Growth Hacking Interview Series #26: Julie Joyce
Julie Joyce is Link Fish Media’s, Director of Operations. a link building company based in Greensboro NC founded in 2007 her extensive experience covers search engine marketing, site development, technical writing, project management and systems administration.
She is also writes for some of the major SEO websites in the world.
What is your main source of income? (ex: Client Servicing, Affiliate Marketing, Adsense)
How do you close a potential SEO client deal?
I ask a billion questions! With a lot of our work we’re doing some risky things so I go through that whole spiel with everyone.
If they’re still interested after that, I take a look to decide whether I’m personally comfortable with the risk.
Since we do a month-long test run for all clients, we don’t go through a lot of the routines that we’d normally go through if we were signing everyone to a yearly contract.
Because of the work we do, I don’t ever hound anyone or try to convince them to sign on with us.
I basically tell them it’s all risky stuff and they end up kind of having to sell ME on working with them.
What SEO Tools do you have experience with and which ones do you prefer and why?
I’ve tried a ton of them…too many to mention. I don’t use automation tools usually but I do think Buzzstream is awesome.
Currently I’m using Majestic, SEM Rush, Raven, Spyfu, Open Site Explorer, Link Risk, Link Research Tools, Screaming Frog, and URL Profiler and I love them all.
My preference depends upon what exactly I’m doing. The tool I use the most is probably Majestic.
Have you ever been in charge or part of a campaign that was successful? If so, what was the result in the SERPs and how long did it last for and what was the term?
Absolutely. One of our current clients has top rankings for just about every term they want but considering I’m one of many teams involved I certainly can’t take all the credit.
I can’t go into the exact terms as we have a company wide nondisclosure but it’s in the finance niche.
We’ve seen some great results for most clients but there have been a few that we didn’t do such a good job with.
Sometimes when we get a client where they want to be in the rankings, they want to stop building links and usually the rankings start to slide backwards again.
We’ve had several companies come back to us after stopping multiple times actually.
Have you ever been part of a campaign that ended badly, with the site being banned or losing its ranking, if so what happened?
I’ve only had one site banned and that was in 2002 when I was cloaking it. It’s a fascinating case because they got almost no traffic from Google!
It was a fundraising site so all their traffic came from schools and charity groups. They had a very solid clientele and being banned didn’t hurt them one bit.
We’ve also had a few clients who incurred link penalties but we weren’t the only people building links in those cases.
Have you ever done any Black-hat SEO and if so were you penalized?
Oh god absolutely. That’s how I got my start and it was so much fun!
I cloaked for about a year before the aforementioned site got banned and that scared me enough that I removed all cloaking from every client.
What are your best practices for on-site SEO?
A lot of our clients have already taken care of that so we’re lucky.
If not, I try and make sure that all the basics are taken care of…no duplicate titles or content, the site is crawlable, it’s not blocked completely by the robots.txt file (that’s way too common to see for me), nothing is overly optimized, etc.
I think that our efforts with links work better when the site pays attention to good SEO practices.
Below are two SEO scenarios, please explain in detail how you would go about both:
Scenario 1: A client has a new site that is not indexed and not ranking, he wants to rank quickly, his terms are mid-level about 25,000 searches a month , how would you go about this.
I would not buy links for a new site usually…I have, when I thought it was worth the risk and it wasn’t the client’s main moneymaker, but usually I don’t like to do that.
I’d probably use Google Adwords at first, just to get them some traffic. I’d also start a massive social campaign (assuming they had worthy content) and try and build visibility that way.
I’d do outreach to let relevant sites know that we had a new site and I’d ask for a link. I’d make sure local was handled and try and get some news coverage from local bloggers.
I would be wary of a client who wanted to rank quickly and was starting from scratch though so honestly, I doubt I’d even take that on.
Scenario 2: A client has an old authority site, with 1000s of backlinks all relevant but is not ranking and is not banned, what would you do to get this client ranking?
This is so common from what I see. It’s a very frustrating situation as sometimes I can’t figure out why they aren’t ranking.
I just wrote about this recently in a comment on an article I had written because I’ve looked into problems like this AFTER several other SEOs gave up and I couldn’t nail down the problem.
I know many people disagree and think you’re lazy when you say this but I do believe that sometimes there’s just no clear answer.
You can do everything right and still not do well online. If you haven’t witnessed that happening, you probably haven’t been in the industry very long.
I’d just keep trying to build good links and would do a serious investigation into the backlinks and history of the site.
What niches you’d consider to be untouchable (hard to really rank on) and why?
I would not work with payday loan sites again. They weren’t so much hard to rank for as they were hard to build links for, because a lot of webmasters won’t work with them.
We’ve never done any porn work and I have no plans to, not because of any morality issues, but because I cannot imagine thinking about my poor link builders doing that.
I’d hate to think I worked for someone who made me work on something that made me uncomfortable.
Gambling is very hard but I’d work in that industry again certainly. I have found that it’s not so much niches as it is sites themselves that make things difficult though.
If there’s one thing that you’d want me to buy from you using your website what is it and how would you go about it?
Well, right now I am way overbooked so I don’t want you to want anything from me haha! On a serious note though, I want potential clients to contact me for a quote.
I have an ebook so it’s nice to have people download that but it’s not overly critical to my business or anything.
My main goal is to have someone look at the site, check out our offerings, and contact me. I think the designer who created the site did a pretty good job of making that happen!