discover prospects beyond who currently links. Tools You Will Need:

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We hold that link builders should split up their prospecting and qualification stages of link building. Doing this makes you more efficient. First we'll look at the definitions of these terms, then we'll look at why splitting up the stages makes you faster.

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