This is my honor to share the interview of expert link builder Julie Joyce, Owner of Link Fish Media. Julie has been an inspiration to the many search marketers and link builders.
Anant Patel: How did you start your journey as an SEO?
Julie Joyce: I was a programmer first and had done some coding for a cloaking program for the SEO team, which was only two people at that point. When one put in his notice, they recruited me to join.
AP: Why do many refer to you as an expert link builder?
JJ: I wouldn't say I'm an expert link builder at all. I just think about links in terms of what looks natural and it all seems to work.
AP: What are your thoughts on link earning in 2015?
JJ: If you can earn links I think that's fantastic. For the rest of the world, you might have to pursue them. I don't think that's a bad thing at all despite so many people saying it is. I don't think it's any different to “earn” a link because someone sees your content than to get a link because you emailed someone to show them your content. Link earning, to me, is a very nice way of not scaring clients away from links.
AP: What is the best link building activity you would recommended to SEOs nowadays and why?
JJ: We're still emailing and asking for links and it's working very well. That being said, I know several link specialists who do completely different things and those work well for them, too, so it's difficult to say which I'd recommend. I guess the main thing I'd recommend is to vary your link building efforts and try to get a profile that looks very natural and balanced, without relying on any one tactic. You don't want to look at a profile and see that 75% of the links are from guest posts or directories, for example.
AP: I have started blogging recently, so I would like to know about your link building recommendations for blogs.
JJ: Same as anything else really...create something worthwhile and point people to it, whether that's through social media or direct outreach. The key is to create something worthwhile though, and that is where a lot of people fail. There are 500 articles written about container gardening, for example. If you are blogging about it, figure out an angle that has not been covered before as that's how you'll encourage people to link to you.
AP: Which three tools you recommended for link building and why?
JJ: Kerboo's Peek is awesome for speeding up discovery. I also use their auditing tools to suss out the bad links. For my main analysis, I use Majestic. Otherwise, my favorite tool is Evernote. It's not a link tool but it keeps me organized and it's where I note any ideas that pop into my head so for me; it's invaluable to my link work. All these tools just work well for me. They're easy to use, I think they give me accurate information, and they're all well trusted.
AP: What are your thoughts on why domain authority is important factor for link building? What is the reason behind fluctuation on domain authority (DA) and how do you increase it?
JJ: I do look at DA but it's mainly because clients want some kind of metric so we settled on that one. I think it's a more accurate way to judge the authority of a domain. If you build a link from a high authority domain, it's going to mean a bit more than if that domain was brand new and had zero authority.
However, I see plenty of great sites that have a low DA for various reasons and because of that, I don't rely on DA as the sole metric. In terms of why it fluctuates, I would assume it's because it's an updated metric and a site's profile changes a lot. If you do something amazing and generate 100 links in a month, your authority is probably going to increase. In terms of how to increase it, I've never really thought about that and I don't think I know enough about what goes into DA to speak to that topic.
AP: While Searching on Google, I often find that page authority (PA) is higher than DA. Do you know why this is?
JJ: I've noticed that too. I don't know how it all works but it could be that one page is really good but overall the site is a bit weak so it drags down the overall authority.
AP: What's the latest challenge in link building? What link building advice do you have for is to survive in the world of SEO?
JJ: It's not new really but our major challenge is with webmasters who simply don't understand what Google requires or what the FTC requires. We deal with webmasters who think they are violating the law if they link out, or who do link to our clients but write a big notice about how it's an affiliate link (when it clearly isn't, as they're not affiliates) so that is very frustrating.
The amount of misinformation is staggering and I think Google adds to the confusion with the things they say. Some webmasters have told us that they will no longer link to a site that isn't their own. Things like that really ruin the web for me. In order to survive, I'd say just keep at it. Links don't just happen magically. They require a ton of hard work, probably more now than ever, so you have to be patient and work at it.
AP: What are the major factors that Google considers when ranking a site in local search results?
JJ: Local isn't really my area of expertise but generally, I make sure that the site has actual contact information on it, that they're listed in Google My Business and anything else like that, and that they hopefully have some decent reviews.
AP: While doing research for my client's project, I found many Exact Match Domains (EMD) ranked on first page. Do you think that Google penalizes EMD?
JJ: Ha! I think SOME are penalized but like you, I see so many other ones ranking very well. That's the beauty of Google. They say “this no longer works” but it usually still works in a lot of cases. I would not start an EMD though, but a lot of older ones do still do well online.
AP: Google's 'Mobilegeddon' – was it a big deal for businesses? Why or why not?
JJ: Not as far as any of my clients go. We've really been very lucky with most major updates. I do have some clients who were in serious trouble in terms of mobile but they all recognized that fact and fixed it before the update, so we got lucky.
Do you have any other questions about link building? Let's discuss them in the comments.