This week I got the chance to interview Nick LeRoy, a Minneapolis link builder I’ve gotten to know over the past couple months. Nick’s one of the outside-of-the-box link builders everyone in the link building community should be paying attention to.
Like many other SEOs, I fell into the industry. I was a Management Information Systems graduate fresh out of college trying to find my first “real job” in the beginning of what ended up being a downfall in our economy. Through networking I was able to land an interview with DKS Systems a small web design and development firm. The owner of the company saw a need for a search marketer as he was sick of sending off finished projects (and potential $$$) to other companies to perform SEO. Nobody at DKS knew much about SEO but saw the potential which opened up a job opportunity.
It was a mutual agreement that this would be a self taught position and I would be leading the entire SEO strategy for not only the DKS website but their clients as well. You can imagine this was a little intimidating given that I only had a 30 minute class on internet marketing and thought “Black Hat” SEO was exclusively associated with porn. I must have made an initial impression though asI was hired… on a 6 month contract to begin with.
Within these 6 months I read every single SEO article, “how to” book, and online training course. I eventually was given reigns to the DKS website which we immediately transformed from a full Flash website to a static .asp site. At the time this was a big change and it took a lot of lobbying from the “new guy” to get buy in on “SEO”. Because the site was static pages I was forced to learn some coding. I had always played with Angelfire websites in high school but never really got into the coding side, just enough to change the background color, text and of course the super awesome scrolling marquee! When I finally figured out that “content is king” I was forced to learn enough html to properly layout static “blog posts”. As big of a pain in the ass as this was its something that today i’m thankful for. I thoroughly harassed the developers for tips on using <divs> and style tags which I believe made me a much more well rounded SEO. In my opinion SEOs & Link builders who have knowledge of programing and website backends are at a HUGE advantage in this industry!
Performance of the DKS website sky rocketed and for the first time the company was getting new projects outside of referrals. I had also built a reputation for being the ‘go-to’ guy for anything SEO. I was able to persuade developers who shunned SEO that it can be valuable and conveyed changes in a way that worked with existing site infrastructure. Shortly after the initial 6 months I was hired full time and stayed their for a little over 2 years before moving on to another opportunity.
Absolutely. Nothing drives me more insane then when SEOs preach “Forget PR” or “I haven’t had the toolbar activated since 1993″. Now would I base my decision on pursuing a link strictly off PR? No way! Regardless what people say it is a great snap shot to the value of a page and combining the use of the SEOmoz toolbar metrics it can quickly tell you whether a page is worth targeting.
In addition to PageRank its important to keep in consideration other factors such as domain authority, site age, site health, relevance and even the type of links the page/domain is acquiring.