I have known Nate for quite sometime now. We got into touch through a community site Quora and found him as an amazing individual with great expertise especially on link building. Looking at the current algorithm updates and difficulties that SEOs are facing these days, I planned to chat with him more about his expertise, which is link building, and have done my best to grab as much info as I could from his brain – I hope you will find below interview helpful.
A brief bio of Nate Dame:
Nate Dame is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. He started his search career in the non-profit world and founded SEOperks after Skechers asked him for help growing their online sales through organic search. SEOperks quickly grew by providing agencies from California to the UK with high-quality link building support. Today, SEOperks consults companies in a variety of industries with forward-thinking search engine optimization strategies.
Nate is an avid family man. When not crafting campaigns, he enjoys relaxing with his beautiful wife and rambunctious two-year-old son at their home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Pratik: – Nate, how has been your journey of being a founder of a pure link building company SEOperks?
Nate: – It’s been a wild ride! Like most others in this industry, I’ve tried everything imaginable to build links. I ended up building SEOperks around white hat link building because, quite honestly, natural links have by far the greatest impact on search rankings, without any of the risks associated with grey hat and black hat. Each high quality link is a guaranteed long-term boost in traffic – who can argue with that?
Pratik: – I agree! After all the big and major updates by Google in the last 2 years, many things have been changed when we talk about building links, so where do you see the future of Link Building? I know it’s pretty unpredictable but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Nate: – Link building has been on a predictable trajectory for the last 10+ years. The black hats continuously try to wiggle their way in and search engines keep getting smarter. Meanwhile, hard-earned editorial links and authentic mentions have a greater impact each year.
What will keep changing are the tactics. Guest blogging and broken link building are quite popular right now. They can work well, but they aren’t as sustainable as I’d like. Our favorite right now is an ego bait approach that works like magic, but we’re always trying new things.
Pratik: – Content based link building has become necessity to build potential links as the penguin has changed link building forever. So,how a small business can survive and do well with very low budget in hand and keeping panda/penguin updates in mind? In other words how small businesses can obtain/gain powerful, relevant, and natural links with limited budget?
Nate: – There’s no easy answer to that question. The key is to be very smart about the limited budget you do have.
Start with your business contacts and friends. You have link opportunities right now that just need to be uncovered.
Look at the rest of your link building as a chance to make new friends. Work hard at making new friends. As you make friends, ask for links that make sense!
Pratik: – What challenges do you face while developing content strategy for your clients who are coming from different niche? It is obvious that you won’t have experienced writers for all the niches, so how do you overcome with those challenges?
Nate: – Content strategy is more about knowing how people think than knowing a specific industry. Remember that everybody faces challenges at work every day. Your job as a content marketer is to discover those challenges and give helpful solutions!
Work on building up a set of habits to understand each niche you work in. My favorite is to simply find the 10 most popular blogs in that niche and read the title of every post they publish, at a minimum. After 1 week, you get a very good idea of what is happening in that space from a 10,000 foot view.
Pratik: – I have read that you attended Chicago SES in November, 2012. How was your experience of attending SES?
Nate: – The best part about SES and other web marketing events is the people. You meet so many amazing people in the industry just walking the halls and sitting in sessions. I met some great new friends and continue to exchange ideas with them today.
Pratik: – If not the content based link building, what would be your next choice to build potential links? Your thoughts would be really appreciated.
Nate: -Traditional marketing! Build your brand via TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising, and links will come. This is of course a bit more expensive…
Pratik: -What tools do you mostly use and recommend for content based link building and content marketing?
Nate: – Buzzstream is an incredible tool to track your link building outreach. Definitely start there. Shameless plug: I will be publishing a blog post soon about my favorite link building tools.
Pratik: – Sounds great, I’ll look forward to your post!
In one of your recent blog posts on SEOperks.com you’ve written that “Panda Will Kill Exact Match Link Building For Good” then what kind of anchor text strategy you would recommend in the future? On the same note, I watched a video of Rand Fishkin where he predicts that Anchor Text is Dying, and will be replaced by Co-citations. Can you share your thoughts on the same?
Nate: – It’s quite simple: Don’t worry about anchor text. Purposefully build relationships and ask for links to your content, but don’t worry about the anchor text your link partners use. The result: A natural link profile (shocker!)
Pratik: – What problems did you face while working on relationship building for earning hard links and how did you overcome those challenges?
Nate: – It takes a lot of work! It really does. Each relationship takes time. You need to be very careful about what you do spend your time on. Use tools and work with your team to coordinate carefully so that you as the link builder can spend as much time as possible simply building relationships.
Pratik: – What do you think Google might target as their future updates in 2013 from links perspective? Any activity(ies) you’re aware of and think shall be stopped by the link builders in order to have safe future?
Nate: – Anchor text is still a big issue. Lots of link builders still try to do “some” exact match and partial match anchor text link building. I think Google will eventually squeeze out all exact match links and even some partial match links, because for the most part they are very unnatural.
Pratik: – Great links are earned through relationship building. A person who is residing in Australia wants to earn links from US region through building relationships then what suggestions would you provide for this type of matter?
Nate: – If you are using social media, email and phone calls well, it shouldn’t matter where you are and where your link partners are. The joy of the modern world! Of course, be sure you have a good understanding of the culture you are reaching out to.
Pratik: – Do you have any open suggestion to Google about what they should include as a part of their future link level search algorithm updates?
Nate: – Wow! I’ve never been asked that before. I would have to think about it. Their move into machine learning is a logical next step. The more that quality algorithms are driven by machine learning, the harder and harder it will be for black hats to get away with anything.
Pratik: – As a last question, what would be the best link building strategy according to you in 2013 for link builders?
Nate: – Ego bait! Companies and individuals can never get enough press, and there are a ton of ways you can stroke their egos. Start by featuring 5-10 of the great books in your industry. Get in touch with each book’s author or marketing department, feature a statement from each of them in a roundup blog post on your site, and work that relationship until you get a link. It’s straight forward, hard work, and extremely successful.
Thanks Nate for taking the time to answer all these interview questions, I really appreciate your time.