Review: Ontolo Link Building Book

I don’t think I’ve read too many books that tell a lengthy list of people to stop reading two pages into the first chapter. So, in keeping with that spirit, if you need to learn how to get more links ASAP or don’t believe in using quality content as a marketing tool, this book review probably isn’t for you.

Ontolo‘s approach to link building is, in a word, fresh. The 100+ page ebook walks the reader through all the steps of their link building process and provides insight into why they go about their unique approach.

ontolo-logoI won’t spoil all of the fun, but two of the areas that are especially interesting in the Link Building Book are linkable assets and the concept of “preciprocation.”

Authors Garrett French and Ben Willis spend a lot of time on linkable assets and I believe it’s a concept that a lot of link builders need to rethink. A few types of assets are easy to come up with — a blog post, a resources list, etc. — but the book does a good job of detailing an audit of your entire organization’s linkable assets, both real and abstract.

A few examples: Many companies have experts in one or more areas. Their knowledge and skill can lead to links in prominent publications, blogs and other media outlets. Does your company frequently hire? A lot of college sites frequently link to pages with relevant job openings. The Ontolo Link Building Book challenges the reader to think beyond traditional link building opportunities and to learn to leverage all of the existing assets at their disposal.

The concept of “preciprocation” is talked about at length too and is my favorite topic in the book. It is what Garrett and Ben call their biggest “secret” to their link building success.

The “preciprocation” concept is simple: promote the best content of others(especially including your link prospects) before they ask for it via links from your site and placed content, votes, newsletter mentions, Tweets or whatever platform or medium you have at your disposal. Link out lavishly to deserving content, even from competitors if appropriate. Use followed links. Expect nothing in return, though certainly do occasional outreach to let folks know that you appreciated and cited their work.

This is a philosophy that is rare in the entire online marketing world, but especially so in SEO and link building circles.The benefits of this strategy are numerous, but there are a few risks too. Openly sharing and promoting quality content is good for everybody. It educates readers and lets the ‘promoter’ become a trusted industry source, as well as providing a few links. The downside? Time. Actively searching for and promoting good content is a time hog. Not many organizations will have the time on their hands to spend an hour or more each day “preciprocating.” Another danger lies in “over preciprocating” and becoming the platform instead of the experts.

Garrett and Ben really believe in this idea, though, and it is a recurring theme throughout the book. They even go as far as recommending that “preciprocation” occur in every email that a link builder sends:

For example, if you haven’t contacted someone yet you could send preciprocation signals like this: “I really enjoyed your piece on X. In fact I mentioned in our email newsletter, to my twitter followers and added it to this massive roundup of our industry’s top resources (URL). Check it out and if you think it’s worthy, please mention it to your readers! Also, I’d like to interview you for an upcoming article – are you open to answering some questions for my readers?”

The Ontolo Link Building Book has tons of other goodies like link prospecting queries and even some quick email templates for link acquisition. If you are interested in getting  more out of your link building campaign or want to understand the strategy behind Ontolo’s success, definitely check it out.

Ontolo also has an extensive (free)  list of 77 resources for link builders that is a must-read even if you don’t read the book!