“Linkody” is a web based application that monitors your hard-earned SEO backlinks 24/7.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Mommens’ regarding his start-up company “Linkody”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Linkody” is all about?
Linkody is a backlink management and monitoring webapp for SEO agencies and site owners.
Linkody looks for the links to your domains and monitors them 24/7. If any link is removed or its source page fails, you get an email alert.
Linkody’s users save a lot of time by not having to check their links themselves, either manually or by using desktop applications which don’t have all the advantages of a web application. With Linkody, the old way of using Excel sheets to manage backlinks is over.
2. When has “Linkody” been founded? And what stage is “Linkody” currently at?
The 1st version of the product was launched in February 2011 as an experiment and because we needed such a tool for ourselves. Then my partner and I had to dedicate our time on other things. About 1 year later, 2 SEO oriented (French) blogs noticed the tool and wrote 2 very good reviews. People tweeted and commented about the service and it started to get some traction. We realized that a lot of people were looking for such a service and that there was the opportunity to develop a tool not only useful to ourselves but to other people too.
3. What is “Linkody”‘s business model and how does it work?
Our business model is based on a monthly fee for premium users. Premium users get additional features on top of a bigger volume of links and domains. There is a free package with a volume of 50 links for 1 domain. Although the premium plans are really cheap I still want to keep if possible this free plan to help small websites.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
A few years ago, Tom and I worked together in Barcelona for the same company. At that time I was the CTO and he was the Product Director. We saw very quickly that we were on the same wavelength professionally. We knew we could trust each other to get the job done. Both of us also had a lot of things in common like wanting to be an entrepreneur. Tom and I left the company around the same time. Tom founded his startup, lovehabibi.com, while I went living in another country. We kept talking about ideas and possible services we could develop together. Then I got the idea for Linkody.
Tom worked on the product, design and frontend development. I worked mostly on the backend. Now I am mostly doing everything myself as Tom had to take on a daily job for the time being.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
There is a lot of SEO tools and services out there. They got in an arms race with each other that got them to build as many features as possible. The result is that they are quite expensive. We have decided to focus on one specific service, backlink management and monitoring, and do it well. For the people who are looking in exactly that feature, we are way cheaper and better.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “Linkody” achieved so far?
We are monitoring about 75k links for about 700 active users. We are not growing as fast as I would like, in great part because I’ve been focusing lately on the product and its features and did not dedicate much time to marketing. Now that I feel that the product is really strong and mature, I want to dedicate more time on promoting the service.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “Linkody”‘s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors are all the big players in the SEO industry like SeoMoz and MajesticSeo as well as a few startups that try to compete on the exact same service. Our users are the ones that tell us why we are better: an intuitive and well-designed interface and a service that does its job very well. Our prices are also unbeatable.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle was the lack of time. Both Tom and myself had a full-time day job and worked on Linkody during the evenings and week-ends. Even during my holidays I would bring my netbook to work on Linkody. It was quite tough to work 8 hours a day and go home only to work more. That’s also quite taxing to switch your mental context from one project to another, from one set of technologies to another. Seeing people talking positively about our product was a great motivation to go on though and we are very happy with what we achieved.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Contrary to what a few people have said lately, SEO is not dead. As long as there will be search engines, there will be SEO. White hat SEOs are people competing against each other in the search engine battlefields. It’s like with any other industry. Black hat SEOs are however competing against the search engines themselves by trying to cheat the system. They’re the only ones that might disappear, although I think theoretically any system can be cheated and the arms race will only go on. So the SEO industry will not disappear and there is actually a whole market for specialized and cheap tools that has room for growth.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Tom and I are not at our first startup. 8 years ago I created vitalprix.com. Tom created lovehabibi.com a few years ago. So we already have some experience as entrepreneurs. All the other companies I worked for during my career were also startups and I got a lot of experience from that too.
But the main reason I think is that we love what we are doing and we would be very happy to build a product that is useful for a lot of people.
11. If “Linkody” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Until recently my focus has been on improving the current product. I still have a massive To Do list with my own ideas but also feature requests from our users for the near future. Later on a natural additional area for expansion would be social activity monitoring. Being present in social media has become a big part of SEO nowadays.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “Linkody” based on?
The idea came from my first business, vitalprix.com. I used to offer to some of my clients to have their product indexed on my price engine for free against a backlink from their site. As their number increased, I needed to find a way to check that these links were not removed without losing any time. I wanted a tool where I could register a newly acquired link and have it checked 24/7, so I could forget about it, knowing that I would be alerted by email in case of any change. I looked for such a tool and was surprised to find none.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
Funnily enough I am learning a lot about SEO. I knew the importance of inbound links and that’s why I looked for such a tool before developing my own but I did certainly not know so much about the SEO industry and how to do proper SEO. I am also learning how to promote a product, reach out to people and be outspoken.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
The biggest problem is to grow the business to a point where it generates enough income to allow my partner Tom to join me back, and myself to go on, working full time on it. I am totally confident about the quality of our product. Our current customers are very satisfied. It is now a question of having a good marketing campaign and reaching a broader audience.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Customers who just want to check their backlinks can use this tool as an “add and forget” service. They are sure to get an email alert if any of their link disappear. More advanced SEO professionals can use Linkody as a true linkbuilding platform. No need for Excel anymore, their database is in the cloud. Linkody provides all the information they need to assess their links’ value, and links’ analytics like the anchor distribution to prioritise their link building.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
We first got mentioned in two (French) SEO blogs and that’s what generated the initial buzz. Then Linkody was mentioned in other blogs and SEO newsletters. So it’s mostly thanks to referrals, words of mouth and social media. People are tweeting or blogging about Linkody as one of the best link monitoring service out there.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
We have SEO and marketing agencies using Linkody to manage their customers link building campaign, webmasters or in-house SEO-specialists working on promoting their brand, and SEO-savvy individuals. Any site owner is a potential customer really. There are very few players that don’t need to work on SEO to get traffic and there is no SEO without link building.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
Most of our customers come from referral. The good reviews we got are attracting new users every day. We have a free plan and it takes about 10 seconds to subscribe, no credit card required, so it is easy and free to try our service. We have a tour page that explains our product and features: http://www.linkody.com/en/tour.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
We get positive feedback from our customers each time we release a new version. Some of them retweet our tweets announcing the new features. We are very happy about how our customers are satisfied by our product. There is almost no turnover with our paying customers. Once we get a new one, they stay. That proves how good our product is.
20. How are you going to scale?
Technically, I am 100% confident we will be able to scale. Distributed architecture and scalability are my specialities. I have been hired by companies for these specific skills to solve their scalability issues.
Our product is good and our fee very low. The number of clients will naturally grow as we are dedicating more resources to promoting it.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
There are several new features that are already planned. Some have been suggested by our customers. One of the main features that I have planned for the near future is the import of links from Excel or CSV documents. There is already a CSV export feature. We also have been asked to add bigger plans and yearly subscriptions.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Most of our customers are from France so I have planned to localize the tool in French with more languages to follow later on. I am a native French speaker and I have done translations as a professional so I’ll do French myself. Marketing-wise though, I am focusing at the moment on English speaking countries.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
If I am allowed to dream big and get all crazy then I’ll build an infrastructure to have an up to date database of the billions of links out there. That would allow me to be independent from external data sources. But also, once you have this data, there are so many ideas of products and features you can come up with.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
Not at the moment. We need to get the business sustainable first with both of us, myself and my partner. However we are looking for interns, specifically in marketing, that would be interested in helping out with promoting the service to an international level. They can get in touch through our contact page: http://www.linkody.com/en/company/contact.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
The business has been self-funded. That actually means that we have not invested anything than time up to now. We did not want to involve VCs or business angels at this stage because we knew we could do it just by ourselves and stay completely independent. Today we are not against involving some potential investors or partners.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Choose a partner you already have worked with and who has complementary skills. Be ready to invest the time and effort. Be persistent. Believe in yourself.