Interview with Julie Joyce, Link Building Expert
I don’t interview much, but when I do I do it for the passion. That sounded just like “The Most Interesting Man In The World” meme. *Laughs*.
Anyway, I choose my interview person because they deserve it. They are real, transparent and they help the community by sharing their experiences, experiments and expertise. They help newbie SEOs with their projects, answer their questions and guide them towards better marketing.
Such successful persons who selflessly want others to succeed as well, are the persons I love to interview.
So, today I’m interviewing Julie Joyce who is Director and Co-founder of ‘Link Fish Media’ a link building firm, speaker at several SEO conferences, founding member of SEO Chicks blog, contributor at famous Search Engine Land, and several other Internet Marketing blogs.
In this interview, we will be talking more about link building and content creation topics.
Kumail: Hi Julie! Please excuse my sore throat. Thank you for being here with us. I hope to give you a good mind exercise with my questions today *wink* – by the way, my sister’s nick name is also Julie.
Julie: She must be a fantastic human being then! Please tell her hello from me.
Q: Let’s take this first question as a formality. I tried to introduce you above but I consider it is not enough and you don’t get to say otherwise. Please tell us more about your past career, current position and some future plans.
A: I was briefly a social worker but it was too emotionally draining, so I decided to go back to school and learn how to program so that I could program assistive technology. I got a programming job and just got sidetracked but I really loved it so I stayed for a bit until they recruited me to join the tiny SEO team. Both the other SEOs left the company within weeks of my being brought in (was it me??) so I had to learn everything immediately, and it was the best way it could have happened. I can’t imagine coming into the field today with so much information. I ended up leaving to work alongside my husband as a consultant for a gaming company based in London, and then my husband started our company and now I’m the Director of Operations there.
My future plans mainly include staying in the game. I love link development but my background is in more old school SEO so I’d love to do more with that. I have a few consulting gigs so I’d like to do more where I work one on one with clients to help them learn how to do more for themselves rather than just manage people who do the work.
Q: Google outranked so many websites for having bad link profile but I still see “English language” websites are holding top ranking on Google for their targeted keywords which are involved in the link schemes, they either have links from blog comments, forums or links from footer of the websites on number of pages (irrelevant businesses). According to Cyrus Shepard’s tweet, “Statistically speaking, if this trend plays out Google will ban all websites by 2017.”
What would you like to say about that?
A: I’d like to laugh but I totally see where he’s coming from. Nothing is really safe these days. It doesn’t matter if you do anything wrong anymore either. You can spam the crap out of Google still and not caught. You can do nothing wrong and get penalized. It’s an incredibly ridiculous reality.
Q: Do you think we should report Google, when we find bad link profile websites ranking higher? (This is not our job, but…)
A: I would never do that, so no. I’d just try and beat them. It’s only a matter of time before we all get turned into Google anyway, for who knows what.
Q: What are expected results if I’ve most of the links from USA and UK based websites when I’m actually optimizing website for UAE market?
A: That’s a great question and it’s the kind of thing that I look at when I’m doing analysis but a lot of the clients who have an issue like that don’t really seem to take my point that it looks very odd. When you mostly have links from countries where you don’t operate, it definitely looks manipulative. You might rank very well though, but I’d think you would eventually get hit for something like that. Maybe that will be the next thing Google decides to go after.
Q: It is nearly impossible to get all the links removed for a website that was heavily involved in link scheme in 2008, 2009, 2010, and when we contact such websites they either have changed their contact details or simply don’t reply. Now, what do you suggest if we don’t get expected return by Disavow tool. Should we make a new domain and rebrand?
A: Well considering what’s been said about penalties potentially following you to your new site, I am not sure that’s the best answer. If you do a new domain and you rebrand, hopefully you would take care of whatever problems got you penalized. If you keep doing the same “bad” things though, I wouldn’t expect it to work well. I’m sure it’s something that should be decided on an individual basis though, as some sites may need to start over but usually from the audits I’ve done, things are fixable. It just takes a LOT of time.
Q: What percentage of link profile should be natural for Google so a website looks trust worthy?
A: Since I know that Google can’t tell what’s actually natural, I can’t really answer that. I think they’re also trying to figure that one out.
Q: What are the 3 most important things that make a quality link?
A: Does the link add something to the content? Is it relevant to the content? Does it look natural?
Q: Links are becoming suspicious – every tactic that is or becomes a reason of Google spamming like low-quality guest blogging diminished the value and some got hit on the SERPs. What things, according to you, will lose value and what will remain the same in 2014?
A: I think some local spam will start to get hit, and I’m seeing more and more of it. If you don’t operate in Greensboro NC, you shouldn’t have a page about operating in Greensboro NC. In terms of what will stay the same, I think that social signals will probably stay the same or increase in importance.
Q: Let’s dig your success mantra. What actions do you perform on client’s websites to bring high quality links?
A: There’s a big difference in what we want to do and what we’re allowed to many times, which is unfortunate. If the content needs to be rewritten we’ll try and do that but much of the time we’re dealing with several layers of either management or other teams so it’s tough. If I had my way, I’d make sure the content is linkworthy though, and it’s not always. I like to think “why would I link here? What would make me want to link here?” and go from there. We sometimes make suggestions about where to place an internal link to improve what we’re doing, too, and there are occasionally some tech issues that we find and try to fix.
Q: Having a new website or less audience – every piece of content requires reasonable amount of time for promotion, without promotion it is just dead. What are your comments on successful tactics for content promotion?
A: I think you have to figure out how to be promotional without being a loudmouth (unless that’s your thing) and that’s tough. First of all, the content has to be worth promoting. People can love you to bits but if you try and get them to promote something that sucks, they are going to be reluctant to do it. Start the conversation yourself and ask people what they think. Moosa Hemani is truly fantastic at doing this in my opinion. I’ve told him that I miss a lot of great posts because I’m too busy to keep up so he knows to ping me and tell me when he’s written something.
I have a few people who will email or direct message me and say “did you catch this?” and give me a URL and I am appreciative of that as I love to socialize good content and it’s helpful to have something specifically pointed out to me. If you know someone usually likes your work, approach them directly when you have something new so you know they’ve seen it. I wouldn’t advise bugging them to death certainly but when you have something really great, let your core people know. If no one is commenting, start commenting yourself. Ask questions, ask for feedback, ask for opinions on what you could have done better.
Q: Let’s finish the interview with the most discussed topic in the SEO community.
The famous My Blog Guest is one of the biggest portals, it holds really high quality links, they built a loyal active community, they organized blogging contests, and had everything that a business dreams for. Would it be right to say, “clean link profile and high-quality links doesn’t always work if your BUSINESS is not supporting Google Guidelines?” Or what do you think about this penalty?
A: To put it mildly, it disgusts me. I feel like Google alter those guidelines and use very vague language simply to be able to say “well you violated our guidelines!” whenever they feel like it. Of course I do recognize that it’s their right and their index so they can do whatever they like, but I think they’re at the point where they can’t control their own results so they have to just start trying to scare people. I’m really sick of seeing people get penalized for ridiculous things.
Julie, that was absolutely a pleasure to have you on KumailHemani.com. I wish you all the very best for your future endeavors and tons of prayers from the bottom of my heart for a great life ahead.
Guys, You better get connect with Julie Joyce on Twitter and Google+. She has knowledge that we all need.
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Nice interview Kumail, this flows really well and looks super natural.
“I think you have to figure out how to be promotional without being a loudmouth (unless that’s your thing) and that’s tough.”
Great quote and something I am working on myself – thanks Julie!