Our special guest for episode 330 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast was Adam White, Founder and CEO of SEOJet (software for SEO link-building). Host Erin Sparks spoke with Adam about the importance of paying attention to how you build links for SEO purposes. Here’s what we learned:
Adam White: His Background and Experience
Adam White is the Founder and CEO of SEOJet, a software application to assist in building a solid and natural link profiles. He’s a long-time SEO professional who started his SEO journey in 2002 with utah.com. He then went on to work as the head of the SEO department for submitawebsite.com. He decided to start his own SEO company and then sold it in 2009 after getting it to rank number one on Google for the phrase “SEO services.” In those days it was relatively easy to rank well by accumulating a lot of links any which way.
Since 2002 Adam has optimized over 350 websites including most recently working as a consultant with Marcus Lemonis from the tv show The Profit. The way he got Marcus Lemonis as a client is a great story. He wrote a blog article praising the show, but gave it a sarcastic title: Why the TV Show The Profit is the Worst Show on TV. It went so viral that Lemonis noticed and was paying to promote it on Facebook. When the article title started showing up on a billboard truck in Los Angeles, Lemonis brought it to Adam’s attention, and Adam decided he might as well pitch a working relationship, which Lemonis said sounded like a good idea. Adam then had to be very persistent in following up (like 20 times), but it eventually happened. And that is why Adam took a deep dive into the sites with high-ranking link profiles, and then operationalized his learning in a software package he named SEOJet.
Link Profiles are Essential to SEO Success
The value of knowing the right way to build natural link profiles cannot be underestimated. The EDGE has done 14 shows about building links, and Adam immediately pointed out that there should be quadruple the number of shows devoted to links – they’re that important to SEO. In his SEO optimization of hundreds of websites since 2002, the single biggest positive impact has always come from good link building. Nothing has ever come close. It cannot be oversold. Of course content is important, but great content without good links might as well be invisible.
In the early days it was all about the anchor text, which is why you used to be able to so easily manipulate link profiles and rank well. Now it’s much more about how relevant is the other site to your site? Is it in your same “neighborhood” as Google likes to call it? Do other people link to that site? Does that site have its own organic traffic? These are the things really matter a lot more now than they used to, and certainly more than mere anchor text. But anchor text is still important. As is the “natural” factor. So you’ve got have a link profile that looks natural, which means not too many key phrase anchors because that starts to look spammy.
Building Natural Links
There are all sorts of routes you can go to help build natural links. One of Adam’s favorites is a site called helpareporter.com. When you sign up, you’ll get emails from reporters and journalists who are writing questions. Spend 10-15 minutes of your day going through the emails to find any to which you can contribute a great answer and you’ll likely get a link out of it. You can do similar things with fitsmallbusiness.com and fastcompany.com and so on.
A second good route to go is just doing outreach to various sites and pitch a guest blog article to them because then you get a link by being the author of the article, and you also have a lot of control about what anchor text you use and how it’s worked into the article. A third route is doing podcast interviews because you’ll get links out of the promotional messaging, and any follow-up publicity content about the episode.
Doing this kind of “outreach” work to get placed in blogs and podcasts and so forth does take time and effort – and it’s totally worth it to get that natural link profile. SEO professionals have to educate their clients and prospects so they see how essential good link-building is to SEO results. There is no better return on investment to be found than building good links. And it can still be a hard sell because it’s a long-term strategy, not a short-term thing.
Link-Building and EAT
The relationship of link-building to EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trust) is critical because EAT is being pushed hard by Google. It’s no longer just about simple domain authority. You have to be paying very close attention to industry-specific EAT strategies, such as proper citations in the medical fields. This is difficult because there are only so many options to get those high-value links within any given industry. But your competitors also face those same constraints. Google will compare your site to that of your competitors and see who has done the better job and reward them accordingly.
What Adam has consistently seen as a winning strategy is dominating in as narrow a niche as possible. There was a site that was all about guest posting, and it ended up ranking very well because it was relentlessly focused on that one narrow topic. That site could get great ranking with 70% fewer links than competitor sites just because of the laser focus on a narrow topic. When you look at this way, a domain authority (DA) of 40 simply doesn’t mean anything, and should not be the focus. After all, DA is not a Google metric. It was made up by someone else.
Connect with Adam White and SEOJet
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