Link Building Interview with Julie Joyce
Welcome to part 2 of our link building interview with thought leaders in the SEO industry. This week, we’ll be featuring Julie Joyce of Link Fish Media. As one of the faces behind SEO Chicks, the self-proclaimed SEO blog with attitude, Julie brings an interesting perspective to the future of link building strategies. As a predominantly male industry, blogs and forums often lack the opinions and voice of women in SEO, so I thought it especially important to get a woman’s view on link building. If you want to read more from Julie, she’s a regular contributor to Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch.
Julie Joyce is the owner of Link Fish Media, a link building company specializing in creating custom campaigns. In addition, she is the co-founder of the SEO Chicks and contributes to the link columns on Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land. You can follow Julie Joyce on Twitter.
1. If there was one link building strategy you wish would fall off the face of the earth, what would it be?
Link dropping in comments and forums is my least favorite tactic. I know there are times when it’s relevant but so many sites seem to do nothing more than that, and it’s very poorly done, especially when it’s “thanks your good site is valuable and more! www.myirrelevantlinkhere.com”
2. Conversely, which link building strategy do you wish more people would employ?
Well, I do think there are some amazing links that you can pay for (cough) so while I’d like to say “buy more good links” I realize that sounds like bad advice, so I’ll go with simple diversification. I don’t think enough people realize how bad it is to rely on Google 100%. They need to be building their presence in as many places as possible so that if Google does screw them, they still have something to fall back on.
3. What link building strategy do you believe Google’s next update will hit the hardest?
I’m very worried about low-end and irrelevant guest posts actually. I’ve seen sites that do nothing but procure crappy guest posts on sites that exist only to host those posts it seems, and I can’t imagine that’s going to continue to work well.
4. What are your thoughts on directory submissions and social bookmarking as a link building strategy? Is it worth the time?
I don’t do any of that, but I know plenty of people who still use directory submissions, and it works well for them. I think there are still some good directories around but you have to look at them with a more critical eye than you did a year ago in my opinion. Social bookmarking isn’t anything I’ve done for clients, and I have no plans to start. I think it’s potentially good, but the effort involved in doing it well, like anything else, would probably not be worth it for me.
5. What are your thoughts on the link disavow tool?
I like the idea, but that’s it. I do know of situations where it seemed like it was the only thing that could help, but the idea of giving that kind of information to Google really bothers me. Any idiot can look at a list of their links and slap it into a disavow file without having a clue about whether those sites are decent or not.
6. What are your 3 favorite tools for outreach?
A timely question considering I had my Buzzstream epiphany yesterday! That is a majorly amazing tool, and I’m annoyed with myself for not digging into it as much as I have recently. It’s just really, really well done. I tend to be a bit of a Luddite when it comes to outreach tools though, so I don’t usually use them. I have found some amazing contacts through Twitter and Google+, so I’d list them as number 2 and 3.
7. What’s the most creative way you’ve ever gotten a link?
Writing a post about how we should build more links by interviewing people.
8. What resources would you recommend those new to link building read?
I’d set up alerts for Debra Mastaler and Rae Hoffman, first of all. Both of them consistently write stuff that isn’t full of fluff and that just makes sense. Obviously I’m partial to the link building columns at Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch, but I also think there’s a lot of value to be had by reading anything related to marketing. The beauty of link building is that you can draw ideas for it from everything you read.
9. Do you consider link building and content marketing to be synonymous? Why or why not?
Not really. Link building is building links, whether it’s through asking for them, paying for them, or just getting them. The goal is to get a link. With content marketing, I think there are different motivations. You want to attract new readers or customers, retain existing ones, keep your site looking fresh so Google likes you, etc…similar to link building in that the goal “should” be to provide value to users, but I think they’re a bit different definitely.
10. What’s an example of really superb content you’ve come across recently? What drew you to it?
Hugo Guzman wrote a piece that wasn’t about SEO but was about his nephew (http://www.hugoguzman.com/2013/04/finding-real-answers-to-the-hard-questions/). Hugo’s writing is top notch anyway, but the piece is about how his nephew Ralphy has certain physical and mental challenges and Ralphy is explaining to Hugo how much he likes to help kids who are less fortunate than he is. I mean really…that’s amazing stuff and it’s amazing to me because of all the people I’ve known who are just like Ralphy. I’ve been whining about a broken dryer and how my arms hurt from yoga. That post was a nice slap in the face, and while I do try my best to appreciate how good things are for me in general, I also let myself get caught up in a lot of whining. This piece is something I’ve bookmarked, sent to people, and reread a dozen times because it means something. In this industry, we read a lot of bullshit and a lot of “how to make more money” and we need more pieces like this one.
11. What’s one thing you’re surprised most SEOs don’t know/think they know?
How to check a robots.txt file to make sure it’s not blocking your entire site.
*Editor’s Note: Simply add “/robots.txt” to the end of your URL. If it looks like this, your whole site is blocked. You can learn more about robots.txt here.
12. What’s your favorite sitcom, and why is it Friends?
My favorite sitcom is Fawlty Towers. It’s a testament to my husband that he still pretends to be excited when I want to watch those episodes that I’ve been watching over and over and over since I was 10. Somehow Basil Fawlty never gets unfunny to me.
A special thanks to Julie Joyce for participating! Be sure to check back with us for our last link building interview with Aaron Wall of SEO Book.
What are some of your thoughts on Julie’s answers? Join the conversation below!