Link Building Workflow Management, a Simpler UI, New Pricing and Dozens of New Features: The New Ontolo Link Building Toolset
By: Ben Wills |


I don't even know where to start. The release of Version 3 of the Link Building Toolset has been out there for just a couple of hours now. We've put the finishing touches on the work that we started several months ago. In every way imaginable, this has been a very major release for us. New service levels, new payment systems, new UI, new features. So. Much. Newness.

And we're way excited to show you what we've got for you. So excited that it's my sixth or seventh all nighter I've pulled in the last week and a half to get this all out for you guys. ;)

I've been thinking a lot about how to share with you all of the new stuff. Let's start with The Big Three for this release: A New $97 Service Level, The New User Interface, and the New Workflow Management Features.

If you want to head straight to start your trial, Click Here.

If you want to head straight to see the fancy new Toolset, Click Here.

New Pricing for The Link Building Toolset

First, I want to say that if you are an existing customer, your account has already been upgraded with the new service levels. So you're all set and good to go!

Next, all account levels now come with a two-week free trial. This means that if you're interested in the Advanced service level and getting 15,000 link prospects across 5 campaigns each month, you can now test that out to make sure it suits your needs. Trials are also open to everyone, regardless of if you've had a trial before. Everyone is now able to start a new trial with their existing Ontolo accounts.

Next, we've introduced a new plan, the Solo plan, starting at $97 per month. The number one reason that some of you weren't signing up was because it simply didn't fit your budget. With the scaling and efficiencies that Andy has put in place, we're so glad to be able to put this service level together for you. We're really excited to be able to work with you if the previous pricing wasn't in your budget.

Click here to see the new pricing and sign up for your free trial.

Another note on the payment side is that we're no longer using PayPal. A surprising number of people greatly preferred not using it. We've moved providers to Braintree, which is also used by 37 Signals; Basecamp, Highrise, etc, and have been really happy with them so far.

The New User Interface

Perhaps even more than the price, the most common piece of feedback we received was about the interface not being easy to use. Wil Reynolds, put it just about as flatteringly as possible when he said: "... the tool is sometimes too complicated to figure out its genius, ya know."

Thanks, Wil. :)

Really, though, he's right. The interface was difficult to use. We spent a fair amount of time trying to decide how to improve it. Do we improve a little at a time, or opt for a full rewrite? In the end, we opted for a complete rewrite. We're glad we did because we've made some changes we may not have made otherwise. A full rewrite allowed us to start from the beginning and use your feedback to go directly into the design.

We've built it for Productivity, Efficiency and Speed.

Link building is tedious. It's just the nature of it and I don't know that the tediousness will ever be avoided. But, what we can do is build tools that help and get out of the way.

Here are the top three things that we've done to make it easier, faster, more efficient and more productive to use:

  1. The entire interface has been rewritten so that you can quickly and seamlessly transition from one tool to the next. You don't have to reload the page each time you use a new tool. Go ahead, try it. Notice how much faster it is than other marketing tools out there.
  2. The design is very simple and uses a soft color scheme. Dark colors are hard to look at for an extended period of time and, well, link building takes a lot of time.
  3. Finally, we implemented a very particular color scheme where each color represents a specific function:
    • Blue: Informative Labels
    • Green: Form Submissions
    • Orange: Input You've Made
    • Red: Help

New Workflow Management Features.

This is, perhaps, the most significant innovation we've implemented since we made link prospects searchable. With the new workflow management feature, you can get teams together and more efficiently work through your link prospects. You can set prospects to various statuses so that you don't see them again in your lists, see who you need to reach out to, and more.

Here are the four features and two functions we've added to streamline your link building process. For each link prospect, you can change one of the first four items below on a URL, Subdomain or Domain.

Here's a screenshot so you can see how you will edit a prospect:

1. Qualification Statuses

When you're reviewing a link prospect, you're making one of three assessments: Will I approach them? Do I need to review this again later? or Will I not approach them?

    Possible Qualification Statuses Include:
  • Qualified
  • Further Review
  • Rejected

2. Acquisition Statuses

When you've decided to approach a link prospect, one of four things can happen: They accept your link request. They reject your link request. You enter a conversation. They don't get back to you.

    Possible Acquisition Statuses Include:
  • Contacted
  • In Communication
  • Acquired
  • Declined

3. Custom Tags

There are times when you will want to tag a link prospect for whatever reason. Sometimes, it might be to denote it being a good prospect for a specific campaign, or maybe they're a partner of your company, etc.

4. Notes

Notes become especially useful when you're in the groove of qualification, for example, and want to remind yourself later why you did or didn't like the prospect.

Notes are also good for the acquisition process to remember important information about a link prospect.

5. Filtering Out Statuses & Tags

In the Advanced Search form, you can exclude prospects that have specific statuses or tags. This lets you only get back results for sites that you haven't reviewed yet, thereby significantly reducing duplicate work.

6. Searching on Prospects That Have Statuses or Tags

There is also a separate form, Manage Prospects, that allows you to search only on prospects that have statuses or tags. You can use this to search for, example, prospects that are marked with "Further Review" statuses to get them through final qualification.

Other Features

There are a lot more features to go over, which is why we've begun scheduling weekly webinars and have some plans for regular how-tos here on the blog.

Here's a bulleted list of some additional features that we've added to this release. If any pique your interest let us know and we'll gladly expand on them.

  • We now have two search forms instead of 27. A Basic Search and Advanced Search.
  • With the Advanced Search form, you can define every single metric we collect.
  • Help tabs for every tool outlining its purpose, a step-by-step how to and use cases.
  • All searches now return all the data we have on that URL. Not just a few columns related to that tool.
  • All competitor searches now work. There's a TON of awesome stuff you can do with this. Exclude competitors from prospect results, only include prospects that link to competitors you define, and even force customized multiple-citation analysis.
  • Search on URL text.
  • Search against Alexa Traffic Rank metrics.
  • Exclude TLDs.
  • Show, Hide and Sort by every column in your prospect results.
  • Highly-advanced search operators. Things get crazy in there.
  • And soooo much more we'll be writing about in the weeks to come.

Go ahead. Give it a shot and share your tips and tricks.


  1. Tool in Brazil

    Congratulations ... great job. How is the tool to be used in Brazil?

  1. Hey Eder! If you're doing

    Hey Eder!

    If you're doing prospecting for English-speaking sites, we can help with that. Here's a link: http://ontolo.zendesk.com/entries/20044293

    Otherwise, we're still trying to decide how to move into multi-lingual link prospecting :)


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